CASCADE SUMMITS CYCLE – The Tour de Sweat by Dave Grant
After talking about this ride for most of the spring, I posted this trip as an invitation to complete the 62 km cycle from Rossland to Christina Lake over the old Cascade Highway. Informally know in Rossland as the “Tour de Sweat” because of the 4200 vertical ft climb over 2 mountain passes on gravel road, this trip tests both the physical and mental commitment of the rider, because of the long slow gradient up the two passes.
I eventually got a total of 6 riders to participate and at 9:00 a.m., we set off from the Rossland mining museum and up the Cascade highway. The weather was sunny and warm and the first leg of the trip to the Cascade Summit was completed in 1.5 hrs. After dropping 2400 vertical ft into the Big Sheep creek valley, we left one member to visit friends, while the remaining 5 started up the second leg to the Christina Summit. This is a 15 km leg, with a 3100 ft elevation gain, not extremely steep, but consistent. The hard part was that members who got off and walked their bikes were travelling as fast as those that stayed on and peddled up the grade. Quite a shock to our mental image that we were riding fast up the hills.
We reached Christina Summit at 2:40 p.m. (well all of us except for Roy, who beat us to the top by 40 minutes….I had heard that KMCer’s get faster after they hit 70. Turns out that it’s true). We then enjoyed the 3800 ft vertical drop into Christina Lake and other than a close up discussion with a rapidly moving errant mule deer, it was an uneventful and very quick descent, with us reaching the vehicle at 3:40 p.m.
Special thanks to Jan Micklethwaite for arranging the vehicle shuttle that made this all possible. We were Roy Hopland, Mike McMann, Dave Cunningham, Peter Oostlander, Pat Simms and Dave Grant, co-ordinator.