My beautiful daughter died from CF in March 2010 and I am riding in GearUp4CF this year in her memory.

Eva was a fighter and inspiration to all that knew her. In 2008 I rode in GearUp4CF to celebrate her successful recovery from a double lung transplant that allowed Eva to once again live her life to the fullest. Only months after the surgery, she joined the team in Invermere, painting our faces and cheering us on with her pom-poms in her self-appointed role as chief cheerleader.

This year I will be 65 years old on the ride. That is why I am calling this ride 65 for65Roses; partly because of my age, partly because 65 Roses is a malapropism of Cystic Fibrosis, partly because my daughter’s blog was called 65 RedRoses, and also because I hope to reach the very lofty goal of raising $65,000.

Training to ride for 1200 km over multiple mountain passes to Banff will be very difficult; raising these funds will be just as much of a challenge. Here is where I need your help. Please donate to my ride and help contribute to Eva’s legacy to raise critical funds for CF research and awareness.

Saturday 28 June 2014

Day 6 GearUp4CF Rossland to Creston- The Kootenay Summit

Bill's glitzy cycling shoes
Every rider has one segment that throws a little fear in the heart. for some it is the Allison Pass out of Hope as it is two climbs back to back. For others it is Anarchist Mountain, coming as it does before you are warmed up. For me it was the Paulson Summit this year. But the Salmo Creston ride over the Kootenay Pass causes major concern for many riders as it is a 23km climb from less than 600 metres to 1750 metres of elevation without a break in between. The profile  looks like a patient's chart whose fever has spiked. It is also the highest paved roadway in Canada.

We start with a glorious but serious descent from Rossland to Trail as we shed 900 metres in less than 10 km. at around a 10% grade. The road hairpins down the mountain past the Trail Smokeater hockey arena (a world champion hockey team in the 50's) and finally passes below the smelter and across the Columbia River bridge. My Garmin unit packed it in and went on auto pause at 70 km/hour and so I have no stats on speed etc. except that Pual Underhill who did pass me clocked 83/km/hour. I think it lost satellite reception because the mountains pass in so tight as some of the other rider's units also went on the fritz. You have to be careful in th hairpins as it is a major highway and there are trucks that ascend this road bellowing away as they grind up the slope.

From Trail we head South down river until we start our climb of the Columbia Valley and into the towns of Montrose and then Fruitvale. This climb gains us 200 metres which we basically hold onto all the way to the base of the Kootenay Pass. Of course as soon as you see the sign "border crossing ahead" that means turn left and let's climb another mountain so the highway can stay in Canada. We  had our lunch break at the base and so fortified people left in little groups to ascend the pass. Again I started with John and Joan and we covered the first 6-8 km together. From then I was on my own. Over the course of the climb I went by a few more riders who were taking the odd break. More interesting, Tom, Patrick and Andrea passed me in the opposite direction as they descended the mountain as they are all doing a double ascent. More interesting yet, Patrick passed me on the way up again as he was completing his double. Tom told me later that it was not the best decision of the day for him!

Bill at the top
The weather worsened on the way up and just as I crested the rain started in earnest. I was quite surprised to see the volunteers huddling under their umbrellas in the 6 degree mountain weather when there was a fine warmup cabin not 100 feet away beside the lake. They had not used it in the past but on investigation the door was open there was wood inside and the old scoutmaster in me came out and a fire was soon blazing away.A perfectly timed moose also passed by the window and swam across the lake. Once we took the obligatory summit shots Joan, John and I began our long and uneventful descent down the rain soaked highway to Creston. Surprisingly about two thirds of the way down the rain stopped and the roads dried up. Mountain weather.

Sydney & her sister
In Creston we met up with my nephew Stephen Brine, his wife Laura and their two kids Max and Nash, who live in Kimberley. They will ride to Cranbrook with us tomorrow while Janet minds the kids. Also we met a CF family who wanted to meet us because of their connection to Eva through her blog 5 years ago. Sydney  was 5 at the time and their family knew no one with CF in their local community so when they came upon Eva's blog through the 65RedRoses movie it was a revelation and a huge support. Sydney sent a beautiful letter at the time which I read out at Eva's Celebration of Life. Yesterday she drew a picture of Eva holding Walker the family dog (which actually belongs to our neighbours ). We had a great visit and George Keulen also visited to show Sydney and her mum Stacey that so much is possible even with CF. So this trip is not only about cycling it is so much more!

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