Saturday, May 30, 2009
Ironman Canada Bike Course Potenially Flooded?
It's still a few years away, but a new Dam on the Similkameen River in Washington State, just south of the Canada/British Columbia border, may potentially flood certain parts of the Similkameen Valley in B.C. This is one of the most stunningly beautiful parts of Canada. It's also part of the famed Ironman Canada triathlon bike course as the 180km bike leg makes it's way north up Hwy 3 from the foot of Richters Pass to the town of Keremeos:
I will never forget the day that I first raced Ironman Canada back in 1990. I rode north through the Similkameen Valley on Hwy 3 that day, having never been on that road before! The scenery was amazing. Despite racing for a top spot in the race, I kept being distracted by the Lost Shangri-la feel of the place. It had this surrealistic look - almost too beautiful and perfect. The vineyards. The fruit trees. The meandering Similkameen River. The soaring mountains on all sides of the valley with sheer wall-like cliffs near their tops. It felt like you were in a giant room with the clear blue ski as the roof!
I would be very surprised if this ever comes to pass. However, it does cause some concern. Some say that water - something that people seem to value very little today - will become a very valuable commodity in the future. Canada, I understand has possibly, 1/4 of the worlds supply of fresh water and the U.S. has much less.
I did Ironman Canada five more times after that first year, and every year I marvelled at the beauty of the Similkameen as I rode and raced through it, heading up towards the real challenge of that bike course - the climb to Yellow Lake. I often thought that when I retire, this would be the kind of place that I would want to retire to, to live out my days in a place where almost every view from every angle is amazing!