28 July 2012

Flash Report -- EPIC Ride

Columbia Icefield ... after the rain had stopped and the temperature started to warm
I completed the Rocky Mountain 1200 yesterday afternoon.

There were 62 finishers and 50 DNFs -- mostly a result of brutal weather during the first 36 hours.  We had rain, cold rain, thunderstorms, hard rain, lightning, light rain, headwinds, cold, colder, coldest.  The tone was set at the start, when the heavens opened and water poured out in a thundershower just as we mounted our bikes.  The weather and roads were brutal not only on the riders, but also on our equipment.  Then it got better.

The organizers' page here has more details and stories.

As for major drama, my rear derailleur cable broke and I rode the last 65 km to Jasper in 34x11 gearing ... fortunately I was already up the largest hills of the section before my bike converted to single speed.

In the cold rain below Mount Robson, as I tried to thread the replacement cable, I managed to jam it and make the shifter completely unusable.  But thanks to Patrick at the Jasper Control and John and Danelle, who drove the sweep vehicle and provided some mechanical help at later controls, I was able to ride the last 750 kms as a converted 2-speed.  50x25/34x25 for the big climbs, and 50x19/34x19 (or 22, or 17) on the other stretches.

I also shredded (and replaced) both tires, I think on the "rumble strips" along these highways, and my dynamo light was torn off its metal attachment from the shaking on the final descent.
One of endless mountains, from near Hi Mosquito Creek on the Icefields Parkway
Thank you to Matthew for riding with me and making the 24+ hour stretch from Revelstoke to Kamloops much easier, and to Tony for the same on the harrowing descent in the dark along the TransCanada Highway from Lake Louise to Golden the night before.
Nice weather on the return leg on July 25 (and 26)
The prize
And yes, I did see some black bears (no grizzlies).

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