I wake up in a rather spectacular scenery at Farewell Canyon. Yesterday I set up camp at a viewing point located on a cliff about 100m above the raging and ice blue Chilcotin River.

Some yellow leaved birches made their way to the river banks. Apart from them the remaining scenary is more or less sand grey dictated by the dry climate.

It's decission day. Since it gets dark earlier and earlier I started to play with some route options with my downloaded maps in the evenings. Option 1 via Gang Ranch and Lilloet, goes back to the Fraser River Canyon and is supposed to be very scenic. Option 2 via Gold Bridge, shorter and more surprising since I don't know much about it. The name of Gold Bridge and what I saw on the maps made me consider this option.

Well, I have a long, steep 12km and 700m ascent from the Farewell Canyon ahead to finally make a decission. The progress is slow but even though I have to climb quite some stretches with 9% grade it's not super exhausting. The gravel road is so loose that I can't crank out more than 5km/h. When I use more power the rear wheel looses traction - pointless waste of energy. At least half of the few cars passing me [a grand total of 6] stop and drivers asking me whether I turned insane cycling out here... I don't really get what they mean.

After more than two hours I am up with snow covered trees [I guess winter, caught up during my slow progress], a sunny day above the clouds and a decission.

I go for Gold Bridge. Right now I prefer both the surprise and the shorter distance. I have about 7 days to make it to Vancouver. Both options would still work but for the moment I really enjoy this slow, low progress travel. I am still basically pedaling the whole day, but the conditions naturally make for very, very slow progress. Option 1 simply gives me more room to keep on going like this and leaves less room to worry about running out of time. Exactly what I need.

So I take the turn on the 2200 Forest Service Road and continue climbing in the sunny weather. From gravel we are back to mud [slushy snowy mud to be precise], from desert like Junction Sheep Range back to pine forests and free range cattle farming. At 3PM I have only covered 30km and I still wonder how little I care about it. It really seems like I am settling into this. I think I like both the fast jumps and the slow progress travel on the back roads. I just need to find the right balance.

Unfortunately Klaus seems to crumble. I am afraid I didn't give him too much attention the last weeks. He simply always seemed strong and happy. It's not really the conditions, it's more or less overdue wear off parts that seem to break all together now where I don't have any access to infrastructure [no bike shop, not even cell service].

Yesterday the brakes and now the shifting cable [with all the up and down, I shift like crazy for weeks now]. One of the most feared issue of them all... I cite my dear bike mechanic Thomas: "When they rip, it gonna take you a day to replace them."

****!!!!!! I scream out a very naughty word as loud as I possibly can. I scream once, the empty forest screams back a few times. That helped! I'll be fine.

I am completely surprised about myself. I am in the middle of nowhere, traffic is going towards zero, everything is completely mudded up, I am at about 1400m of elevation in the snow, it's cold, perfect conditions to repair a very fragile and to me unknown shifting system what might take a day... No worries, things could be worse, I'll be fine! In all honesty, who is that guy!

It doesn't take long to realize that the time to repair this is now or never [well not quite never]. It's 4PM, the afternoon sun is still up so it won't get any warmer at least until tomorrow afternoon. I pedal another 30 minutes until I find a spot where I can pitch my tent decently and immediately start to clean the parts, take out the spares and start to study the manual that I have as a PDF on my phone.

The manual helps and I just do everything by best guess and hope I do not import too much mud into the shifting box [random info: the Rohloff shifters for race bars is quite a new and self-made thing by the bike company, nothing super straightforward iny opinion]. With the new cable in I get everything back together and do the first shift.

"Wohoooo" I scream out at least as loud as the bad word before. Forest screams back again. It works! [Thomas, 1hour 8minutes, I did put a timer. You have my number. Let's be honest. I simply hope it holds and I didn't mess it up for the longterm. It doesn't make any weird sounds and it shifts like before.].

After a heart-warming visit of a moose cow with calf at my camp I enter the already frozen tent around 7PM, the bike computer shows - 3 degrees. With hopes for a decent night, I finish the day with only 42km but 1300m in elevation gain crossed off my to-do-list. Let's see what tomorrow will have installed for me.