Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Day 69: Cycling A Nova Scotian Mountain at Dusk

Port Hastings to the KOA on the other side of Kelly's Mountain

After an exciting 200 km day the B4B Team totally needed a rest so rest we did but maybe a little too long.
We had a relaxing morning to recover from our previous days long haul, did some much needed laundry then departed for at 1 pm for a campground approximately 100 km down the road.

The afternoon ride traveling along the shoreline of Nova Soctia was definitely enjoyable but when we reached Baddeck, approximately 85 km down the road, at about 6pm and still had not conqured this Nova Scotian "Mountain" we had heard so much about I was getting a little ancy. I didn't really want to have two late nights in a row.

So half of us headed off to get supplies for dinner and the other half (Jennica and Cam) went to the visitors info to find the closest campsite. Well when you are on a bike 5 km in either direction is a big deal and the team definitely didn't want to back track 5 km to the nearest campsite so the other option was the KOA at the easterly foot of Kelly's Mountain about 30 km down the road.

Aware that another 30 km would set us up for riding in the dark we naively set out in two groups to attack Kelly's mountain. Alisha and I went ahead and started to climb the mountain at about 8:30pm. We joked as we past a sign anouncing the commencement of Kelly's assent " over the next 7km you will climb 240 km"..... and they call that a mountain. What happened to the 6 hour mountain climbs that we had back in BC. As the climb continued the shore line to the left shimmered with red and orange that quickly faded into darkness. By the time we reached the top of the hill it was pitch black. Out came the head lamps, tail lights and MEC turtles.... and on went another layer of clothes. Then we began to decend what was atleast a 7% grade (although in the dark we really had no idea). Takeing off with my normal confidence I decended a little faster than the rest of the team but I have to admit I was breaking! I am not one to scare easily but this decent was not something I would do again. Alisha and I were relieved when we finally pulled into the KOA at 9:30 pm in total darkness. We purchased camping for the evening then prayed for the safe arrival of the rest of the crew. An hour later everybody was safely in the campsite a little nerve racked but safe and sound.

The grand total for today: 122 km
Interesting advice: I don't recommend decending hills in the dark fully loaded.
Positive spin to the day: We were only 30 km away from the ferry terminal in North Sydney so we can sleep in (that is if our biological clocks don't wake us up at 7 am).



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