In 2007, the TransRockies Challenge will reverse its traditional northerly direction, and will travel south for the first time. After starting on August 12th at Panorama Mountain Resort in the rugged Purcell Ranges of the Rockies, the 600 participants from 25 countries will face 600km of riding with 12,000 metres of climbing over the course of seven epic days before finishing in the historic downtown of Fernie on August 18th. During the week on their bike, the nearly 300 teams of two riders will travel through the 3000m peaks and steep valleys of the spectacular Kootenay Rockies.
“We’re really excited to have the finish line in Fernie this year,” said TransRockies Event Director Aaron McConnell. “They were one of the first, and have been one of the greatest, supporters of the race. As our start line for the first five years, they have seen the event quadruple in size as it has grown from an idea to become one of the monuments of mountain biking.”
Unlike most other endurance events, the athletes of the TransRockies Challenge spend the full duration of the event together– whether on their bikes, or eating, sleeping and recuperating in the moving rider village which is built and staffed by a dedicated crew of staff and volunteers. The entire infrastructure to support the 1000 racers, crew members and friends is moved in, built and moved in an enormous feat of logistics. The crew work first thing in the morning and deep into the night, preparing meals, fixing bikes, marking the course, setting up and tearing down tents, and doing the hundred other things necessary for the smooth operation of the event.
The TransRockies Challenge would not have grown to its current stature without great riding and from the first year when 65 teams of rode off the start line into the unknown, participants in every edition of have had a full Rocky Mountain smorgasbord of epic riding and conditions. They have taken to the trails in everything from snow, rain and mud, to baking temperatures, dust and smoke. Whatever each year brings, the riders can be sure that they will be tested by hundreds of kilometres of great mountain biking while they’re supported by the best organizational team in endurance sports.
The finish line of any endurance event is an emotional place and the two-person format of the TransRockies Challenge gives the finish line special meaning, as the journey and reward is shared. This year’s finishers will be greeted by friends, family and the entire town of Fernie.
In 2006, the always emotional Finishers Ceremony had a new element as a commemorative “5 Finishes” belt buckle was given to a select group of four riders who were the only riders to complete all five editions of the TransRockies Challenge. This year, several more riders are eligible for the belt buckle that signifies five successful TransRockies attempts including returning three-time champion Andreas Hestler of Team Rocky Mountain/Haywood.
Visit fernie.com/blog/transrockies for daily race reports and behind-the-scenes coverage from the most raw and rugged test in epic mountain biking.