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Steve’s Blog – July 2 – Eden – Penticton to Summit of Anarchist Mountain

The day off did us a world of good and Jim and I are back to 100%. In fact, maybe a little more.  We are both getting stronger.

Today, Mike Snetsinger left our troupe to return home. He drove out to BC with Mike and Darlene, and quickly became indispensable as a driver, helper and hilarious travelmate. We wish you were here now, Mike 3, and if not now, soon.

I will long remember this cycling day.

Every cyclist has a road or two that they have ridden and record in their memory.  This memory is used as a motivator – a happy place – when needed, like when sitting on a bike trainer in their basement in February. The road between Penticton and Osoyoos is one of the prettiest bicycle roads that I have encountered, and is now such a memory for me.   Dramatic cut-away rock faces to the left and Lakes Skaha and Vaseux to the right, the road follows the shoreline tightly, has silky smooth shoulders that are neat and clean, and a smattering of talented cyclists, some in training for the Penticton Iron Man. The route is utterly unique; an uninterrupted blanket of fertile Edenic bounty in the valley, and aride New Mexico desert along the neighbouring slopes. You won’t find this stark, naturally occurring contrast anywhere else, with desert and mountain flowers growing out of the same rootball.   So, you would think that I would have 100 pictures of this memorable route. Well, since there was also a tailwind, we were just flying too fast and having too much fun to even think of stopping. With an avg speed of over 30 km/hr for this 60 km rolling hills route, I am still smiling.

Next, we rode 10 km up a steep hill to view “spotted lake”, a mysterious natural phenomenon. After reviewing the signage on site (none), looking over literature from the Osoyoos Visitors Centre (none), and using the available wifi to research this phenomenon online (none), I still have no idea what causes the discs of minerals to form this way.  Everything that we do know about this Lake, we learned from a guy while standing in line at Ribfest. There are only two lakes like this in the world – one here, and one in Siberia. This one is closer. 

Time for a challenge. The route out of Osoyoos is legendary. The ride up Anarchist Mt (named by a local settler who figured ‘his mountain, his rules’) is a gentle 4% slope, but unrelenting for over 20 km, with a vertical rise of over 1km. This is a lung buster and, apparently, a rotator cuff/ shoulder wrecker, as I spend the night hobbled and in excruciating pain. More on this tomorrow.

Mere feet from Anarchist summit is our RV park for the night, aptly named Summit RV Park. I haven’t really mentioned our accommodations thus far, but this is an exception. Owners Marcus and Lori are intent on creating a lasting community here, and they do so with uncommon friendliness and charisma. We are greeted with water on arrival, taken on an amazing ATV tour of the heights of the property, and invited to an ‘all guests’ fire pit chat.  Marcus reports that, for many reasons, this slope receives the most sunlight of any place in Canada, a fact that he will soon be capitalizing on with solar panels and an elaborate turbine pump system. This has been the only accommodations thus far where the proprietors have even had a conversation with us, much less offered friendship. If you are in this area and need a place to stay, this should be on your itinerary. Summit RV Resort6075 BC-3, Rock Creek, BC V0H 1Y0 (250) 533-1111https://g.co/kgs/MztGDh

Onwards and downwards.

2 Responses

  1. Hey Steve, sounds like a fantastic ride! I’m so glad that you find yourself “in the moment” and happy as you cycle, despite some pain and the mental challenges of a long uphill. And to imagine there was no god to watch over you on that mountain! 😉 You capture it all eloquently.

  2. Dear Mr Waters, or is it actually my old friend Ms. Fir, with whom I am speaking.

    Lucy, thank you for your spirited support, and observations of my riding focus. I think about a great many things while I ride, including the good that surrounds us. Perhaps you can join us on a future foray.

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Why We Are Doing it

You have probably heard of Parkinson’s Disease. You may even know people who suffer from it.  Get used to it, as Parkinson’s Disease is the world’s fastest growing neurological condition, set to double in number by 2040.

Parkinson’s Disease occurs when the brain’s dopamine-producing cells die prematurely. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter necessary for many functions of the brain and body, including muscular control, and its loss affects all forms of movement and balance, as well as non-motor functions such as memory, concentration and motivation.  Think of dopamine as the electricity in an electric car: without it, the lights dim and the wheels stop spinning.

There is currently no cure, no bio-markers to aid detection, and little is known about how it is triggered, except that Canadians are disproportionately afflicted

Most people living with Parkinson’s reduce or even discontinue regular intensive physical activity after their Parkinson’s diagnosis.  Why?  Their actual skills and abilities do not suddenly evaporate on the date of their diagnosis, though their mental fortitude often does.  As a result, many abandon the very restorative health practices, such as regular exercise, when they are needed the most.  For people with Parkinson’s, intensive exercise can boost energy, sharpen the mind, elevate spirits and keep the body mobile.  Studies indicate that intense exercise can help train the Parkinson’s afflicted brain to use dopamine more efficiently and be able to do more with less.

Let’s use the dopamine we have to build the lives we want.

What are We Doing

Canada is a big country.  It is home to over 100,000 people living with Parkinson’s disease, 9 in 10 of which suffer in silence, isolation, or without the support of a knowledgeable organization or community.  Starting in June 2022, we aim to cross our big country by bicycle to meet as many of these people as possible to personally deliver this message: get moving to stay moving.  

We start In Victoria, British Columbia and ride east through every Canadian province, and hundreds of cities and towns along the way.  Our route is approximately 8,000 km, and we expect to average 125 km a day, six days a week for approximately three months.  Our Spinning Wheels Tour team will include two riders with Parkinson’s Disease, as well as two ride-along supporters to keep things moving.  Along the way, we will be meeting with people whose lives are touched by Parkinson’s, and encourage them to get moving with us, get engaged in support communities, and to set up their own group athletics.

We are not athletes, just people with the resolve to do what it takes to live well with this disease, and to encourage others..  

Along the way, we hope to hear these words, “If they can do it, I can too.”