|Newsletter - 2019 Archive|
Okanagan Ski Touring Super Randonnée 600 - Notes & Recommendations
Most of the route is very good pavement, except for a section of Hwy 33 with some badly broken shoulder. There is about 38 km of gravel road on the Mt Baldy section. The uphill section had been freshly graded when I rode it and was beyond terrible, with a loose surface covered in golf ball sized rocks that had been brought to the surface. I suspect there are only a few days of the year when it is this bad. The descent had not been graded, and was easy to ride, even in the dark, except for a bit of washboard near the top. I recommend 32mm tires or better, preferably with a bit of grip. I highly recommend disc brakes for the descents. Do not underestimate how much food and water you will use on this ride!!! Three bottles was sufficient for me in cool weather, but would not have been had it been hot. You will likely need to add clothing before descending from each mountain. Bike shops are few and far between-Vernon, Kelowna, Oliver and Penticton only.
As a two-day ride: Start early- 05:00 worked well for me-, overnight in Oliver, approximately 342 km.
As a three-day ride: Again, start early (Silver Star gets busy with uphill-bound traffic about 07:00), overnight in Beaverdell (225 km) and Penticton ((442 km), or Rock Creek (274 km) and Summerland (560 km).
1-Silver Star is a steady climb with some steeper sections, all good pavement, but no real flats or downhills to rest on until you turn around at the top. The descent is fantastic! Note that the RWGPS will try to send you the wrong way around the first traffic circle on Pleasant Valley Road. I tried to fix this but could not.
2-Commonage Road is a steady climb up to Predator Ridge, followed by a thrilling descent. DO NOT MISS THE TURN ONTO CARR'S LANDING ROAD! If you find yourself on an unpaved road, turn around, you have missed the turn!. Watch carefully for the Kopje Regional Park sign for your control point! Stock up before you leave Kelowna. There is a 7/11 at the turn onto Hwy 33, and another convenience store partway up Highway 33. No more services until Big White.
3-Big White is a quiet road with good pavement, but there are a few cattle guards. There are several places where the road will go downhill for a while before resuming the upward trend, giving a few brief rest periods. There should be refreshments available at the resort during normal business hours. Again, another awesome descent!
4-Big White turnoff to Rock Creek- Services available at Beaverdell (normal business hours) and Rock Creek. Some hot food available at the Husky at the junction, and the Petro Can just off route has a deli section.
5-Mt Baldy - The climb up the East side of Anarchist is not bad. Just after the big bridge turn right onto Mt Baldy Road. The road will shortly turn to gravel, and may be very rough and loose, with some very steep sections. You will have about 17 km of gravel on the ascent, and about the same as you drop down towards Oliver. This is the most challenging part of the ride! Expect little to no traffic on this road, especially at night. When you get to the ski "village", take your control photo up on the boardwalk of the Ski Patrol/First Aid portable building. This area is lit at night and has a roof over it if you need shelter. There appeared to be no services open during the non-skiiing season. The descent to Oliver is gravel for +- 20 km with a few sharp uphill kickers, then turns to good pavement for another 20ish km. Watch out for herds of wild horses on the VERY fast descent! Stock up in Oliver. Note: If you are staying at the Maple Leaf Motel, be aware that there are TWO Maple Leaf Motels- one is close to the route in Oliver, the other, less expensive one is three km south of town on Hwy 97. Make sure you know which one you have booked. Late night food may be hard to find in Oliver. I settled for the 7/11.
6-Apex Mtn - A steep climb out of Oliver will take you to an amazingly quiet gently rolling area. Enjoy it, there are big climbs ahead. You will lose altitude on 3A, then start climbing Green Mtn Road. it is a relatively easy climb with several brief downhill breaks, but once onto Apex Mtn Rd. all resting is over until the top, where there are a couple of drops to take you to the village and the Gunbarrel Saloon, where you need to take your photo. There were no open services evident when I was there. Now you get a long, long descent to Penticton.
7-Penticton to West Kelowna is not much fun due to traffic noise, but there is a good shoulder and it goes by quickly, and you may have a tailwind (I did.). The Glenrosa Rd. climb to Crystal Mtn. may be shorter than the others, but do not underestimate it. It hits 15% in several places, but has a few spots where you will get a bit of a break. The pavement is good, so the reward is a fun descent.
8-Re-stock in West Kelowna for the final leg. A short stiff climb will take you to a steep descent to Westside Rd., which has many short steep hills. They will now suddenly seem easy! During normal business hours there is a store at La Casa, just before the last control, and the Little Kingdom Store (highly recommended), a few kms later if you need a little something extra to get you to the finish.
9-Vernon - Take another photo of the 7/11. Congratulations! You are finished!
Go to: Bob Photos - The Controls (flickr - 9 Images)
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September 25, 2019