Zunoquad Squad Cycles the Kettle Valley Railroad Trail (4)

May 24

After two days of rain and overcast, the morning broke with sun over the lake. Steven went for a cold water swim and shave. Ian received a phone message that Rob was feeling better and would spend time touring the Kootenays by car before rejoining us back in Princeton.

Puddles on the trail deepened, but after Murray endured one wet spill we learned that in low gear bikes are navigable in water. At Summit Lake the uphill grade (never more than 1.9% on the long ascent) levels and we looked forward to the predicted grand scenery of Myra Canyon. Steven was pedaling as happily as a five year old on his first bike, when suddenly his left pedal and crank fell off and landed in the sand. He yelled in protest at this new reverse. The crew gathered round, and Ian, our official bike mechanic”he’d been a fisherman for 7 years”looked for the correct Allen wrench in the kit provided with the bike to tighten the bolt that had fallen out and released the crank. It was missing. The pliers of a Leatherman served as a provisional substitute to tighten the dropped bolt and those on Peter’s bike which had also loosened.

On the flat ground puddles got more challenging. Just as he was emerging from the longest and deepest, Steven fell over cursing. The crank had fallen off again, and now the bolt was lost in the freezing muddy water. A long wait for the sediment to settle and an extensive search, including Murray’s naked groping on hands and knees, didn’t yield the essential piece, so once again we were stymied. John carved a wooden wedge to substitute for the bolt, but it fell out after a couple of minutes’ use. Andy called the bike shop in Princeton and, with a less ingratiating tone than John’s, convinced Jim Harrison to make the four hour trip to bring a replacement bike and meet us at the next junction with the road at Myra, about four kilometers ahead. He didn’t ask Jim to bring food.

Then Peter thought of the improbable shift of towing Steven’s bike, body and baggage. Andy connected his saddle column to Steven’s front fork with twenty feet of rope and lo, it worked. Without complaint and any apparent extra exertion he pulled his disabled passenger to the Myra junction no slower than the rest of the group. There we waited for Jim, some of us unpacking and scouting out the Canyon ahead, while Andy found a campsite with a great view of Kelowna and Okanagan Lake. Jim finally arrived, dressed in mechanic’s apron with a substitute bike on top of his smoking little Tracker, tools to tighten Peter’s cranks, and an unexpected two six packs of beer.

We dried drenched clothes in the large fire ring at the edge of the burn area that encompassed Myra Canyon, and then John cooked up the last of the rice and vegetables. A call ahead to our next destination, Chute Lake Lodge, revealed that they were not serving meals because of an employee shortage. John came to the rescue. He was planning to leave the group early to attend a conference two days later at Whistler. He said he’d distribute his baggage among us in the morning, ride through the Canyon, peddle down the road to his mother’s place in Kelowna, load up on groceries and drive back up to meet us at the junction beyond the canyon. We went to sleep comforted.

The wiki for this excursion can be found here. The Flickr Photoset is here.

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