Day 3 may seem a little daunting at about 120 km and some serious looking climbs on the elevation map however Google Maps only shows 443 meters of total climb over the entire run.
The proposed route follows the old Island Highway also breaks down nicely into three roughly same-length segments:
- Campbell River to Courtenay (Lunch).
- Courtenay to Bowser (The Brew Coffee House).
- Bowser to Parksville.
Segment 1: Campbell River to Courtenay
Following 19A along the coast, the first segment, at 49 km, is the longest of the day with a reported total climb of about 146 m.
At the end of this segment we will be treated to lunch at the Simms Millennium Park by the local Parkinson’s support group.
Segment 2: Courtenay to Bowser
Bowser doesn’t have too much to offer except a cool town name and a great place to stop for a break and a snack. I’m referring to The Brew Coffee House which is in a small mall on the West side of the highway just before you cross the railway tracks. They don’t serve smoothies or lemonade but they can put together some very refreshing Italian soda drinks. For the devoted sweet tooth, they do have sticky buns.
Segment 3: Bowser to Parksville
This is a straightforward run. I’ve done it twice as the last part of a training run and the worst part was the first hill as you are leaving Qualicum Bay that seems like it will never stop climbing. The grade is not too bad so if you’ve lots of energy left after the first 2 segments the climb will not be a problem.