Jul 19

Port Alberni to North Vancouver

by in Tour BC

Day 7: 75.5 miles

Click to enlarge image of Spencer doing his neck stretches

Click to enlarge image of rushing river (photo credit Charlie Buchalter)

Click to enlarge image of Danelle, the event director

Click to enlarge image of Danelle clogging

Started this day with our quick breakfast and a fast pack-up job. We were on the road by the time most people started the breakfast line, 6:30. We’d been worried about the hill, but we had worried needlessly.

The hill turned out to be a steady, easy climb. Again, we never had to get into our smallest gears. We topped out then charged down the backside. Got up to almost 49 miles per hour. Might have gotten higher had it not been for the 25 mph turn stuck into the middle of the descent.

Most of the early morning was spent going downhill. We were at the lunch stop by 9. It didn’t open until 10. Sheila and I just continued on our way since we had our sandwiches packed. The hills continued to roll up and down as we made our way to the ferry.

Another impossibly steep grade caught us unprepared just shy of the ferry. We should have expected it. We made it up and back to the ferry by 11. When we saw that the luggage truck was going to make the 11:15 ferry, we took our tickets and got into the line. We had tickets because Danelle had sent them to us, knowing we wouldn’t be with the group the first day. Why she sent us tickets for the whole trip is beyond me, but there you have it. The rest of the riders had to wait for the 12:30 ferry.

The return trip along Marine Drive wasn’t as bad as we remembered it, either. The hills were continuous for a while, but we just did them. Obviously, we’d become more competent with hills over the week. We arrived at the luggage truck at Capilano College, helped unload it, then checked in to the nearby Holiday Inn for one more good night’s sleep before returning. Saw the Tour, too. Great race in the Pyrenees! Lance still hanging on to the lead by a thread.

Thinking back on our tour, it was pretty neat. Thanks to Danelle (shown left clogging with the entertainers) for all her hard work and planning to make this week special. The scenery was spectacular. The roads were mostly good, although I’d never lead a trip on the Ucluelet-Port Alberni road. The food arrangements were spotty. They were generally bad when it came to convenience, although the food was good everywhere except at the resort. The dearth of sanicans is unfathomable. The people were fabulous and a diverse bunch. The average age must have been over 55. Folks were from as far away as Calgary and New Zealand. The massage therapists were a real treat. It would have been nice to have some kind of finish line celebration, pin, or patch. Maybe even a party for the folks (and there were many) who stayed the last night at the Holiday Inn.

We both enjoyed it. We’d do it again and probably enjoy it even more, knowing what to expect.

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