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Bike Tour Report: Jasper AB to Abbotsford BC

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Bike Tour Report: Jasper AB to Abbotsford BC

Old 05-24-18, 05:49 PM
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Bike Tour Report: Jasper AB to Abbotsford BC

I will make several posts in a row to include photos so "bear" with me...

Just returned from a short, fast tour between Jasper AB and my hometown of Abbotsford BC. This was designed to be a fast tour to see how I might fair or even like participating in a future bikepacking type race. My goal was 800km's in 4 days.

I actually began preparing last winter when I decided to do some regular spin workouts to increase my natural cadence. Along with that I lost nearly 35lb's in the spring by eliminating sugar, limiting carbs and reducing portion sizes. Recently I began increasing my biking output by doing some higher intensity gravel grinding rides too.

With that, I booked a VIA Rail ticket to Jasper and caught the train 10km's from home. The train took nearly 20 hours to get there and I debarked at 7pm Saturday night.
Here's a view out the window near Ashcroft BC.




Once in Jasper I put my bike together and rode to Whistlers campground just outside town. I stayed there over night and departed by 6am the next morning.

The grand depart from Jasper:



Heading west in the early morning on Hwy1 was beautiful. On my first day I traveled through three great river basins; the Miette river which flows into the Athabasca which flows to the Arctic, the Fraser river which veers north towards Prince George before descending towards the Pacific, and the North Thompson river which flows into the greater Thompson and then the Fraser near Spences Bridge.

Here I cross over the Yellowhead Pass which over looks the Fraser drainage:




And my first look at the Fraser River itself. This river runs through BC and past my front door back home:




The first day I saw one large black bear on the shoulder and two elk. I tried to snap a pic of this young male elk as I was riding and it began to give chase so I had a sprint on my hands for a few hundred meters! I don't know if it wanted to mate or challenge and I wasn't going to stick around to find out. After that I was less inclined to try and snap a pic of the bear as it was only about 100ft away.




This peak is called the Seven Sisters and the Lake is Moose lake. After that I was in BC. I rode through three rain storms in total during the day:












I had hoped for a good pic of Mt Robson, the tallest peak in BC but the summit was socked in.
Shortly after that I turned south onto Hwy 5, having lunch in Valemount before continuing through strong headwinds towards Blue River. The headwinds and rain took it out of me and I decided to camp there for the night. The campsite was $26 but there were these TeePee's for only $30 so I decided to try one out for the night. Plywood floors and my bike fit inside.




In all, 209km's in 13hours total time for day one.

To be continued next post...

Last edited by Happy Feet; 05-24-18 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 05-24-18, 06:02 PM
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Day two I set out again by 6am and rode from Blue river to Clearwater where I again stopped for lunch. Along the way I saw two black bears, a sub adult and a cub as well as some deer.

Somewhere along that road:




By now I was following the North Thompson river which, along with most other rivers in the region, was swollen near to flooding from a large snowpack that was melting due to a spate of warm weather:







I kept going all the way to Kamloops which I reached at 9pm. It took an hour to wind my way through town where I had a quick coffee and then decided to keep going until I found a stealth camping spot. I rode in the dark for another while and finally stopped at 11:30pm. This is my spot as viewed in the morning:



In all, 275km's in 17.5 hours for day two.

To be continued next post...
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Old 05-24-18, 06:16 PM
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Day three I packed up and began an insane ride between Kamloops and Cache Creek that was full of big hill climbs made worse by the fact that my anticipated breakfast stop at Savona did not exist. 60km's in 4.5 hours before breakfast! I was pretty well spent by then but still had a days riding to do.

The view of Kamloops lake looking east:







After eating in Cache Creek I entered the Fraser Canyon region and things began to get hot. How hot? Well let's just say:




During the day I had developed a bad case of saddle sores and suffered some pretty intense pain as I rode. Not sure if it was the saddle or the heat but it made for a day of exquisite torture that I tried to relieve by standing a lot and riding in the aero position. I also forgot my backpack at a pitstop and had to retrace my route for an excess of 10km's.
By the time I hit Spences Bridge it was 95F and even when I took some shelter behind an old church there was not relief. I still had to ride through Lytton, the hottest spot in Canada and my brain was well baked by then. Here is the Fraser river along the way:




I finally made it to Boston Bar heat exhausted and camped for the night. I would have ridden more after the heat of the day subsided but my butt was too sore and I was afraid to push it and cause non correctable damage for the next day.
Total for day three was 150km's in about 13hours.

To be continued next post...

Last edited by Happy Feet; 05-24-18 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 05-24-18, 06:32 PM
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I left again by 6am and rode down the canyon to Yale where I grabbed a coffee and muffin. I was very worried about the saddlesores but found relief by riding in the aero position. Previously I have only used the aeros for short bursts to relieve hand numbness which I am prone to but somehow, miraculously, I was able to ride almost 145km's in the aero position this day.

I bypassed Hope and set off west on Hwy7, stopping for lunch in Agassiz and by taking several breaks made my way towards home. By the end I was actually feeling rejuvenated and even had a 5km chase with a road cyclist who dared to pass me!

Mileage for day four was about 145km's in 12hours.

All together I did 780km's in 3days:14hours which was within the goal I had set for myself and I feel pretty good about the ride. I really enjoyed the go fast nature of it even with the pain but still am on the fence about actual bikepack racing. I plan to do another test in July with the knowledge I've gained from this one, more training and some lighter gear to see what I can do. For my rig I have a 1man tent in a handlebar bag, tools, electronics and stuff in the frame bag, my sleeping mat on my aerobars, clothes and sleeping bag in the saddle bag and day clothes in a small backpack.

Old(ish), but not finished yet:


Last edited by Happy Feet; 05-25-18 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 05-25-18, 07:13 AM
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Awesome effort. I rode part of that route many years ago and one day would love to go back there. You've taken some great snaps.
Saddle sores are a *****. If it's chafe you're suffering from then zinc baby rash cream works well. If you're getting rash from sweating a lot in the heat then a vaseline type cream with some tea tree oil will stop infections which is what i tend to suffer from in the summer.
Tailwinds
just checked on google maps and realised I rode through Abbotsford back in '91. We're planning a loop heading from Vancouver out to Banff via lots of hot springs then the Icefields parkway to Jasper then train to Prince Rupert then ferry to Vancover Island and then back to Vancouver in the not to distant future

Last edited by geoffs; 05-25-18 at 07:20 AM.
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Old 05-25-18, 08:31 AM
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Beautiful pics!! My wife and I rode across Canada last Summer. Great ride! We stayed in one of those teepee''!!!
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Old 05-25-18, 08:58 AM
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Wow! Are those high temps normal for that area this time of year?
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Old 05-25-18, 09:34 AM
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Thanks Tom,
That's one of the debates I have with myself about actually racing. I really like photography and don't know if I would want to forgo opportunities when they pop up. The other is sleeping in a tent, even if it's small. I like it more than a bivy for my personal space and to keep mossys off at night but there is a weight penalty involved if trying to be as fast as possible.

Those temps are not really but sometimes yes. BC is the warmest part of Canada and the Canyon gets pretty hot and desert like. We had a long wet winter and late spring and then BOOM, the warm weather hit. It's causing quite a problem with snowpack melt in different spots across the province. However, Lytton, which is in the heart of the Fraser Canyon, often records Canada's highest temps as the walls of the gorge trap the heat like an oven.

I would highly recommend the northern part of the trip, from Jasper to Kamloops, as a beautiful ride. Having done all the roads I would say a loop from:

Jasper-Kamloops Kamloops-Golden Golden-Radium Radium-Banff Banff-Jasper

would be a perfect 2 week Canadian Rockie Mountain trip averaging about 100km's/day with services along the way.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 05-25-18 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 05-25-18, 10:21 AM
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Because people often ask, I thought I would add my packing list for the trip:

Bags:
Carradice "Carradry" saddle bag
MEC small gastank bag
Blackburn "Outpost" frame bag
Blackburn handlebar drybag (without mounting apparatus)
MEC "Raptor" 20L backpack

Shelter:
Northface "Stormbreak 1" one man tent
Thermarest ""Scout" pad
Hot Core R100 Sleeping bag

Clothes:
Basic cycling kit - Jersey, Bibs, Merino wool socks, fingerless gloves, clipless shoes with walking tread, helmet, sunglasses
Cold weather kit - Knee warmers, finger gloves, wind vest, medium weight merino wool sweater, lycra skull cap, light down jacket
Shell - High vis cycling jacket, nylon pants, shoe covers
Extra - second pair merino wool socks, nylon shorts for sleeping, lightweight sunhat, second pair sunglasses.

Electronics:
Lights - 2 headlights, 2 tailights, extra batteries
IPOD
Camera
Phone
External battery
Various charging cords

Kitchen:
can opener, spoon, two water bottles (basically foraged at stores and cafes on on the road)
Extra Clif bars

Medical:
1 small container of mixed Advil and Tylenol
1 small container of Sudocrem skin cream

Tools:
Tube, patch kit, pump, levers
Chain tool
Spare spokes
Allen keys
Small adjustable wrench
Small srewdriver
Knife
Chain lube

Others:
Bear spray, small cable lock

Basically, it looked like this but the HB bag was a lot smaller with the one man tent instead of a two man in the pic:


Last edited by Happy Feet; 05-25-18 at 10:26 AM.
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Old 05-25-18, 01:01 PM
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Chamois butter is your friend. Nice pics. I hope to ride in that area some day.
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Old 05-28-18, 05:05 PM
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What bike are you riding? Tell us about it and what is it made of and how much does it weigh bare etc?
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Old 05-28-18, 10:58 PM
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Nice report. I have ridden the Kamloops to Jasper portion of that ride, and enjoyed it.
Sorry to hear about the saddle sores, I know how nasty they can get.

I am just going to pedantically point out that Mt Robson is not the highest mountain in BC, that honour belongs to Mt Fairweather. I have yet to see the summit of Robson, itís head is in the clouds whenever I am in the vicinity.
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Old 05-29-18, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by RoscoeP
What bike are you riding? Tell us about it and what is it made of and how much does it weigh bare etc?
It's a Norco Valence. I have no idea how much it weighs. The page with specs is found here: https://www.norco.com/bike-archives/...e-disc-tiagra/

Originally Posted by skookum
Nice report. I have ridden the Kamloops to Jasper portion of that ride, and enjoyed it.
Sorry to hear about the saddle sores, I know how nasty they can get.

I am just going to pedantically point out that Mt Robson is not the highest mountain in BC, that honour belongs to Mt Fairweather. I have yet to see the summit of Robson, itís head is in the clouds whenever I am in the vicinity.
You are correct sir. I was just going by what the sign said at the interpretive center. Perhaps it's the highest in the Rockies.
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Old 05-29-18, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet



You are correct sir. I was just going by what the sign said at the interpretive center. Perhaps it's the highest in the Rockies.
Yeah itís the highest in the Rockies.
One thing I remember about that trip was a naked man walking along the highway just west of Yellowhead Pass. I assume heíd been for a dip in a pond, but why he felt the need to walk along the highway, I have no idea.
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