By Drew Petrie
I would just like to give you a quick summary of my Cycling for Celiacs ride. The trip was absolutely amazing! Angela and I just reviewed some of the photos that I plan to show at the September luncheon. The scenery was incredible, the people were awesome and so was the gluten free food! A huge thanks to the chapter for its support and to everyone who offered kind words of encouragement to me during the ride.
Here’s a link to my photos. Below is a very brief review of the ride:
Day 1 – Victoria to Aldergrove
This is where it all began. We went to the Olive Grove Restaurant in Victoria where we all had a chance to meet one another. I highly recommend this restaurant – it was awesome. We got on the 10 a.m. ferry and had 2 wipe outs this day – not necessarily the best start but it was still a great day. You will see a photo of Super Dave at the meeting to see just how bad this wipeout was.
Day 2 – Aldergrove to -Hope
A beautiful ride! I had expected to ride at least partially on Hwy 1 to Hope however we went on the other side of the river to Hope which was beautiful and had far less traffic. We had an incredible dinner just up from a lake in Hope. Angela and the kids were there and it was great for Hannah to be around all those ultra healthy celiacs. The girls had a great time playing in the lake and met some new friends.
Day 3 – Hope to Merritt
I had expected this to be quite a hard day – and it was. I was happy that it was quite cool because I was still sweating buckets when I got to the top of the hill past the snow shed (12 degrees) – you could see our breath. Much of the ride along the Coquihalla seems quite flat in the car but we had a good deal of downhill that was incredible on the bike. We were just cruising. The top speed of the day was in the mid 70‘s.
Day 4- Merritt to -Kamloops
This was one of my favorite days. I had not expected it to be such a beautiful ride. There were plenty of rolling hills and great views. Lots of water views. We also saw a black bear and a deer on the same hill side. Good thing black bears don’t hunt deer!
Day 5 – Kamloops to -Salmon Arm
This ride was mainly along the highway. A beautiful ride,, with a grinding final hill into Salmon Arm.
Day 6 – Salmon Arm to -Revelstoke
This was the day where I had my little wipe-out. It was actually more of just a standing fall. I did more damage trying o get up in a hurry so fewer people would see me than I did falling over. There is an ice cream shop in Sicamous that I highly recommend. See me for details.
Day 7 – Revelstoke to Golden
This was definitely one of the toughest days. Lots of climbing but the scenery was incredible. Once we made it to the summit of Rogers Pass we knew the worst was over. The first tunnel was a little scary as many of us had forgotten, or did not realize, to take off our sunglasses. We could see ahead of us but we could not see the road at all. So if there happened to be any rocks/debris on the road it would have gotten ugly in a hurry. The rest of the tunnels were fine.
Day 8 – Golden to Canmore
I think this was one of the toughest days for me but it was also one of my favourites. The ride out of Golden was beautiful. We left early to beat some of the traffic and make it to Canmore at a reasonable hour. This day started at 7 am and ended at 7 pm. Leaving Golden we were cycling through mist and clouds – I have an awesome picture of a fellow cyclist crossing the new bridge. This bridge makes the ride much easier than it had been in the past. Later in the day was one of the highlights of the trip for me – we a saw a Grizzly casually grazing on the side of the road. I stopped but knew full well that it could catch me if it wanted to. So I continued on in a hurry. We saw many Elk close up on the Bow Valley Parkway. This is right around the time that it started to pour rain. We quickly headed for Canmore and with just 16 km left on the highway I got my first flat. I was sure that Vic, the ride captain, was going to put me in the van so I changed my flat as quick as I could and away we went.
Day 9 – Canmore to Calgary
This was a nice ride with rolling hills. It was a much easier ride than previous days with an amazing lunch at the GF Patisserie in Cochrane. It was at this point that I realized I had forgotten my Alberta belt buckle at home. You could have easily fried an egg on the first belt buckle I saw.
Day 10 – Calgary to -Red Deer and Day 11 – Red Deer to -Edmonton
The last 2 days I found mentally challenging as we were on an extremely busy highway with vehicles whizzing by at speeds of 110 km+. We finally put in ear plugs to drown out some of the traffic noise. On the final day, just outside of Edmonton, I got my second flat of the trip and knew that I might be riding in the van as we had a schedule to keep. I quickly started my repair and the first tube blew up in my face. We then checked the rim and smoothed out some rough spots and put in another tube. It too blew up in my face. At this point I knew I would have to ride in the van and I was extremely worried that I would not be able to cross the High Level Bridge in Edmonton on my bike. I quickly got out my spare tire and did a complete change over – tire and tube – in the van and began riding again at the next stop.
Getting to Edmonton gave the group a great sense of completion. Crossing the High Level Bridge was emotional and beautiful. We had a nice size group waiting for us at the finish and enjoyed an excellent celebration to finish off the ride.
This ride truly was absolutely amazing; one of the best things I’ve done in my life! Thanks again to the chapter for making it possible.
All the best!