54.92 Miles; Crowsnest Pass to Fernie, British Columbia
We have a hotel booked in Fernie tonight and a planned zero day for tomorrow - a bed is calling after days of cold and rain so we awake early and head out on the highway. After riding across plains and headwinds, it feels monumental to be entering back into the black hulks and green draperies of the northern Rocky Mountains. Large gray boulders and the sheen of decades-old rockslides grinding faces of peaks dab our peripherals. The shoulder is good and we make time across slung-valleys sharply green.
Midmorning we arrive at a large lake where we pull up and eat some snacks. Three rock climbers stop to talk to us about the area. They had competed in the ultra the day before and were now heading into the mountains for a few days of climbing. They offered up some vegan, homemade granola bars which in turn we relished. The climbers detail us about the location of the largest cave in North America nearby - here in the Canadian Rockies. Their eyes alight with a sense of passion and place that only makes me appreciate the landscape even more.
Back on tarmac, the hours slip by bringing us to the famous Tour Divide stop of Sparwood. Jann and I zip over immediately to see Titan - the largest ruck in the world. Titan was used for mining extensively before being retired as a local attraction (a singular truck takes singular components that were too expensive to upkeep/produce with economy of scale). We head into a grocery and get a ton of fruit which hits the spot.
By midafternoon we arrive in Fernie, concluding that is an awesome town! The bike culture is strong and visible. We head over to Straightline Bikes due to the absolutely incessant creaking/clicking in my bottom bracket after that powerspray rainstorm a few days ago. The mechanic strips everything from the cranks and BB, wipes down, regreases, and reassembles it all on the spot. The clicking is gone - any water that worked its way in there is now out. I profusely thank them; the shop regals us with stories of all the Tour Divide racers who recently came through prior to the snow storm a week or so ago and ended up needing rescued south of town. This forced overextension of the local SAR and there was definitely some local frustration over that. We swing by a grocery in town to grab some food for dinner before making our way to the Stanford Hotel on the other end of town. The weather is great, but we settle in for some rest and showers.