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Rocky Mountain 1200


Rocky Mountain 1200 km Odyssey
by Trevor J. Stocki


Before I begin this story, I would like to thank a group of people for their help and support. I want to thank Mike Lau, Vytas Janusauskas, Dave McCaw, for all their advice before this ride. In particular Mike's advice: to ride my own ride and to pace myself on the hills (instead of sprinting up them). Dave also lent me a wrench at 5 am before the ride and some electrolytes. I would like to thank Patti Von Niessen for her infectious enthusiasm months before the event occurred and for her info on the road around Barrier.

On the road I want to thank Jaye Haworth for the Advil she gave me in Beauty Creek. I would like to thank Jaye, Jim Fidler, and Stephen Hinde, for the fun ride between Jasper and Beauty Creek. I would like to thank Peg Winczewski for sticking together over the hell pass known as Kicking Horse pass. I would like to thank the volunteer in Salmon Arm that woke me. I want to thank Ray Wagner, the volunteer at Revelstoke for helping with all the bike problems before I made my last push.

I would like to thank all the volunteers at all the check points. They were all amazing and very pleasant to get help from. They did an amazing job and made my ride very enjoyable.

I would like to thank my sister Stacy and her boyfriend Jan (not Ulrich!) for picking me up and taking care of me after the ride. I also thank the late Göran Kropp because his story helped inspire me into long distance cycling. Of course I would be negligent if I didn't thank my wife Ev for her constant support and "never give up" attitude.


I have to say that this ride is sort of a homecoming for me as I rode one year with the B.C. Randonneurs, lived in Vancouver for 8 years and grew up in Edmonton. So, I knew the road from Kamloops to Jasper quite well, as I drove it numerous times, but had never ridden my bicycle on it.

My wife dropped me off at the Ottawa airport for my flight out on Tuesday morning July 20, 2004. I dropped off my bike with the airline and one of the airline agents asked me if I was going to the Olympics. I got through security. Dave McCaw was there. He had to rearrange flights. We were both flying Ottawa-Vancouver-Kamloops with a 2 hour stop over in Lotus Land (Vancouver). Well, our flight was delayed by an hour and a half due to technical problems. We got to our connecting flight with about 20 minutes to spare. We asked if our luggage would make it through. We were reassured it would.

We arrived in Kamloops and saw an unclaimed bike box. We found that our bikes didn't make the connection. Of course I was worried that the bike wouldn't make it in time. Patti gave us a ride to the hotel on top of the big hill and I tried to sleep, but it was hard since, I was worried. A bunch of us (Jaye Hayworth, Stephen Hinde, and Cary Chappelle were amongst them) went out for dinner at Pete's Pasta. It was great. Happily our bikes showed up later that evening after we got back. I decided to go to sleep and work on the bike in the morning before the bike check. I figured I would still be on Eastern Time and would wake up early.

I woke up early and started putting my bike together. I found I was missing a wrench that I needed to put my carrier on. I was going to walk to the Husky station to see if I could borrow a wrench or something. I noticed Dave's lights were on. He invited me in to watch Le Tour de France, but I declined as I was taping them and asked if he had a wrench I could borrow for 15 minutes. He had it. I got my bike together & returned the wrench. Turned out I had a front pannier rack installed before I left so that if I needed to, I could ride from the airport (the good thing about having late luggage was that we didn't have to figure out how to get my bike box to the hotel). I took the front pannier rack off and noticed my front V-brake was rubbing (I ride a hybrid, so it has different brakes than road bikes). I tried and tried to get it set up right and got something close. I decide it wasn't perfect but it would get me to the bike shop that was opened at 9:30 (Spoke's In Motion). They looked at it and found that one of the bars that hold the unit to the forks was bent. They made it work and suggested that it be replaced after the ride. The awesome part was that they did it for free!!! I was impressed. I went thru the bike check and passed (they checked the brakes, so I might have failed had I not gone to the bike shop).

Later, Vytas, Patti, Dave, Colleen and I went out for supper, where we met two other riders (I believe) Bernie Barge and Larry Brenize.

The start

I got to the 10 pm start about 45 minutes early. It was good to see everyone. I drank a bunch of water before the start, which may have been a good or bad thing. I hadn't trained with a camel back, as I don't like weight on my back, so I decided to go with four 700+ ml bottles. Three were on my bike, one in my pannier as back up. I used power aid bottles for the most part. I found that a trek sports drink lid fits on that size water bottle. The trek sports drink lid, is a loop, so before the ride I got Ev to make me a strap which would go thru the trek lid and stop the bottle from launching from the bottle holder. It is a pain because you have stop to get to that bottle, but it seemed to work.

Doug Latornell (the organizer) gave a speech before the start and we started. There were ~60 riders in this group and we all left on mass. As I left I heard Vytas say "Go Trevor!!" I was really happy to hear that as it help with motivation later in the ride. (Vytas was in the 84 hour group and had come to see us off). It was good to be in a large group start again (I had done the Pacific Populaire way back in 2000 and the group start was fun). I had missed these mass starts!

Day 1:

To Jasper

The ride was going fairly smoothly for me. I felt strong. Patti had ridden this part of the route earlier in the week and said there was a lot of broken glass before the town of Barrier. I respected this advice and decided to ride on or as close to the white line as I could. I found I had to stop for nature brakes fairly often. I guess I drank too much water at the start. It was also a cool evening. Because of these stops and stops for caffeine, I ended up alone, but ok. A couple of these stops were for a pocket coffee (an espresso filled chocolate that I can only seem to find in Europe. If anyone knows where I can find them in Eastern Ontario, I would be very happy!)

I got to the first check point and only spent about 30 minutes there. I really needed a coffee, and it really helped. Patti arrived at the check point a few minutes after me. She left before me. I knew she wanted to keep her stops short. I also knew that I tended to do 6 minutes of stretches at each check point for my knees, which most people don't do.

I left and it seemed like Patti and I were playing leap frog all the way to Blue River as each us would stop to do something (put on extra clothes). I passed a rest area, where I once stopped with Ev and her family and felt sad. I kept going. Eventually I ended up pulling a couple riders for a few kilometres, before Blue River.

I got to Blue River and took a picture of the check point as I often stopped at Blue River when driving from Edmonton to Vancouver. At the diner, I ate breakfast with Stephen Hinde and Jaye Hayworth. I really enjoyed chatting with them over breakfast. They left ahead of me.

I caught up with Patti at one point before Valemont and slowed my pace to chat for a bit. Then on one of the hills, I dropped her. She joined the Bulgarian express (two riders from Bulgaria) which blew by me. We all met up and had ice cream cones in Valmont.

The Tête Jaune Cache check point was quite picturesque! It was very beautiful. I met Stephen there and he said "Trev go have a dip or paddle in the river, Jaye did!" I gave that a miss as I wanted to get going and just ate and filled my water bottles. Dave McCaw, who was in the 84 hour group which left 6 hours after us, met me there. I thought for sure he wouldn't catch me till Jasper! But oh well. Dave left and I left shortly after him and I tried to catch him. No luck.

I took a few other pictures along the way, my bike with Mt. Terry Fox, a picture of Mt. Robson which didn't really turn out well. All day we had to deal with rumble strips built into the shoulders to keep car drivers awake. They were very rough. I had to go over them at one point and my rear break started rubbing against the wheel. It turned out that when I went over the rumble strips a second time it stopped rubbing. So I got lucky, that I didn't have to stop and fix that.

Then I was riding along with my jersey unzipped. A bee or bug or something hit me straight on my exposed chest. It felt like it stung me. Luckily I had been stung before while golfing, so I knew there would not be a big reaction. I had a friend take out a stinger during that episode. So I thought I would try to get a motorist to take the stinger out as I was alone. The third motorist I talked to, had a bicycle rack on the back of their car and offered the services of his Swiss army knife tweezers. Turns out he couldn't find it. I thanked them and they went off.

I continued on, I noticed that there was a rain storm ahead. I hoped the road didn't go under it. I reached the Alberta border and took a picture of my bike and the sign! I then approached the park gate. There was no line up of cars. All I could see is an arm sticking out of the booth waving me on. So I flew right through the booth and thanked the attendant as I went by.

Patti and a couple of others were behind the booth putting on clothes. They caught me on a hill and went ahead of me. Eventually we all finished in Jasper at about the same time.

In Jasper I had a couple of hours sleep and had a shower. I knew that the next checkpoint close time was a bit tight so I hoped to leave at around 2 am or 2:30, but I left around 3 am.

Day 2: The Problems

The ride to Beauty Creek

The second day started filled with hope. I didn't get away from Jasper as soon as I wanted, but Stephen, Jaye, and Jim were about to leave Jasper at the same time as me. I asked them if I could join them. They said "of course" or something like that. I noticed that Jim had a bike very much like mine, except it was a touring bike instead of a hybrid. Seeing that we were going down the old highway, there was a lot of opportunity to chat. We saw a lot of wildlife on this stretch, we saw a bear, a bunch of goats, and I believe a deer. Stephen took some pictures. We had a caffeine stop. It was fairly hilly on the way to Beauty Creek (the next check point), I was really impressed by Jaye's climbing. She is amazing. It got colder and colder that morning. I was a bit behind the group and I decided to put a sweater on. I should have yelled out so they knew I had stopped. Ooops. Anyway, shortly after that, my right knee was screaming out in pain. On the previous day it was not bad, but a little achy. I decided I could not keep the climbing pace and will have to spin as much as possible. This was a strategy that worked on the 600 last year [1]. I probably stopped for a few stretches as well. I couldn't catch the group I was with. I found Jim stopped on the side of the road putting on his booties and I did some stretches. I also put on my booties as my feet were getting really cold. Jim went ahead, I couldn't keep his pace.

Eventually I got to Beauty Creek and I thought my ride was over. I figured I would do everything possible to make my knee happy. I apologized to Stephen, Jaye, and Jim for not telling them I stopped and told them about my knee problems. I did a ton of stretches; ate an excellent breakfast! (This check point had the best breakfast!!); took my asthma medication; and got some Advil from Jaye. From my previous knee problems my sports medicine doctor said not to do any pain killers as it could mask a larger problem. I figured I would make that decision on the road: risk the rest of the Ultimate season and commuting to work vs. finishing. Little did I know that while having that conversation there was a physiotherapist with us, named Peg. I didn't really need a physiotherapist right then as I already knew which stretches to do etc. Patti arrived at this check point and I knew she had some special tape for injuries like this. I asked her if she had any extra, she said it was in Golden. Then Steve, Jaye, and Jim had left and so had Patti.

It was 9 am and it was 0.5 hour before the control closed. I decided to get going and let Sunwapta pass decide my fate. Just as I was leaving a friendly face from the 84 hour group was arriving. It was Vytas! I told him what was up and told him that the breakfast at this checkpoint was amazing.

The Two Passes Sunwapta & Bow (Time to spin like Lance.):

So I decided I just have to sit and spin as much as I could, like Lance Armstrong. Sunwapta pass started almost right away. I didn't have any problems with my knee. I was surprised! Was it the cold morning that did it? Was it the fact that I didn't take my asthma meds before leaving Jasper? Anyway I was happy I made it up the pass. It was a pity that I couldn't just hammer up it, like I would have liked to. I stopped at the Icefields info centre for gatorade and then went down the pass.

Going down the pass was a huge rush. The road was a bit rough so I kept my speed down to 50-60 km/hr. I took the lane and it was constant downhill for a long time. The shoulders looked really rough, so that was not the place for me. There was a short flat section and then more decent. As I was flying down the hill, there was an oncoming Winnebago. A SUV behind it, decided to pass the Winnebago as I was on coming. I decided to move as close as possible to the shoulder. Luckily we didn't hit. But I wasn't very happy at this SUV. It was unlike the drivers behind me gave me a lot of respect by staying behind. They must have looked at their speedometers and thought well this bike is going x km/hr!

On the next downhill it was very rough and my arm rest for my aerobars fell off. It was a plastic piece on a plastic piece, so there was no way to fix it. I just grabbed it and put it in my pannier.

I got to the Saskatchewan River Crossing. Patti was there and so was Carey. I asked them about this piece and Carey said there is a bike shop in Lake Louise, maybe I can buy a new one. I ate lunch and then continued on. Just as I left I saw Vytas coming in.

Next up was the long, slow, climb up Bow pass. It didn't seem as steep as Sunwapta. I got passed by a couple of riders along the way. One of them chatted with me for a short while. A second one passed me quickly. I said "I am debating whether it is worth it to do the gravel?" (There was a place where one could get more water, but it meant 2 km of gravel, which would increase the risk of getting flat tire.) As the rider passed me, he spoke one word "No". It was an excellent concise response. I decided I would double check the ride profile at the top of the pass. A woman rider caught up with me and said hello during the steep part of the climb. She passed me and was just in front of me. I was practically drafting her. Then it seemed like I was going at my own pace, but I was 1/2 wheeling her. I decided that this was not safe and decided to pass her. All of a sudden I got a bunch of energy. Maybe it was adrenalin. I spun up the hill putting some distance between me and her. For a few minutes there I felt like a spinning Lance. At the top I told her that I had no idea where I got that energy from. The guy who answered my question about the gravel was there as well. They were riding together. I checked the profile, it seemed like it was all downhill with small uphills to Lake Louise. My water should be fine.

Then the spectacular just happened. Vytas came flying up the pass, passed all three of us at speed and went up an unnecessary hill (well at least for us three). Vytas said, "don't wait for me, I am going up here, because there is a bathroom". It was an amazing spectacle of climbing. I had never seen Vytas climb so fast. Apparently it was a necessary hill for Vytas.

So, all three of us left the summit of the pass. Eventually, I ended up alone. Vytas caught up to me and we rode together to Lake Louise. When he caught me he said "you are a hard guy to catch". It was great riding with Vytas for that stretch. It was good to have someone to chat with. I told him about my knee and he said, "you're climbing pretty darn good for someone with a bad knee". That inspired me even more. I told him I was thinking of sleeping in Lake Louise because I was injured. He said, that might be a bad idea as one would lose time. I figured I would get more info before the decision (ie check out the profile). I decided I would definitely go to Castle Junction and then back to Lake Louise before I decided whether or not I would sleep. (The route went Lake Louise -Castle Junction- then back to Lake Louise).

At Lake Louise I found that the bike shop was less than a kilometre away. I went there and they didn't have the aerobar armrest part. I also looked for some sleep things at the grocery store (my drop bag was in Golden). I ate supper with Vytas, but he left before me.

The Castle Junction loop was only a ~50 km stretch (~25 km there and ~25 km back). I saw other riders coming back from that check point. We waved at each other. It was great. Then I saw the Stephen, Jaye, and Jim group. The last time they saw me, they probably had the impression I wasn't going to finish. Jaye yelled out "Trevor!!!", like she was impressed to see me. That gave me a huge boost.

I went up and down the hills to the Castle Junction check point, which was a view point. I passed one viewpoint and was not sure if that was it. Then I saw Vytas going the opposite direction and he said "up up up". I tried to ask him if he was eating again before leaving Lake Louise, but I couldn't form a coherent, quick question. I got to the check point and Patti was there chatting with one of the volunteers. I asked the control person to check my bottom bracket, as there was some clicking. Another rider figured it was my derailleur going out of tune. The bottom bracket was fine. I told the volunteer that I was debating whether or not to sleep in Lake Louise. He said not to burn daylight and that I should try to get to Golden. I asked to see the route profile. He said it was all downhill to Golden except for a short climb to the top of Kicking Horse Pass.

I decided I would continue to Golden but get more supplies in Lake Louise. I knew that the control was running out of bananas and that the grocery store closed at 10:30 pm. I got to Lake Louise and got to the grocery store at 9:30 pm. My watch was set for Pacific Time, not Mountain Time!!! They had just closed, but I was lucky they let me in for some bananas. I went to the gas station to get more gatorade and switch to night riding gear. I chatted with a family about what I was doing and with another customer. They were very interested in what I was doing. It was too bad that I left the Ontario Randonneur business cards at home. Just before I turned on to Highway 1, I decided to put my red pants on. I stopped in the turning island. Peg had just done the loop and passed me and continued on ahead of me.

The Decent From Hell (Kicking Horse Pass at night):

I passed Peg and told her that I wanted to pick up the pace a bit. I got to the top of the Kicking Horse Pass and started the decent. It was dark, there were oncoming semi-trucks blinding me, so I decided not to fly down this decent. I found a turn off and stopped at the side of the road. I was using my brakes a lot. My rear wheel felt warm and I decided to let it cool. I remember what happened to Yvon on the Placid 600 a month back, how his front tube overheated and got a flat tire on a decent. I didn't want that to happen in this dark, evil, treacherous decent. I stopped to let my rims cool a number of times. At one of the stops Peg stopped with me and we decided to try to stay together. It seemed like we leap frogged each other more than anything, but at one point I thought she was ahead of me. I stopped to have a pocket coffee and Larry Brenize passed me. He asked if I was ok. I told him I was just having caffeine. I told him that Peg was ahead of me. It turned out that she wasn't. Eventually Peg caught up with me, she told me she had had to have a break and then got back on her bike. I also asked her if she had some gum to stay awake. She didn't, so I gave her some.

I found I struggled here, taking short breaks off the bike to stay awake and to keep going. I used up all my pocket coffees. I got to the construction and there was a group of us going up the construction. It was tight with the semis passing us. The group stopped at the top of the construction for a break and I caught up with them. Peg was with them. Peg and I stayed together till Golden. As we entered Golden, I thought I saw Vytas leaving with Dave McCaw and said Hi. Vytas or Dave said something like "that way". Peg and I got to Golden. I ate a first breakfast with Carey and Peg. Then I called my wife, telling her that I was having knee problems and Achilles problems. She thought I sounded like I was about to abandon, so she said "where are you now?" "800 or so km". "well, that's the furthest you have ever gone". I told her, "I had to go" and we got off the phone. Its funny, talking to her later, she interpreted my abruptness as "I guess Trevor didn't want to hear that". But actually I took it as further inspiration that this is the longest I have been out on my bike and I should keep pushing.

I then got my stuff ready for the next day. I noticed that my emergency back up water bottle in my pannier leaked and there was a small flood in my waterproof pannier! My tubes were soaked, my pump was soaked. A few other items were soaked. I took them out of my pannier and let them dry while I was at this checkpoint with sleeping facilities. I swapped out my old tubes with new ones after I wiped dry the pannier. I had my shower and went to the front. I found it was already almost daylight. I asked for 2 hours sleep but I found I woke up 0.5 hour early without anyone waking me.

Day 3 and 4: The Final Push (or was it Crawl?):

Up Rogers Pass and down to Revelstoke:

Generally on these long rides, you eat before you sleep and then you get up and eat again, that way your body recuperates over the sleep and you have fuel for the day ahead. I had a second breakfast with Stephen after sleeping. It was good to chat and vent about the scary decent from the night before. It was definitely the worst leg of the route for me and it appeared the same for others.

I got my stuff ready and left after breakfast. I also lightened my load a bit, but not completely. I thought the Stephen/Jaye/Jim group had left already. So I left. I caught up to Peg and we found our way out of Golden, although some of the signs seemed missing. Then on Highway 1 (the Trans Canada highway) I picked up the pace a bit. I was feeling good. I was alone again. There was a lot of traffic; luckily there was a good shoulder, but not good enough for riding side by side. As I rode, behind me I heard a really bad scraping noise from one of the cars behind. It passed me. It was a car with a camping trailer, with bikes at the back which were dragging down the highway! I hoped my bike wouldn't be doing that after the finish, when I will get rides up to Edmonton. Eventually the driver found out what happened and pulled over. I had to pass this trailer on the side of the highway. Then a short time later, the Stephen/Jaye/Jim group passed me. Stephen said "hey, Trevor I know where you can get a bike mountain bike for cheap". I thought to myself, how did he know that my current mountain bike (fall/spring) bike was dieing and I needed to replace it? I was really confused by the comment. Then I finally got it. He was referring to the dragging bikes. Anyway it's always good to lighten things up on a ride.

A rider caught up to me. I thought he was doing the RM1200, but he wasn't. He was a cyclist out for a morning ride. We rode side by side for awhile and chatted. He was riding what looked like an expensive trek bike, maybe even one similar to what Lance rides. I explained to him that I could not draft him. I told him about the ride I was doing and he said he was going up Rogers pass, up to a place I didn't recognize. I hope I got him interested in Randonneuring. Things got a bit uncomfortable riding side by side, with the heavy traffic, as I just missed a pot hole. I explained this to him and he took off ahead of me. I avoided his draft. I really enjoyed his company (his name escapes me).

After that I crossed a bridge and the climbed up pre-climb to Rogers Pass. The shoulder on the upward side was very, very small. It was about 10 to 20 cm wide. Basically just the white line! At first this bothered me, but when I realized how slow I was going, I figured if I hit a pot hole, my bike would not hit very hard due to the lack of speed. I got to a flat section and the regular shoulder had appeared. I took a quick break off the bike and as I did, Peg passed me. Then I kept climbing and climbing.

Then there was a long descent but with a regular sized shoulder. Before the climb up Rogers pass. I passed Patti and Bob as they were stopped on the side of the road. I asked if they were ok. They said no. I stopped, but they said it was just old age, so then I continued on. They were smart to take a break before the climb up Rogers Pass.

I climbed up the pass. I stopped part way up on a flattish section to take a drink of water. I then continued on and stopped just before the tunnels on the pass, to turn on my lights and to switch my glasses to clear. Once done the tunnels I switched back to sunglasses. Later I realized that that the tunnels are short enough just to take the sunglasses off instead of stopping and switching. Sometime before this switching Patti and Bob passed me. I met up with them and a bunch of other riders in the small town of Rogers Pass. By this time it was close to noon and very hot out. There was gas station there and a restaurant. There were riders at the gas station. I went to the restaurant and had a quick meal of pasta. I got back to the gas station and refilled my gatorade. I bought too much and gave a bottle to another rider. Then I continued on, it was practically a descent all the way to Revelstoke with some smaller climbs and another set of tunnels (this time I just put my glasses in my pocket).

On the way down to Revelstoke, there was a car pulled over on the shoulder. It was a couple volunteers from one of the previous controls. They had there hatch back open. They said "this is a secret control and have a can of coke". It was great. It was exactly what I needed as I was getting tired and needed some cold caffeine. It was great.

I got into Revelstoke and realized that I could not read the street signs. One of my contact lenses seemed to be messed up. Eventually I made it to the control.

Revelstoke, the Control to solve all problems, but no sleep:

At the control I got some pasta and phoned the local bike shop about the aerobar arm-rest. I was concerned because my bike doesn't have drop handle bars and so I didn't have method to battle the wind if it got windy into Kamloops. They didn't have any of those parts.

I asked a group of riders if I could join them. They said "you are not a consistent rider!!!" which made me feel like I just opened a PFO letter from a job interview. I defended myself and said, "I am riding well when I feel strong, and riding like crap when I feel weak, but I am trying to ride my own ride." They agreed with that and I asked when they were leaving and they told me. Shortly after that, before I had a chance to feel that my ego got obliterated; Peg said to me "I will ride with you Trevor". I asked her what time she was leaving and she said in about 1/2 an hour or when it cools off. I said "ok I will ride with you, I just need to have a shower and do a few things."

I had a shower. Ray, the volunteer there showed me where to go. Then after the shower, I asked Ray about the aero-bar part I was trying to buy. He said that he could just tape it on and he did. I said if it falls off, I guess I could just leave it. I had been worried that my pump didn't work any more (as it had been in the flooded pannier). He tested it and said it was fine. He said my tires were fine (I think he has a PSI calibrated finger). I checked my pannier and found an extra contact. I wasn't sure if was baked from the heat so I tried it on in the bathroom, covering the sink with a piece of paper towel. One of the volunteers ensured that no-one disturbed me while I put the contact on. It worked and I could see better then before. My original contact disintegrated or fogged up. It was a night and day contact, which I was using for the first time on a long ride. It permitted me to sleep in it, but it must have not have held up to sweat and sunscreen that got in my eyes as I rode in the heat. The new one seemed to work well. I could definitely read street signs. I got all my batteries ready for night riding. Ray also got me a plastic bag (on which he wrote my name and number) to leave behind some more of what I was carrying.

So I got all those things done and was ready in time to leave with Peg. I had no time for sleep, but at least I had some piece of mind. Peg and I talked about what to do when each of us stopped. We decided to just keep going as the other person will need to stop and we would be able to catch up. She needed to stop to put a jacket on and I passed her. I took a quick break as well. When I got back on my bike, I nearly fell over. My seat post got turned and I noticed that my seat was about 1 cm lower than it should be. I am guessing it was that way from Jasper (when my knee problems started to occur). I fixed the seat height and started off. I noticed that speed on my odometer was acting strangely. Peg passed me and went up a small hill. I pulled over and fixed this problem as well (which was good because there is an unmarked turn after Enderby). I then went after Peg. As I climbed a small hill, my knee screamed out in pain. I figured it was because I put the seat back where it belonged. I decided to stop and do some stretches. I hadn't used Jaye's Advil yet, but was seriously contemplating it. I knew that there was a Shell gas station at the next turn but I was not sure if I could make it before it closed. I figured at the next stop I would buy some extra Ibuprofen and some extra batteries. It turned out my knee settled down without the drugs, so I continued on. I found a gas station that was open, I figured if I should get extra Ibuprofen it should be now, but it took forever to buy the batteries and the Ibuprofen. The cashier was putting oil in one of the cars and there was a line up at the till. I waited patiently, but was anxious to get going, figuring that I wouldn't catch Peg. I finally got out of the station and the cashier ran out after me, giving me my sunglasses.
I got going and only to stop to put my helmet light on and switched to clear glasses. The bugs nearly ate me alive. I kept a jacket on, but felt a bit hot.

I got to Sicamous, and knew there was a 24 hour Husky there. Peg left her lights on, so I would find her there. I bought some gatorade and some food. Peg left ahead of me. After she left, Patti and Bob showed up. I told them I didn't get any sleep. The cashier and the truck drivers talked to me for a bit. One said it took him a while to figure what we were at night, but said we were very well lit up. Another truck driver nearly hit a guy on a recumbent and was sort venting in a guilty feeling way. The cashier thought we were crazy riding on the hottest day of the year.

To Enderby

I then left to go the next bit to Enderby. I felt like I was struggling to stay awake. It was really hard at this point because I ran out of things to think about and keep me awake. I stopped a couple of times for cliff shots and kept my eye out for a vending machine. During one of my stops I looked straight up with my headlights off and I saw the Northern Lights right above me!!! It was amazing. In Golden I had dumped my camera, to save weight and because I didn't think I had time for pictures. At that moment I really wished I had it back. It reminded me of my childhood in Edmonton, where I would often see them directly above me.

I was really suffering. I found in the past that if I had someone to chase it would keep my heart rate up, but no luck this time. Then I heard Patti behind me. I decided to do the opposite to keep myself awake. I will keep my heart rate up by not allowing the catch. It worked for awhile. Then I made a turn and was not entirely sure about it, so I waited up for Patti. I rode with Patti and Bob for a while into Enderby. I couldn't keep the pace, but kept them in my sights. During the descent down Kicking Horse Pass I noticed that if I nodded my helmet lamp that the cars would turn off their high beams. I did this even though Patti and Bob were ahead of me. I figured it would help them out as well. Patti and Bob got to Enderby a few minutes before me. As I approached the control someone in a truck asked me what the ride was about. I was feeling miserable and I didn't want to miss the control. I said, "Sorry I have to find where I am going".

At the control we got soup and bread. Peg had some sleep. I desperately needed some. There wasn't really a sleeping facility at this control, but there was a bench. The volunteers explained the unmarked turn on the road ahead. Patti, Bob, and Peg left as I tried to get some sleep for 0.5 hour. Another group arrived. I couldn't sleep as I was worried about the unmarked road and it wasn't quiet. So I got up and checked out. On the way out I grabbed an emergency coke from a vending machine.

The long (20 or so km) upward road to Salmon Arm:

I tried to catch Peg, Patti, and Bob. The chase kept me awake. There was a long hill up to the unmarked road. I had the photograph displayed at the check point burned in my mind. I had zeroed my odometer at Enderby (the trip meter went to zero once it went over 1000 km!! So I might as well get the systematic error in calibration small). I found the turn and made it. Then a dog chased me.

Salmon Arm to Sleep or Not to Sleep?:

I got to the Salmon Arm checkpoint after a little confusion with the street names. Peg, Patti, and Bob were already there. They all had showers and were almost ready to go. I had breakfast and then had a shower, but by that time they had left. In the shower I could not decide if I should sleep. The sun was just about to come up and the day was going to be hot. If I slept for a few hours, I would have to fight the heat later in the day and the finish would be tight. I decided to ask the volunteers to wake me up in 10 minutes. I went to sleep after preparing all the stuff from my drop bag….

I awoke to a volunteer saying "Sorry Trevor, we could not wake you…" "I said how long had I been sleeping???" I was hoping it was not 3 hours or something like that. She said "it has been 25 minutes". Whew! I was relieved. They said they tried after 10 minutes and they could not wake me, then after another 10 minutes and again they could not wake me. Then after another 5 minutes it worked! I guess I needed that sleep. They said the next step would be to drag me out of there and hose me off.

I felt better after that small amount of sleep. My throat was sore, so I got some advice about it. I dumped a lot of weight, and left. I got out on the road and it was cool outside.

The final 100 km…:

I got down on my aerobars and seemed to ride strong for the first 30 minutes or so. I had my coke with me and I figured if I got too tired I would check in a hotel on the road and ask them to wake me in an hour. I had to stop and eat cliff shots a few times. But that meant more "nature" breaks and the need to drink more water.

I went through the construction site with no problems. No work was being done and there was hardly any traffic. It was good timing again.

Once I was within about 30 km or so, I needed to get water from my third water bottle. My third water bottle was attached with a strap so it would not launch when I went over rail road tracks. I had to stop to gain access to it. When I stopped to remove the strap, there was a shadow over me. It was another cyclist; with I believe a British or Australian accent. He asked "is everything ok?" I explained about the strap and was really happy he stopped. I got ready to go and he left. He yelled something that was like "yahoo we are almost done". I also yelled something like "WAHOOO". Then he dropped me, like a sack of hammers. I then realized how I felt when I got into the Beauty Creek Control after Jasper, how I was convinced that I would not finish because of my knee problems. I was about to start weeping because of the surge of emotion that came over me but I thought, "wait, its hot now, I can't waste the water" and in an instant, nothing left my tear ducts. Then for the rest of the way I keep myself awake and just kept chanting "it's hot… it's hot" all the way into Kamloops.

I got to the end and a bunch of people clapped. Susan Allan sat me down in a chair and filled out the paper work. She gave me my medal and Doug came by and gave me a water and beer. It was great. I was done with about 3.5 hours to spare. Then I chatted with some of the other riders and called my sister to pick me up.

"I made it."

[1] T.J. Stocki, My first 600: km: The Lantern Rouge Report. Spokesperson (Newsletter of the Ottawa Bike Club) October 2003, page 9.

© Trevor J. Stocki