B4B 2015 – Day 2 – The Remote West Coast

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B4BBreakfast

Daniel Loucks loves the outdoors and often blogs about his adventures. He joined the Bike for Bibles (B4B) Centennial Ride in 2006 (which took cyclists from Vancouver, BC to St John’s, NL) but only went as far as Canmore, Alberta. In 2015, Daniel returned to B4B, this time as a roadie and photographer. In this blog series, Daniel gives us a glimpse of what transpires during a week-long ride, through the eyes of a roadie. 


August 3, 2015

Day 2 was the first of three insanely early get-aways on the trip. Having slept like a log outside on a ThermaRest and cozy sleeping bag, it was nice to wake up to an ocean view and a fabulous home-spun breakfast (check out photo above!).

B4BCoffeeShop

Coffee seems to have a universal appeal to travellers for good reason. This cozy little cafe, and one outside Campbell River that I stopped at a few days later, is literally on a highway in the middle of nowhere! Unfortunately, it was not open yet, but it was a good rest-stop as the riders were in the middle of a big climb shortly out of Sooke. One of the riders said the mountain to that point was a 14% gradient.

Monday, our second day on the road, could easily be split into two parts: the morning ride along the Island’s west coast rainforest in a cold rain, and the climb up and over the interior mountains through Cowichan Lake into Duncan under sunny, warm skies.

Driving out of Sooke was an awesome experience because we were going through the coastal rainforest which is part of the Juan De Fuca (JDF) Trail and JDF Provincial Park. Giant Hemlock, Douglas fir and red cedar fill the land from Sooke north to Port Renfrew and further. They make Ontario’s trees seem small by comparison.

Fog, drizzle, rugged terrain, and slippery roads all added to the challenge for our intrepid cyclists, while also providing challenging conditions for the group photographer – me! I had set up shop on a hillside just above the highway for the photo shoot. This was at the pinnacle of a long 8%-grade climb, and I would have been able to see the Pacific Ocean if it were not so foggy.

Soon we came into Port Renfrew, which is the end of the JDF hiking trail and the start of the famous West Coast Trail. After a quick break, we continued into the interior, over the mountains, which included a vicious 3 km-long switchback ascent. By the time we reached our lunch break, it felt like another day and another world: the sun was now out in full strength and the coastal rainforest was miles behind us (and to the cyclists it undoubtedly felt like miles below them!).

Through the Island Interior

This was a complete transformation weather-wise, and everyone was, of course, happy to see the sun. About two-thirds of the week’s climbing took place this particular morning, with most of the remainder on Friday between Powell River and Gibsons.

It really was a dramatic change from just an hour earlier. The road was only a secondary road, and in certain places it seemed to be just an old logging road. The magnificent scenery definitely made up for the road conditions. We climbed steadily to the little pass where we had lunch, and then it was generally long, sweeping descents to Cowichan, and relatively flat from there out to Duncan, where a fabulous barbecue was being provided by New Life Church.

The team at New Life was a great example of the wonderful and generous people that host Bike for Bibles events throughout Canada. They are enthusiastic, skilled chefs –  grill maestros – and happy to have dozens of tired people stay over for the night! We are always very, very grateful to their dedication, friendliness, and last but absolutely not least, their ability to provide tasty meals!

In this case, for myself, that meal included one incredible barbecued salmon burger!

B4BIslandInterior

Day 2 - Cyclists on the road    Vancouver Island scenes    Refuelling    On the road again!    Taking a break in the middle of nowhere    On the road again!    On the road again!

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About the Author:

Dan lives in Kitchener, ON. As a true outdoors enthusiast, Dan does not miss an opportunity to visit new places and see new things. He shares about his experiences on his blog site, The Lily Dipper.

 

 

 

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