We woke up after our second night in the tent to find it had rained over night and everything was a little damp. This meant that packing up everything took longer than anticipated as we attempted to dry everything out before packing it away. We knew the tent was eventually going to smell musty but we didn’t want it to be as soon as day three.
Matt mentioned his knee was hurting and he already had quite bad chaffing but both of us assumed his knee was just a bit stiff and would ease up once we got going and that the chaffing was well normal when you spend long on the bike. We set off for the centre of Mission for breakfast; Starbucks if you were wondering what corporate chain restaurant we would be propping up this morning. After ordering and consuming enough food to apparently warrant a disgusted look from the cashier we pedalled on to Hope.
The riding was easy; fairly flat, low traffic and good roads. Matts knee however was getting considerably worse and we had to pull over every 10km for him to stretch it off. After a few stops we realised that his seat had not been properly secured when we rebuilt the bikes post flight and a low seat post had seemingly given his bad knee pain. After 90km this pain was now agony and as we stopped in for lunch at Tim Hortons, the mood in camp was particularly low.
We knew ahead of us was a 60km climb. That is not a typo, that is indeed 6 0 kilometres. The book that we were following, Canada by Bike, had the next 60km down as a single days riding and had described it as the most physically demanding day you’ll do on the bike all trip. So an easy late afternoon ride then when you’ve got a hammy knee that you don’t know how to fix. Our enthusiasm for the climb was further dashed by a group of 6 people, who said they were cyclists, who told us it would take us 5 hours to get to the top. We had only a little over 4 hours of light left and were only half way through a late lunch at this point so based on that timing it was looking touch and go. Turns out that unlike the name suggests, we didn’t find much hope in Hope.
Knowing that there was a campsite in Hope and then one at the top of the climb and with Matts knee hurting we decided to put off the climb for tomorrow. We stopped by a pharmacy to get an ice pack for Matts knee and in a half hearted attempt to make his saddle more comfortable, we bought a gel pad. With little else to do we checked in to our campsite, set up the tent and then headed back into town to try and find some dinner.
Since we felt we should support at least one local eatery whilst in Hope we went to the only open restaurant: a Chinese with the word smorgasbord in its title, not a word I’d necessarily associate with Chinese cuisine but it was this or McDonald’s again. We bet against our better judgement and went in and were offered a choice of a menu or a buffet. Hannah chose menu while Matt chose buffet. Both were incorrect choices. Hannah, fearing that the ‘chicken’ she’d been served would eliminate the possibility of cycling for a few days, pushed her food around the plate and ate some of the rice not touching the chicken or the bland neon yellow sauce pretending to lemon flavoured.
Turns out included in the price of the food was the entertainment of the husband and wife proprietors arguing in Mandarin with one another while an inebriated patron provided and alternative voice over commentary to what he believed the couple were loudly arguing about.
After what felt like a long day despite short mileage we returned to our campsite and headed to bed.
What we hadn’t quite factored in when looking at our route across Canada or really any route across Canada is that the roads very closely follow the railway and in fact most towns are centred around the tracks. Unlike in the UK, trains here have little consideration for the noise they create in the dark and our second night camping on the mainland was much like our first: loud.