We woke up in beautiful Hope to pouring rain and sore bodies from the previous day… Myself and Ryan were both on 5 hours of sleep after playing Charades all night with the Hope Firefighting crew that so graciously took us into their home(Tim and Phil are legends)… Scotty was named team captain of the day, as we anticipated his leadership would be crucial for us to conquer Alison’s pass, which is by far the most ruthless climb of the trip… In typical Scotty fashion, we had to spend 30 minutes at Timmy Ho’s prior to departure so that he could finish his Green Tea…
With the late departure due to Scotty demanding his green tea, we were off and biking approximately at 9:30… SO the grind known as Alison’s pass had begun…. After an initial 17KM steady climb, with me threatening to turn around and go back to Hope if I didn’t get my PowerBar fix, and festival Neville cruising at a pace of an 80 year old, we celebrated at what we thought was the summit of Alison’s pass.. We began high-fiving and taking way to many unnecessary pictures of something that ended up being a foothill compared to the real Alison’s pass. For the first time on the trip Ryan was dead quiet and didn’t say a word for a good 45 minutes. .
Morale was definitely down through parts of the ride, and I don’t think me singing: “We’re not going to make it” to a lovely tune was the best way of getting the boys inspired again…. The climbs were ruthless, but we were continuously astonished by the massive mountains, wildlife and in general the beauty that B.C has to offer. We even saw our first Black Bear of the trip, which was short-lived, as a tourist quickly pulled-over for a picture and scared it off … However, this wasn’t our last run in with a bear.
About an hour later and halfway up Alison’s pass we had vehicles driving past us yelling that there was a bear about 2KM up… In typical Mackinnon fashion and with the aggressive team captain Scotty at the helm we decided to push forward. To our surprise a kilometer later we met a solo German cyclist who had been stuck on the side of the road for the last hour as passing motorists had warned him of the very large black bear 1KM around the corner as well. He quickly asked us experienced lumberjack Canadians for advice, Immediately Sean Neville informed him that “Black Bears were Harmless” and we ventured onwards. Somehow, no fault of our own the German tourist ended up leading us up the road towards the black bear. When we rounded the corner the bear was right along the side of the road we were riding on. The German now thinking black bears were harmless, rode slowly up to the bear with Scotty trailing close behind him. The German pulled up short about 20 feet from the bear, holding his knife in one hand, his bear spray cocked and loaded in the other and his bear whistle jammed between his teeth, when the bear noticed that the German was there it did nothing and resumed grazing. The German then began blowing profusely his bear whistle, and screaming “Hey Bear”, within seconds the clearly irritated bear had taken three to four aggressive, large, jumping steps and was within 7 feet off the German. Bearing his teeth and bouncing on his hind legs.
In milliseconds, Captain Scotty who had been hiding behind our new German friend had sprinted with his bike across the highway, dodging through oncoming traffic and proceeded to lose one of his Panniers(bags attatched on our bikes). Our German friend had also scrambled down the hill with his whistle and bear spray in hand. Scotty was in the middle of the road fixing his Pannier, Neville had bolted across the street and uphill to take pictures and Ryan was 40 meters downhill trying to climb up a tree! As an onlooker I can honestly say seeing Scotty scurry across the road like a lost puppy made my life. After all of the commotion and the near Bear attack we continued up Alison’s pass laughing the whole way and mocking Scotty for his actions… This event might have saved us because we FINALLY made it up the 1342 meter summit and celebrated as we did 3 hours earlier!
As we made it down to Manning Park by about 4:00pm, Captain Scotty decided to use his Veto power and have us push another 80km to Princeton telling us it was all downhill… The worst decision of the day was not stripping Scotty of his Captainship and staying in Manning Park… We decided to push through and for the first 15 km it was downhill, we were laughing and telling stories and then all of a sudden the road flattened out… This is when the 15km incline began that Scotty forgot to mention… Neville did what he always does when he’s angry: swear, Ryan did what he always does when he is angry: not talk, and I pushed forward with my positive, fun-loving attitude… Let’s just say that my attitude quickly changed within 30 minutes of a steady climb.. After about another 45 minutes I had little energy left and was fading fast, just waiting for the next break to smash about 3 cliff bars… Finally, when Captain Scotty decided to break 20 minutes later I was running on nothing but fumes and was coasting to the peak of Sunday Summit when Neville, who was 100 meters ahead of me, was snapping pictures of us reaching the peak and proceeded to catch me in a happy state reaching the summit and then bailing off my bike milliseconds later… I can’t honestly tell you what hurt more, the crash off of the bike or the boys running around high-fiving and laughing hysterically! I did however get my pay-back. Around 15 km’s down the road we finally got the downhill slide to Princeton that Scotty promised. During this final decline, after spotting a herd of deer in a field I yelled up to Ryan who was a couple hundred meters ahead to check them out. Ryan astounded by these beautiful creatures glanced to his left and merged into a soft sandy shoulder where his tail slid out. Ry ended up super-manning off the side of his bike and it was my time to laugh and high five.
We were reminded of Baha’s countless falls and his always positive attitude!
We finally made it to the beautiful town of Princeton B.C at about 7:30pm after about 10 hours of biking and we are still alive! After some crashes, run ins with bears, Captain Scotty’s questionable decisions, and Ryan’s oddly quiet behaviour, we are positive that this will be the most difficult leg of the trip and it can only get better from here! Cheers from Brother Rusty!