An update on how the preparation is progressing…I did a training ride from Haines, AK to Skagway, AK via Canada (i.e. Haines Junction, Whitehorse). I was pressed for time, so there was no rest day. Rode 585km in 8 days with the last day into Skagway being the longest (106km).
A small writeup:
25th May, Day 1: Ferry leaves 45mins late at 0745. Reached Haines at 1130. Took a while to repack my stuff once I got off the ship. Started riding at 1250. It was clear from the start that with all the gear on my back, I would be struggling with saddle soreness. It was easier to mount and ride than I thought. Made great speed the first 2 hours. Reached 33 Mile Roadhouse at 1730. Got some fries and a beer. Because I got that, they allowed me to camp for free on the disc golf course. I did that. 59km cycled today (most I’ve done since 2009).
26th May, Day 2: Up by 0600. Left at 0825. Got the 7 miles to the border done quickly. Was hoping for a break at the border but I was done in 30 secs. When I asked the lady why, she said that I had a visa, so no problem. She also said that the next 20km was hilly (ascending), which I knew, and that since it was spring, the bears were out in large numbers and were hungry.This part of the Yukon also has the highest density of grizzlies. I had to ride the next 20km uphill with 1070m of vertical ascent. It took 2.5 hours. UPD’d once. I made camp at 1600 at the 130km Marker (markers are now in km and not miles). It was a bit windy but ok. 69km cycled today.
27th May, Day 3: Rained during the night but stopped when it was time to wake up. Began riding at 0820. To combat the saddle soreness, I am now wearing both my cycling shorts. Lunch at 12 noon. I wanted to ride to the 210km Marker to make it an easy day tomorrow but stopped at 195, as there was an established campsite at Dezadeash Lake (with other people). 65km ridden today.
28th May, Day 4: Left at 0700. Coldish morning but then it heated up. Took a coffee break 14km from Haines Junction. Reached at 12 noon. The left ankle began to hurt early this morning. The tendon now creaks and is a bit swollen. 53km today.
29th May, Day 5: Left at 0730. Ankle still hurting. Assuming that maybe my saddle is too high, so I lower it. This means more saddle soreness and more stress on the knees. I stop at Otter Falls Roadhouse for a Coke after 32km. Had a hot chocolate break after 62km. Harder to find water today. So, before camp I filled up all my water containers. I stopped at a rest area after 91km at 1700, and camped 50m off the road.
30th May, Day 6: Left at 0800. Began to rain. Got wet. Made it to Whitehorse by 1300. Ankle is properly swollen. Don’t think its the saddle height. Other ankle making noises too. 68km today.
31st May, Day 7: Left at 0730. Both ankles are painful. Cut the ankle part of my shoes off with my knife. I think now that the ankle portion of the shoe is rubbing against the ankle and that is inflaming the tendons. I make the turn onto the Kondike Highway. Made it to Carcross (originally Caribou Crossing) by 1500. 74km today.
1st June, Day 8: Left at 0715. I can make the 106 to Skagway in 1.5 days, as my ferry the next day is at 3pm. But one day is better… Started the day with 2 bad ankles. 20km later, the left knee chimed in. The terrain was undulating. After 32 km, while mounting, I broke a spoke and I don’t have spares. I changed the cranks by 90 degrees to put stress on a different part of the wheel. I then used an allen key to splint the spoke (like one would do to a broken bone) and stuck it with duct tape (all psychological). I hoped for the best as I continued riding but expected the worst i.e. the whole wheel tacoing. Some bus stopped me an hour later. There was a bear on the side of the road. I got my bear spray out and made a lot of noise and rode past it. No fuss. The wind picked up and the terrain was very undulating.Was getting hungry around Km 82. So, stopped for soup. Then a few km later, the downhill began. Raced it. After 94km, I was at the US border. Was there for 40mins. At the 100km mark, my rigging cord got stuck in my cranks and I UPD’d. 6km later, I was done. Pizza and IPA.
In terms of my setup, I rode my KH 36" 2009 with 152mm cranks. I had a rear rack. I am going to add a front rack and a longer bar ends for the saddle soreness. I reckon with all the gear attached to the cycle, I will break more spokes.
Good part of the world to ride in though. Scenic!