82 km – After dropping into the stunning valley you are literally around 2km from the US border. If you don’t like rollers, take your passport and take that road south from here. This is the home of the infamous ‘7 Bitches’.
The first climb is around 2km at a 3% to 4% grade, taking you through some stunning scenery and dropping you just past Nighthawk Road. From here it is another wild descent to a series of rollers that skirt the Similkameem River.
87 km – The rollers are another fabled aspect of the Penticton Bike Course. The truth is that these tend to be mental rather physical protagonists. The fast descents highlight how slow the climbs are. The ups are long enough to play tricks on your mind. The downs fast enough to go by in the blink of an eye. What you are left with is a lot of time climbing and not much time descending. Those who are mentally fragile will struggle, this is the playground of the endurance bunny.
These are not rollers in the true sense of the word. You don’t get to speed down and momentum your way back up. Well, you do, but only a little. These are climbers, more than rollers. Speed sapping ‘rollers’ that have an adverse effect on your bike computer – somehow making the distance digits tick by slowly and the timer speed up. Sorcery!
Thankfully you will have Mount Kobaou to the right, Snowy Mountain to the left and a valley bottom of farmland to keep you company. Dig in, enjoy the scenery, take stock of your fuelling and hydration, spin the legs out when you can.
98 km – The rollers are finished. You now have around 10km of occasionally windy, false flat usually below 1% grade. Maybe it’s the distance into the ride, maybe the wind, maybe the false flat, maybe the rollers that precede it, but; I always find this part of the course sucks.
108 km – Keremeos starts to gain a few spectators, which boosts the spirits a little. The old course out-and-back disappears to your right, throwing you straight up Highway 3a and onto the Yellow Lake Climb.