Leaving Vernon at 6 a.m., Dustin Karolat pedalled his bike 317 kilometres before stopping at the South Cariboo Visitor Centre in 100 Mile House at 8:45 p.m. recently.
The lean 23-year-old, with long blond hair and piercing blue eyes, was obviously tired; his legs were tired and his body was shaking while he walked around to cool off. The slight smile on his face grew to a full grin as he enjoyed the satisfaction of making his goal of cycling 300 km in one day.
His previous best was 247 km.
Karolat says he came to 100 Mile, because when he was looking at a map, it gave him the correct distance for the trip.
“I wish I had looked at the topographical map a little harder, though,” he said with a smile.
“It’s 800 metres higher here than in Vernon and there’s quite a few ups and downs in between, so I knew I would be climbing hills.”
He says the toughest climb was coming out of Kamloops.
“It is a long climb and it was really hot there.”
Karolat says he encountered rain at the beginning of the trip and dealt with the heat through Kamloops, but he had a tail wind from Cache Creek up to the 100 Mile House, which helped him through the last stretch.
As luck would have it, his bike had a flat tire with only 20 km to go before he reached his goal of the magic 300-km mark.
“It tacked a little more time on, so that was a bit unfortunate. I had hoped to make it in 12 hours, but then I realized it was mostly uphill, so I’m happy I made it in under 15.”
Noting he has mountain biked for a while, Karolat says he has only been road cycling for a year, with his first long-distance trip – 3,700 km – being from Invermere to Toronto last fall.
While he didn’t fundraise for the cross-Canada trip, Karolat was raising money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation on his trip from Vernon to 100 Mile House.
“My grandpa has had a couple of heart attacks, so it’s close to home.”
Noting he is going to continue training, he said it’s unlikely he’ll try to cycle this far again.
Karolat just received his degree in biology but hasn’t been able to find a job yet, so he is working at a lumber mill right now.
His immediate goal, however, was to drive up to Quesnel with his road crew – his mom and grandma – and collapse on the couch at his mom’s house after a home-cooked meal.