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Update: 2 Months After Cycling the Dempster Highway

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 at 10:32 am

Looking back and looking ahead. Well it has been over a couple of months since I returned from my Yukon trip. I have been following the adventures of others on their Dempster rides since my return.

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I last saw Mary England at 4300 feet above sea level and the North Fork Pass. We shared a cup of coffee in the clouds. She did make it all the way to Inuvik some 10 days later while battling high winds and August snow on the Eagle Plains. Cool and wet weather followed her all the way to Inuvik.

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Mark Ooms, of Whitehorse, and a group of guys flew to Inuvik from Dawson in late August. Unfortunately, one in the group had a knee injury that flared up and they had to give up their tour around Fort McPherson. I can certainly understand their disappointment.

I also got a note from Ralph Krauss who drove to Dawson City from Chicago and successfully rode on to Inuvik arriving in early September. The Porcupine caribou herd had started its migration so he was fortunate to see a few hundred caribou and many following grizzly bears.

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I also have been communicating with Dave Cambon from Vancouver. He road his recumbent bike all the way from Vancouver to Inuvik. Check out his story and beautiful fall photos at www.crazyguyonabike.com. He took pictures looking up valleys from basically the same place I stood. What a difference when the smoke clears! Click Here to check out the photos.

I did learn a few good lessons on this ride. Firstly, if there is smoke…delay your trip. I ended up with a nasty lung infection…the consequence of riding when forest fires are around.

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When it comes to packing food, gear and clothing, I think I hit it right on. The Norco Quest was perfect for this trip. A light weight stove and a couple of fuel canisters worked well. A small 2 man tent with an inflatable sleeping pad took up little space. I ate lots of noodles, oatmeal and high protein quinoa and peanut butter. It was hot and dry so I didn’t need the raingear I brought but I would have been thankful to have it for both snow and rain. I took bug and bear spray and didn’t have to use either. I also think it is important to allow days for rest days….to give you body a day to recover.

It is raining in Muskoka and the snow is coming. There may be only a few good riding days before the bike has to go in the basement and on the trainer. We don’t do much winter riding here as there is too much snow and salt on the roads. Cross Country ski season is around the corner and as far a cross training, I can’t think of anything better. It is also a good time to research next year’s trip.

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Looking ahead to next summer….I think a family trip closer to home is in order. South of Montreal in the Eastern Townships of Quebec looks like the destination. Now this is an area that the rest of the country should look for in terms of developing relationships with cyclist. Quebec is miles (or kilometres) ahead of everyone. There are a variety of companies that do the planning for you. Pick your route, transport your gear and offer support throughout. There are a multitude of bike routes to choose from so planning is not that difficult if you intend to camp instead. And if you run into trouble, just call the Taxi-velo. They will pick you up and drive you to your destination. (I don’t recall this service being available on the Dempster.)

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It has been a stellar cycling season for me; lots of cycling firsts and many riding challenges. Some good family and friend tours and my first solo tour. Now the planning for next year begins…..

Cheers,

David

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