Here’s another one of those stages that has “Slog” written all over it. Don’t get me wrong, there’s not a huge amount of climbing, and practically none of it is steep: but the key aspect of this stage is that about eighty percent of it is uphill, including everything from about one third distance. In pure geographical terms, the stage heads south through the Goguka Creek Protected Area in eastern British Columbia about three miles east of the Prophet River.
For a stage with such a high proportion of climbing, it’s somewhat unfortunate that the rollout is downhill for a mile because it would have been nice to have kept that respite in the back pocket for later. The descent finishes as the Alaska Highway starts a long right hand bend and the road then climbs for a mile to the left bend that follows it: cue the second descent down to Jackfish Creek and with it the lowest elevation of the stage. Booking that landmark so early in the stage is certainly a sign of trouble further up the road.
The road climbs steadily away from the creek, snaking its way left and right as it does so before descending a little and straightening out at six miles: that signals the start of a three mile uphill straight into the Goguka Creek Protected Area that continues until the nine mile mark. There, while the climb continues unabated, the road hangs a gentle left onto a second straight uphill segment: this one is nine miles long and just carries on climbing at the same rate as before. The best thing you can do is find a gear that works and just keep turning it.
At eighteen miles, Route 97 bears left and flattens out for half a mile as it rounds the bend. But round the corner and into the final mile long straight to the finish, the road kicks upward again and this time is gradient is much more severe than the previous thirteen miles: you might want to describe it as the sting in the tail of the stage because that’s precisely what it is.
Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres
Ascent: 771 feet / 235 metresRGT Magic Road: 2L62LctUwbxc
Max elevation: 2022 ft
Min elevation: 1648 ft
Total climbing: 552 ft
Total descent: -255 ft
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