View our route in a larger map

That's family!

I got up this morning to another beautiful morning. I was so cozy in my sleeping bag, and the air was so nice and fresh that I didn't want to get up, but we had to meet up with Travis today so we could get started on the West Coast Trail. I was a bit sore this morning, but after walking around a bit it went away.As we were cycling along the highway, everyone was warning us about the Malahat - a mountain just south of Mill Bay. I guess it was because we were so mentally prepared for it, but it didn't seem too difficult. Sure, it was relatively steep and fairly long, but it didn't seem to compare to those summits near Port Alberni. Going down the mountain was a beauty. Steady downhills that lasted a long time. As we were heading in to Langford, the trees grew thick around us, and there was a gorge along the highway that was very beautiful and scenic. For the first time since we landed, it rained... only for 20 minutes, but I was forgetting that I was in BC with the lack of rain we've lucked out on.
We arrived in Saanich to meet up with Travis at his brother's place by 3:30 pm. His brother, Derek, is on the National Rowing Team, and he was planning on having a bunch of naitonal team guys over for a bbq and a celebration since they figured out who will make the team for Worlds through a tough regiment of seat racing. When they figured out that Travis and Derek were brothers, they kept on saying "Oh man, that's family"; and when they found out that Nicole and I were twins, they extended that to everything. Shotgunning bear (opening it with a huge knife or teeth) - that's family; tossing around a cantaloupe and taking bites out of it after it cracks open - that's family. They were an absolute riot!

It was also pretty cool that they told us that were were intense for doing this trip. I mean, here are monsters of human beings, who wake up super early and row three times a day, six days a week, and some of them already have gold medals from the 2008 Olympics, telling us that we were hardcore. It was a pretty cool feeling.

Fun facts, stats and lessons learned

Distance travelled today: 82.08 km

Total distance travelled: 332.08 km

Starting point: Chemainus River Campground, in Chemainus.

Our Route: Took Highway 1 all the way to Helmcken Road in View Royale, which turned into Wilkinson Road, and then went North on Highway 17 and turned off on Haliburton road, where Derek resides. All roads have decent shoulders, except when passing through Duncan, and on Helmcken/Wilkinson where the bike path seemed to start and end at every block.

Ending point: Derek O'Farrell's place, in Saanich.

  • Malahat summit is 352 m.
  • We biked to the grocery store after taking all our gear off. The bike felt as unstable as the first time we put on the gear.

Day 6

We started off the morning with a 5:30am alarm. I apparently didn't even hear the alarm go off, and Michael pressed the snooze. We ended up actually getting up just past 6am and were on the road by 8:30. Our plan was to make it all the way to Victoria by mid afternoon. From Nanaimo onwards people were telling us that it was a decent ride except for the Malahat. Everyone warned us about the Malahat mountains and said how big of a climb it would be etc. Therefore, we were a little nervous, having just done a day of hills the day before yesterday, we knew how hilly Vancouver Island could be. But that being said, we also figured it couldn't be worse than the roads leaving Tofino because the Malahat was a more populated area and therefore, there would be more room, and less steep inclines (this is what we were telling ourselves before getting to the Malahat). Turns out it wasn't so bad after all! It was about a 5km steady uphill, followed by a continuous downhill (and fairly downhill into Victoria....with some ups and downs). We definitely built it up so much (from all the warnings) that we definitely expected much worse. I don't know if I would be saying it wasn't so bad if we didn't have all those warnings though...
It was a beautiful morning and a really hot mid day! The sun was beating down on us (as it was yesterday in Nanaimo) and although we were wearing a lot of spf45 sunscreen, both Michael and I are nice and red. On the other side of the Malahat, it started raining (and we thought, this is more like what we expected, and dreaded from Vancouver Island). We put on some of our rain gear, which kept us very comfortable (we didn't feel it was hard enough rain to pull out all our waterproof pants etc). But the rain was weird. It just suddenly started, and then suddenly stopped. And once we passed the area it stopped, the roads were instantly dry. It was like it only rained in that one spot that we unfortunately had to pass through.
Because of our technical difficulties with the stove last night, we didn't want to take the chance and start it up on the road again, so for most of the day our snack consisted of carrots (which we polished off), and raisins (since we bought SO many!). Turns out, after getting into Victoria, Michael and Travis had another look at it and it was working fine, so who knows what the deal was!
It was a nice ride, and we ended up doing 82.08km today, with a whapping total of 332.08km from Tofino to Travis' brother Derek's in Victoria! We got here by mid afternoon, as we hoped, and had an amazing ride and are looking forward to starting our trip with Travis! Both Michael and I have slightly sore knees and tight thighs (and I definitely have) sore shoulders (when cycling you are supposed to relax your shoulders, but with all the gear, if we relax too much, we swerve into traffic!). Oddly enough, my right hand is still tingling. I have bad circulation in my hands and feet and sometimes when I ride my toes fall asleep (which happened only a few times on this ride, but for the most part was alright!), and my hands (usually my thumbs, esp my right thumb for whatever reason) feels like it's falling asleep. For whatever reason, it happened again yesterday (around the time the rain hit), and it still feels off. Hopefully it's better tomorrow or in the next few days!!!
For dinner, the three of us decided to head down to the grocery store to get some steak and then over to get some local beer. Without all our gear loaded up on the bikes, Michael and I found our bikes were actually wobbly! It was almost the complete opposite sensation of when we put our gear on the bikes for the first time (which felt like going on our bike for the first time! didn't think i could do it at first!)! We quickly got used to it again, but it felt so light! It was weird. But after dinner, a bunch of Derek's team came over (he's on the national rowing team, which is wicked!). It was funny to hear national rowers (some of whom have gone to world cups, olympics and even the podium) say how impressive our trip is! We think what they do is unbelievable and with all the training etc they do, we didn't expect them to be impressed with our journey! We had a great night and want to thank Derek and his roommates for having us over!