Day 4 started with us heading back to Tim Hortons for breakfast this time. Matts knee was still not better and we were now a little worried about how the rest of the trip would go. Matt text his physio, Lou, who from a Scottish athletics event very kindly video called us as we stood outside Timmy’s to discuss the issue. Reassured that the knee pain would be alleviated with more stretching Matts mood instantly lifted.
This was now the second time in less than 24 hours we had fuelled for this 60km climb so we thought we better get on and do it.
The way the climb had been described you would have thought we were going to be going up the Rocacorba or Bealach Na Bà for hours on end. Now don’t get me wrong going from sea level to almost 1400m is hard going but it was by no means the 5 hour climb we had been told it would be. We reached the top in a respectable 3 hours, passing a campsite half way up that the locals, the book nor google maps had informed us about. When we reached the top both of us agreed that we could have made that the previous evening or at least to the camp ground half way up. Lesson for us that people’s perceptions of things are just that; perceptions and you have to go with what you feel is achievable for you.
Nevertheless when we got to the top we were quite proud of our efforts and our legs. We stopped at the restaurant in the resort/campground we were aiming for the previous day for a spot of lunch. The resort itself was an oddity that Matt couldn’t quite get his head around. It was quite literally in the middle of nowhere on one of the lesser highways through the mountains, likely cut off in the winter, yet the staff were all young foreigners, mainly Australian. We couldn’t work out how or why an Australian could end up in a tiny resort out here. One of the girls who served us had lived there for 2 years and was only leaving because of visa issues, honestly 2 weeks there would have seen us crawling the walls.
The main attraction to the resort for us was the Colombian Ground Squirrels and a bit like the Aussies, we wondered how on earth they had gotten here or adapted to the harsh Canadian winters.
We shared our lunch with them while Matt talked me down from stealing one and taking it on our trip as a mascot. After accepting that they probably had a better life at the resort with tourists feeding them than we could give one on the road we gave them the last of our sweet potato fries and headed off.
The next 30km section of our cycle was down hill, which at that altitude meant putting some layers on for. Whilst the sun was warm, the wind on the descent was not.
Climb number two of the day was shorter, only about 15km but it was steeper and the legs were starting to feel the effects of the 60km morning climb. Once we had reached the top we knew we had a fairly easy ride down into the next town. Well, easy ride down would be how Matt would describe it, I would describe it as something more treacherous. One descent consisted of dropping 500m in 6km. Steep under normal circumstances but when it’s a newly paved road and they haven’t put the safety barriers back up, steep looks a whole lot steeper.
Matt loving life, recorded the descent whilst I gripped my handlebars and my brakes for dear life watching with horror as Matt negotiated the steep descent with one hand and no brake.
By the time we got down to the next town it was getting close to 7pm. We thought about stopping here for the night but realising we had cut our day short yesterday we wanted to get another 40km under the belt so pushed on to the next campsite. A gentle downhill gradient and the wind on our backs meant the next 40km flew by and we arrived at our destination before dark.
We were hungry after a long day on the bike but after being told there were no restaurants around we cracked into our emergency ration packets...yum!
Up until that point neither of us had paid much attention to the other campers in our campsites/there were also so few that there wasn’t much to see but as this was our first weekend night in a campsite there were a few more people around and we indulged in everyone’s guilty past time of people watching.
Having not spent much time in UK campsites, we cannot profess to know if this is a North American trait or a universal one but it seems like there’s an unspoken one-up-man-ship going on in the campsite we were in. As in, who had the biggest camper, or who had the biggest camper pulling the biggest pick up truck, or worse yet who had the biggest camper, pulling the biggest pick up truck containing the biggest quad bike.
We were the only people in the entire campsite in a tent and as all the other campers sat around discussing the features of their R.V.’s, drinking beer and feasting on something they had made in their kitchens, we sat quite literally in the corner of the campsite eating rations next to the one obviously hired R.V. containing a lovely German couple. And right then the worlds smallest violin started to play a tune just for us 😉