Inuvik to Inuvik: The beginning and the end of the Dempster Highway - Slightly North of Sanity - CycleBlaze

March 15, 2017

Inuvik to Inuvik: The beginning and the end of the Dempster Highway

Toes Remaining: 10

I took these photos of Inuvik yesterday. This is Canada's only traffic light north of the Arctic Circle.
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And this is the main drag. As you can see, Inuvik requires a bit more effort to look good in photos.
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This wasn't a post I wanted to write, admitting I quit the Dempster so readily, even though it was the practical decision.

The problem was I was way too slow. On the first part of the Dempster, aka the easy part from Inuvik to Fort McPherson, I needed to average 10 km/hr including breaks (which are quite time-consuming in the winter) in order to make enough daily progress.

I barely managed 10 km/hr without breaks on a section of road that was mostly paved, and so a couple hours into my ride, I decided to go back to Inuvik and take the job. I briefly considered hitchhiking, but decided that would be more quitting than I was willing to do in a day, so I rode.

As a side note, I believe I now hold the record--or at least will claim it when I bike out of here in August--for most trips between Inuvik and the airport by a touring cyclist.

It was -30 C on the way out, a couple degrees warmer on the way back, and I knew I wasn't physically or mentally resilient enough to handle many consecutive days of camping in that. Plus I didn't have and likely couldn't carry enough food to take three weeks to get to Dawson. Minor detail.

It appears I have found the limits of slowness, and only two days after my stunning victory over Mark on the ice road. That is the nature of the Arctic.

When I got back to Inuvik, I waved to a pair of cyclists taking photos in the parking lot. I already knew about another two who were currently en route to Tuk. That makes the Inuvik-Tuk ice road the place with the highest density of touring cyclists I have ever seen, which is amazing and yet so sad, because the ice road will be gone forever in another month or so.

Maybe, in enthusiastically taking the opportunity to experience something so special in so many ways, we're not as crazy as everyone thinks we are.

On further reflection, yes, the rest of the world got it right: we are crazy. In the best possible way.

Another insane -30 C morning on the Dempster Highway. Why would anyone subject themselves to this horrid landscape?
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Today's ride: 40 km (25 miles)
Total: 327 km (203 miles)

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