Coal Lake Road

5:21 sunrise
22:53 sunset
So on Saturday I wanted to go for a long-ish ride in order to remind myself what 4+ hours on a bike actually feels like. I wouldn’t call it training for the Soggy Bottom per se; something more along the lines of a practice run. One doesn’t exactly start a training regime 2 weeks before an event. But I wanted to put in a long day just to remind myself that I can do it and it’s not that bad.
Good news is that I am still perfectly happy to be on a bike after 6 hours and I could have kept going. I didn’t go anywhere quickly, mind you, but I really am pleased that I know how to settle into being on my bike for several hours. I eat decently, I drink lots of liquids and I have learned how to be patient. I think that’s actually what is important – learn how to just keep moving without really focusing on how far you still have to go. Be persistent but not necessarily rushed. Believe that you will eventually get to the end… as long as you keep turning those pedals.
Last year Sierra, Julie and I tried to complete the Coal Lake to Mt Mac ride but we were foiled by bad weather and some confusion with our (faster) cycling partners who we sent on ahead of us and who then promptly missed a crucial turn. We didn’t complete the ride. This year I was hopeful as it was sunny and warm as the five of us gathered in Monika’s front yard.

But as we set off from her place we heard the rumble of distant thunder. We continued on and as we approached Mt Sima it looked like we were heading right for the one area of darkness.


We stopped at Sima to survey the sky and, well, it didn’t look great. I really didn’t want to be climbing the Coal Lake Road in the rain (just like last year) but it was too late to turn around and we figured that maybe we’d be lucky and miss the rain.


We were wrong.


It rained, quite hard at times, as we climbed up the steep and loose gravel road. I was not very happy. Thankfully, I was not freezing. We all put on an extra layer and continued towards the marker signifying the turn off towards Mt Mac. At this point, the rain had eased off and there were glimpses of sunshine.

So the weather improved, which was awesome, but the terrain continued to be challenging. I’m not sure I would call Coal Lake Road a “ride” as much I would call it a “hike a bike” but heck, it’s still good exercise and good practice for the Soggy Bottom. A lot of the trail that we pushed up was probably ride-able but when your legs are tired sometimes it seems easier to give them a break by walking.


At any rate, we reached the last harsh push up to the Mt Mac towers in less than 4 hours and we sat together to enjoy the gorgeous views of Fish Lake for a few minutes.


Then it was reward time – down the Mt Mac road (which felt like a paved highway after Coal Lake) and over to Goat Trail for a bit of fun and a sunny view of Whitehorse.

I don’t love that trail but I don’t mind the challenge and it was good to do something other than climb for a change. Then suddenly we were back on the Copper Haul Road and it was a quick tour of Quickie and back home.

We rode 53.5km and gained 1308m of elevation. It took us 6.5 hours to complete (although just over 5 hours of pedalling). Translate that into American and you get 33 miles and 4290′. Let’s call it a slightly shorter, climbier, version of a leg of the Soggy Bottom. Here’s the ride. I couldn’t figure out how to upload the data from Ben’s GPS unit, but I grabbed an image of the map showing our route.

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