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Kelowna

Bees, Blessings and Broken Metatarsals.

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Bees, Blessings and Broken Metatarsals.

Sometimes I love my job. Correction. All times I love my job.

Let me tell you what I've been up to. So, first, there's the broken foot. Yes, I broke the 5th metatarsal bone in my foot on a tour in mid-June. So - needless to say - my cycling has been seriously curtailed as I hobble around with a cast and crutches. But all is not lost. I've been using my recuperation time to work on putting together our day tours. And that has been wonderful.

Every G.O. Tour has an incredible amount of research and planning go into them. For our Locally Sourced, Locally Cycled: East Kelowna tour, I do an interview with each of our tour partners, learning more about their history, their passion and the unique stories they have to tell. I think of each tour as a documentary you ride through, weaving all those stories together into an cohesive narrative. I work with the tour's curator and co-designer - in this case the exceptionally talented Mark Filatow, the executive chef and culinary brains behind the perpetually renowned Waterfront Wines - to carefully craft an experience that will immerse you in what we love about this place where we live.

The most rewarding part of this process is making the connections with some wonderfully talented and genuinely nice people - people like Helen Kennedy at Arlo's Honey Farm. I don't know about you, but I always love hearing about the unexpected twists and turns of fate that led a person to where they currently are. Helen never planned on becoming a beekeeper, yet here we were - on an warm Okanagan summer day, chatting as the birds and the bees literally buzzed around us. Helen gave me a condensed master class in apiculture (the art of honey making) and at the end of our hour, I was much the wiser for it.

Helen and I chatting about the birds and the bees - but mostly bees...

Helen and I chatting about the birds and the bees - but mostly bees...

So, that's my job, meeting the nicest people you could ever meet, collecting fascinating stories and weaving them together into a day-long cycling experience. I know - I'm blessed

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CIRI and the KVR

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CIRI and the KVR

CIRI held their annual conference in Kelowna and we were lucky enough to be able to take a group of adventurous cyclists up to Myra Canyon and share the incredible history of the Kettle Valley Railway. The rain held off, the muffins (from Okanagan Grocers Artisan Bakery) were incredible and the group was fantastic. All in all, just another fabulous day here in the Okanagan! See for yourself...

Riding the KVR

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East Kelowna and the Mission

East Kelowna and the Mission

91 km • 1,380 m of ascent (with current climbs included)

I’ve packed a lot of climbing in this route, but it’s easy to edit to match the level of challenge you want. This is a circle route that goes through downtown Kelowna, so it’s a good choice for those staying downtown. I’ve included a climb up Knox Mountain and over the ridge at Wilden to add some extra elevation, but if you chose, you can stick to the Valley bottom and head to the bench lands above Rutland (there is currently road construction where Sexsmith/Old Vernon road crosses Hwy 97, so use caution here). From Rutland, you climb back up to Belgo and ride through the orchards of East Kelowna to June Springs Road. Here, you can test your Strava KOM ambitions on the optional climb up to the end of the pavement (a little over 400 m of ascent). Then, it’s a nice rolling ride over to Lakeshore Drive for an out-and-back along Okanagan Lake, then back to downtown.

Note: my start and stop is from close to where I usually cycle in Wilden. This is good for those that crave uphill sprints at the finish line, but the start and stop can be moved to pretty much anywhere along the route!

Riding Notes

Kilometer 5.5 - this is where you're crossing Highway 97. There will be construction at this intersection for most of 2017, so ride with caution. As of May, it was certainly passable, but with lots of debris on the shoulder of Sexsmith while crossing.

Kilometer 12.7 - You'lldo a little jog to get across Highway 33 here. When traffic is clear, move over to the left as quickly as possible and take the left turn lane at the first light, getting on Molnar Road

Kilometer 14.6 - You have an option here. I prefer turning left on Lewis Road and doing the small climb up to Garner Road. If you wish, you can stay on Belgo, avoid the extra climb and take the short cut.

Kilometer 26.5 - Start of June Springs Road climb (an additional 280 m over 4.5 km - average 6% grade with a few stretches pushing 15%). If you're not feeling up to it, just turn right on Matthews Road and continue on.

Kilometer 47.5 - Paret Road. Look for concrete barriers blocking road going up hill to vehicle traffic. Ride through and continue up the hill. 

Kilometer 60 - End of pavement on Lakeshore Drive. Turn around and head back to Kelowna

Kilometer 75.4 - I've stuck to Lakeshore as it's the easiest way back into town, but here you'll probably want to transfer to the bike path beside Lakeshore and takes a route through Gyro Beach Park.

Kilometer 76.7 - I'd recommend cutting over to Richter to ride through downtown and head down to Knox Mountain. It's a little quieter than the other options.

Kilometer 81.7 - A two blog jog towards the Lake lines you up to tackle Knox Mountain (starting at 82.2). The climb is about 250 m. If you choose to skip the climb, take the short bike path at 82.7 (end of the first hairpin) and connect to Royal View Drive, where you can make your way back to either downtown or the Glenmore Valley.

Kilometer 86 - Top of Knox. Take a moment to enjoy the view before the descent.

Kilometer 86.5 - At the first hairpin turn down, look for the cut off taking you into Magic Estates. Get on Rio Drive and take across Clifton Road to the Wilden Subdivision. You'll have another short climb over the crest and then will descend back to your starting point.

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