Today was to be another “crazy stupid recovery day” of 108 K as IRONDame Marla Ashmore would describe it, but much to our disbelief it really was! Unlike on Day 1 we weren’t dressed in layers of insulated clothing, nor were we forced to wring our rain soaked socks out when we stopped at the van or worry about traffic. Nor did we feel the strong head winds pressing us back as we did on Day 2 and 3. Finally there wasn’t the anxiety of an epic climb as there was on Day 1 and 5! Instead Day 6 offered us “hot” summer temperatures, clear blue skies, long descents on smooth roads with little traffic and spectacular scenery!
Dressed in just jerseys and shells/vests (no toe covers, leg warmers etc.) the Mountain Traverse Team cycled out of the parking lot of the Cariboo Lodge in Clinton at 9 am and headed down Hwy 97 “South Cariboo Hwy” for Lillooet. From almost the start of the day we were decending. And while the shoulder of the road was narrow and rough at the start it soon widened and allowed us to relax, enjoy the sights of the surrounding ranch lands and spin our tired legs out. In what felt like no time we had cycled 30K and turned on Hwy 99 West to meet up with Dieter at Hat Creek Ranch for a quick refueling and the opportunity to shed our shells/vests for the day.
The next 29 K of the ride seemed to go equally fast, despite some climbing. Gone were the endless forests we had experienced other days and in place were rugged ranch lands and native homesteads. Sagebrush lined the road and filled the fields. It was quiet and peaceful.
At 59 K we pulled into Marble Canyon Provincial Park picnic area and enjoyed another one of Dieter’s lunches looking out on an emerald green lake and enjoying the warm sunshine.
All that was left was a spectacular 48 K ride (mostly descending on wonderful smooth roads) on Hwy 99 West into the semi-arid canyon lands of British Columbia’s mighty Fraser River. It was amazing to see the isolated farmsteads almost teetering on the sides of the canyon. The pockets of green (fields of hay to be harvested) generated through irrigation, as the area receives little to no rainfall. Then finally we got the view of the Fraser River and its fast flowing murky water with Lillooet off in the distance…it was incredible! As we neared Lillooet we saw fishing camps / blue tarps lining the shores of the Fraser River. The longest river within British Columbia, the Fraser River is famous for its runs of sockeye salmon.
We were riding fast and easy. Kim Schizas set a PB for speed hitting 63 K on one of the final downhills of the day! With a final climb into town and up to the Retasket Lodge the day was over. We quickly unpacked and headed out for much deserved massages in town…as today was a “recovery day”!
As for tomorrow, that is a different matter as our 110K ride to Pemberton features the toughest climb of the trip with grades up to 13%. Check back tomorrow to see how the Traverse Team made out.
Traverse Team Tips and Facts:
Lesson of the Day: After cycling 868K over 6 days “skinny jeans” become “compression pants”!
Flower of the Day: Mountain Sagebrush