“Come on! You can do it!”

“My whole career has been from scratch, so I never took it for granted that people care and support what I do.”  – G-Eazy

If you read this blog you will see that I often make reference to Alpkit, who for the last 18 months have kindly supported me on my adventures. When I mention that I am an Alpkiteer to people you get a look of respect (or is that confusion?) in return. Only the pro’s and truly awesome adventurers get supported, right? I don’t put myself in either of those brackets, and I am not a social media “trend setter” either. Who has time or energy to maintain such a public image? But I do get out and about and often end up chatting to random people (or ‘my wafes and strays’ as I tend to call them!) about how great there gear is. I often get asked how I got supported and why did I go with Alpkit?

The answers to both of these questions is simple.

I got supported because I was doing something slightly different and I had the nerve to ask the question, even though I am not a big name. I told them my plan, I told them what I was after, and I told them how I would aid the brand, after all it is a business not a charity! I wasn’t greedy, I didn’t want huge amounts off them. I wasn’t boastful, I had no history of big, epic trips. But I was confident, the challenge was big but it was achievable even with my lack of experience. Brands understand that things happen that cause trips to be abandoned but they want to know that at the start there is a good chance that you will succeed.

And why did I ask Alpkit. Well this was down to a number of things:

  1. They did the gear I was after… well you wouldn’t want to be supported by a surf brand if you are a high altitude mountaineer would you!
  2. I like the way they do thing. The brand isn’t one of the old school established brands, they are trying to do something different and be more approachable.
  3. The ethics. This will be slightly different for everyone, I think ethics are quite a personal thing. Alpkit have a foundation that tries to help people from less privileged backgrounds access the outdoors and generally get people out and about. Would I really like to attach my name to a company that hasn’t got any qualms about using sweatshops and live plucked down? No thank you!

If you are looking at getting supported as an adventurer I would suggest that you talk to the brands that you use, you trust and want your name to be associated with. If you are looking at being supported you have to remember you aren’t just representing that brand, but that brand is becoming representing your beliefs. But my biggest bit of advice for anyone who has read this is: just ask them the question.

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Ups and downs 

So I ended up staying two nights in Squamish spending my rest day exploring the town and doing some tweaking of the gears so I have the full range back. As I said before the town is based on the logging industry with the feel that such places have, I quite like it! As with most the places I have been on the trip so far the town embraces it’s First Nation heritage with displays and information on aspects of there culture and local history.

The Chief from Squamish

At the end of the day I ended up in one of the local breweries with another couple of peeps staying at the Adventure Inn where they treated me to a pint to wish me well on my travels, cheers guys!

Squamish to Whistler  (15/07/2017)

This section of the route I tried to avoid the main road and took my pal Jack’s advice to follow the Sea to Sky Trail. This starts of by following local roads through Brackendale then following Paradise Valley Road. This is a beautiful tree lined road that seems to go on for mile after mile before gradually turning into a gravel track, thankfully my bike had been designed to be more robust than a road bike so coped with this without a problem.

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Peace Valley Road

As I continued down the track it gradually got more rutted and pot-holed until it eventually intersected with Cheakamus River were it became unridable on anything other than a full suspension bike! The next few hours consisted of me pushing the bike over rock fields, up 1 in 3 loose gravel hills that just made my wheels spin if I tried to ride and at one point even have to take my panniers off so that I could lift the bike over two foot high boulders. If you bear in mind my bike weighs approximately 32kg when fully loaded I am pushing approximately half my own body weight up a loose hill!

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Before the going got tough!

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The going got tough

To add to the issues while I was unloading the bike one of the clips on the rear pannier snapped! This meant taking time to make make-shift repairs followed by more pushing! Eventually I got back to the main road where I could nearly have missed the asphalt, I could ride again! Having had enough of rough trails and the time that was lost due to miles of pushing I decided to just munch out the miles on the road.

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Some of the views were worth the effort though!

I was tired by the point of joining the road and the going was all up hill. I had also not been fuelling well so I was struggling up every hill and I still had miles to go but I got there in the end having travelled 59km in just over 5hrs.

I was staying at a hotel in town and treated myself to a bath followed by one of the best meals I have had at the Bearfoot Bistro  (a tad pricey that one!) After dinner I rested up for an hour before heading over and meeting up with Jack and Alex for a few drinks at there amazing place in Whistler.

Whistler (16/07/2017)

I was considering skiing but with the panniers issue I thought I should look at repairs and options for that. It looks like the clip is easily replaced but unfortunately none of the bike shops in Whistler are set up for road or touring bikes and I will just have to make do with cable ties for the moment. By the time I had done this it was too late for skiing so I had a wander around town seeing the sights, had lunch and a beer at Earls Kitchen and Bar followed by a walk down to the still thickly frozen lake. From what I could see from the shore it was likely to still be able to hold a person’s weight… but I didn’t test that!

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Alta Lake, Whistler

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