Monday, 14 September 2009

On folly, pride and a fall

I made the mistake of riding on the KVR from Penticton to Chute Lake. The surface was terrible, mostly loose and sandy, with a fair number of rocks. It was quite brutal mentally as I had to be continuously on my guard about where I should go. I could only make about 10 km/h and had to stop to eat or drink as I needed both hands at all times. At one point in particular, I should have switched to the Chute Lake Forestry Service Road, but I was too stubborn/proud and/or optimistic that the trail would soon improve.There were, however, grapevines to look at... well as Lake Okanagan

Chute Lake was another disappointment as the lunch I had hoped for had gone with the staff at the lodge. (Apparently, the kitchen staff had quit unexpectedly leaving the owner/manager in the lurch.) I made do with rhubarb pie à la mode and a couple of cans of Coke plus half of the bar of Swiss chocolate.
The road surface improved a bit after Chute Lake, but it still wasn't very good. I was stopped by an older man in a pickup truck who wanted to know if I had seen a woman on a bike with a trailer. I hadn't. However, about a half hour later I met a woman answering that description. I inquired if she was the one being sought and if so, that she was being sought. It turned out she was. I also pumped her for trail surface conditions up ahead. She said that they did improve after the next Forestry Service Road (FSR). As I was well behind my planned timing, I was wondering if I should opt out of the Myra Canyon section and head to Kelowna early. She indicated that the Myra Canyon section was worth it.
The trail surface improved dramatically, so I was able to make my revised cut-off time. This despite being held up by some cattle on the KVR. There were four branded black cattle on the trail that wouldn't let me by and instead headed further up the trail. I ended up driving them on for about a kilometer before I could pass. As there was a cow and a calf, I was a little worried that they might turn on me. There were signs warning about bears in the area. As they were black and close in size to a bear, I had a moment of worry when I first spotted them before making the correct species identification.
The Myra Canyon section was indeed beautiful as being well-maintained and features lots of signs explaining what everything was.
The mishap happened at left of this picture

This last caused my downfall as near the end of the section, I was momentarily distracted by one of them just as I got onto a trestle. As bikes and people are smaller than trains, only a central portion of the trestle (width-wise) had nice boards. The edges were sleepers, set at about the historic distance. I veered off the central portion, down 2 inches onto the utterly bike-unfriendly sleepers and over onto the solid cedar railing at a good speed. My right arm and my right breast took most of the blow with my right leg picking up some of it. Or should I say scrapes and cedar splinters as there is now a good size patch of road rash on my right forearm and the signs of many splinters removed from chest and leg.
Shirt damage
Rather stunned, I walked the bike to the end of the trestle in search of a bench to sit down on. I flagged down the first cyclists I saw for help. Glen and Isabel (the cyclists) produced a first aid kit while I pulled my shirt off. We swabbed down the afflicted areas with disinfectant and pulled out some of the bigger splinters. As I recovered from my shock, Glen and I chatted about bikes for a few minutes. Having caught my breath, I thanked them profusely and headed off to Rebecca and Paul's house in Kelowna.

I arrived very much later than originally anticipated but luckily just before Paul had to go to pick up Rebecca at the airport. I was warmly greeted at their unconventionally kept house. Rebecca had been away for about a week and things were a bit chaotic. However, it was a warm chaos. Paul, who is an avid cyclist, has been particularly helpful both with the bike and dealing with my injuries.
In other news, it seems that Alice and Mark will be getting married in Norris Point, Newfoundland, next June. This throws a bit of a spanner in the spokes of my planning as I had been thinking of biking from York to Campbeltown at about that time. I guess I might just bike from Deer Lake to St-John's instead! Possibly with a detour to St-Pierre et Miquelon.


Margo and Chris said...

We rode from Chute Lake to Penticton, which was bad enough with loose sand, but at least downhill. Going uphill must have been a nightmare. But did you see the rock ovens? And did you see signs warning about rattlesnakes?


Bikemoose said...

Going uphill was very miserable indeed. I saw a couple of the rock ovens, but didn't really want to stop. I am pretty sure I saw signs warning about rattlesnakes. To be honest, I was more concerned about bears as I had seen what I believed to be bear scats.