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GT 2002 Registration
We finally make it to Castle Mountain Junction. We start to see the efficiency of the team organizing this ride - the registration is quick and efficient. We get our special helmet marker, wrist band, and a bag of Gorp to start us off. [enlarge]
GT 2002 Registration
There were approximately 200 riders in all this year. Apparently there are usually more but last year's (2001 GT) nasty winter weather had put off some riders. So far today looked beautiful. [enlarge]
Big Wrench
There is probably some sort of story behind this picture - however I don't know what it is. Hopefully not a sign upcoming bike failure... [enlarge]
Getting started
Riders get ready for the first day of the ride. [enlarge]
I examine our route
Here I am checking out exactly how bad the first big hill is going to be. I've never cycled in the Rockies before! [enlarge]
Day 1 Elevation Profile
This graphic is a GPS-data derived representation of the elevation profile of the first day of the ride. As you can see, it is mostly downhill, even though there are a couple of tough uphill sections. [enlarge]
Off we go!
Off we go on the ride. Here we see Lorraine with beautiful Rocky mountain scenery in the background. The first kilometre is deceptive - it is flat. After the bridge you see here (which crosses the Bow River), the highway slopes up to Vermillion pass on the continental divide. In the background is either Boom mountain or Bell Mountain (I can't tell which). In any case, they are both part of the Bow Range. [enlarge]
Storm Mountain
Lorraine cycles below Storm Mountain in the ball range. We are still only a few kilometres into the ride here, passing over the trans-canada highway on our way towards Vermillion Pass. [enlarge]
Halfway up
Lorraine cycles up towards the pass. We are about halfway at this point. As you may have noticed, I'm stopping to takes lots of pictures and look around. Little do we know that such dallying will cause us problems later.... [enlarge]
Magnificent scenery
I *think* this is Mt Bell again. In any case, this shot shows the great scenery as we near the continental divide at Vermillion Pass (elevation 5800+ feet). [enlarge]
Snack Stop #1
Just after we cross the divide, we reach the first snack stop. The EVCC sets up snack and lunch stops along the route at appropriate intervals. [enlarge]
Snack Stop #1
As you can see, there is still quite a bit of snow around in late May at this altitude. [enlarge]
The food stops are extremely well-run. Everything is arranged so that everyone, even back-of-the-pack types, get an ample supply of all kinds of good stuff, including fresh fruit, bagles, various drinks - you name it. [enlarge]
The big downhill...
After reaching the continental divide, the route heads down highway 93 towards Kootenay national park and Radium, BC. The next 60 or 70 kilometers are almost all downhill.... yay! Here I think I've managed to capture the grandeur of cycling amidst these mountains. Mounts Grey and Drysdale are visible in the background, along with a glacier which is visible just below Mount Grey. [enlarge]
Highway 93 Cycling
The roads are in good shape, with nice broad shoulders. [enlarge]
Vermilion River Cascade
We stopped to hike along a very short path to a footbridge which crossed the Vermilion river and its glacially-fed blue-green waters. This was one of several photo/exploratory stops that gradually moved us to the back of the pack. [enlarge]
Lorraine's cleats
Lorraine's bike shoe cleats weren't quite right for the whole weekend. The bike shop that she had taken her bike and gear to had put in the wrong screw type, and it was always working loose. [enlarge]
Lorraine and Foster Peak
Lorraine relaxes while I cross the road to get a good shot of the highway, bikes, and the impressive rock spire of Foster Peak in the background [enlarge]
Lunch Stop
Here we are at lunch. He we also are at the very end of the pack. A mysterious red truck had been leapfrogging us ever since our last picture stop. More interestingly, the truck had stickers on it, including one labelled 'tail end Charlie'. The real meaning of this was lost on us until just before the lunch stop, where I figured that this constant monitoring and the moniker 'tail end Charlie' were probably related. I asked, and we were told an embarrassing bit of news - we were in fact dead last. Sheepishly we rolled into lunch with everybody cheering and clapping for us. Great - more attention, that's all we need. Sheepishly, Cringingly, we slink off to a far corner of the picnic area to have our lunch. I resolve to myself to cut down on the sightseeing and picture taking. [enlarge]
Lorraine converses with 'Charlie'
Lorraine is not super happy about the real meaning of having 'Charlie' (not his real name) pay attention to you. [enlarge]
Cyclist in distress
Off we go after lunch, determined to stay ahead of tail-end Charlie. We are doing ok, making good time - I'm not stopping too much to take pictures. Then we encounter a lonely cyclist along the road - bike on the ground, with no repair activity going on. We stop and have a chat. It appears that the cyclist (her name is Nancy) has a flat, and no one has stopped to help out. She is waiting for the repair truck. Lorraine and I, being near the end of the pack, think it might not be nice to leave someone stranded at the end of the pack - what if the repair truck has already gone by? Also, we don't exactly know where tail-end Charlie is. After a big of 'no its ok, you guys go on'-type talk, Lorraine whips out here repair gear, and sets to work on the tire. [enlarge]
Flat Repaired!
Turns out that there is a small hole in the tube, which we manage to patch. Here Lorraine and Nancy are putting the tire back on the rim. We resolve to stay together to ensure that the tire can be looked at again if the patch does not hold. And so we meet a new friend and cycling companion for our trip! [enlarge]
Afternoon Snack Stop
The afternoon snack stop is at a scenic picnic ground / camp ground along the Kootenay river not far from where highway 93 goes up to Sinclair Pass. The weather has turned cloudy but conditions are still good. We have met another unfortunate flat victim - John. Between the time that we meet him and the snack stop he develops two flats, and he has already had a flat earlier. We decide to ride all together in a group, and so we wait up for him. So now we are REALLY last. [enlarge]
Lorraine contemplates and eats
The snack stop is made much more enjoyable by the tranquillity of the area. [enlarge]
Sinclair Pass
The last challenge of Day 1 is the steep ascent up and over Sinclair Pass (Elevation 4800 + ). It is long, steep, and unrelenting. Here John and Nancy finish the first and biggest part of the ascent. [enlarge]
John, Ben, and Bruce
There are two other tail-enders here with us, and one is riding this neat 3-wheeled recumbant bike. [enlarge]
Ben and Bruce
Lorraine and Andrew
Both of us know that there are only a few more kilometres of uphill before a biiiiig downhill and the end of the day's ride at Radium. [enlarge]
Tent City
After finally reaching Radium (at around 5pm), we head to the common camping area (we've chosen to camp instead of being soft and staying in a motel). The camping area is actually a baseball diamond outfield. The weather has turned showery, and we worry about tomorrow's ride. But for now we eat, relax, and head up to the Radium Hot Springs for a quick dip. [enlarge]
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