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TransRockies has Fernie on the Radar

Mountain biking is a big industry worldwide, and there’s no question that Fernie is on the radar.

Although the TransRockies was not the first multi-stage team endurance mountain bike event, its sister European event, the TransAlps, was. And all these new events like the BC Bike Race or the Furious 3, they have been copied from the TransRockies.

And this is good! Because more events means more riders participating in racing, these riders will eventually return to the TransRockies. The TransAlps and then the TraansRockies set out to create a whole new category for Mountain Bike racing, and they did.

Judging by the TransRockies 10th Anniversary event, they succeeded, and so did Fernie. Yes indeed. Fernie is the only community to have hosted all ten TransRockies events. And this year Fernie hosts three stages, keeping the riders in town for at least five days.

The TransRockies is good for business. It fills hotel rooms, restaurants and stores, and draws media attention from around the globe. In fact, TransRockies has taken been Fernie’s biggest summer event for some time.

As industries go, cycling is a growth industry around the world. The particulars change from year to year, but these days road riding is leading the popularity contest – just look at events like the RBC GranFondo, which will bring 6,500 riders from Vancouver to Whistler on Sept. 10.

BMX is also making a huge resurgence in popularity, boosted by the sport’s inclusion in the Olympic schedule since 2008, and its prominence at events like the Summer X Games.

Commuter bikes of all descriptions are selling quite well as the price of gas reaches new heights and city planners are starting to overlay bicycle networks onto urban roadways.
But while mountain bike sales are down slightly – a result of people buying fewer bikes and spending less per bicycle – it’s still a healthy industry. At one point in the 1980s, mountain bikes represented roughly 60 per cent of all sales in the U.S., although that number declined to around 22 per cent in 2010. Before the economic crisis of 2008, mountain bikes represented 25 to 30 per cent of the entire market. Given the number of things people use bikes for, that’s a huge market share.

Exact bicycle sales numbers are hard to nail down, but a search on global sales turns up statistics like Shimano increasing sales of components by 46 per cent in the first half of 2010.

Over $6 billion in bikes have been sold in the U.S. each year over the last decade, according to the National Bicycle Dealers Association of America, representing close to 20 million bikes.

The exception to growth was in 2009, a particularly bad year for the U.S. economy, with less than 15 million bikes sold – the fewest since the association started recording total bike sales in 1992. The rebound was significant – 19.8 million bikes in 2010 is the second-highest tally since just over 20 million bikes sold in 2000, and represents almost a 25 per cent increase over the previous year.

Further north, the Bicycle Trade Association of Canada said in February that bike sales by independent dealers – not chains like Sears or Canadian Tire – surpassed $250 million for the first time ever in 2010. Bikes in the 26-inch wheel category, which includes mountain bikes, were down 15.58 per cent in total dollar sales, but still rank second to road bikes and commuters. Comparatively, road bike sales were up 21.13 per cent, and youth and hybrid bikes also increased slightly.

But while sales of actual bikes may be down, that decline comes after years of sustained growth.

And in our part of the province, where every town has its own network of trails and the Fernie trails being in our back yard, the popularity of mountain bikes has never really declined at all. There are four bike shops in Fernie, all doing well.

Mountain bike events are extremely popular, with the Furious 3 selling out 300 spots in its first year. The seven-day B.C. Bike Race also reliably sells out 450 spots.
Both events generate revenue for hosts.

Mountain biking may have lost a little popularity overall, but that’s certainly not the case in this part of the world. Take the economy out of the picture and it’s as successful as ever.

While TransRockies may represent the best of mountain biking, it’s always been an inclusive event. Every component is open to the general public. That’s because in the end TransRockies isn’t about showing the evolution of biking, it’s about sharing it.

For more information on events and registration, visit

Island Lake Lodge Hosting TransRockies

For the first time in the 10-year history of Fernie hosting the TransRockies, a stage finish will be hosted at Island Lake Lodge. Fernie is the only community to have hosted each of the TransRockies events. Stage 3, which will start in downtown Fernie on Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 – will highlight many of the most popular trails in and around Fernie. Passing through Mount Fernie Provincial Park, the race will finish at the spectacular Island Lake Lodge – home to Island Lake Catskiing in winter.

Island Lake Lodge is situated in the Lizard Range of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, 10 km from Fernie, BC and has twice been named one of the Best Hotels in Canada by National Geographic Traveler Magazine. The property boasts 7,000 acres of catskiing in the winter and in the summer is open daily for hiking, spa and fine dining. “We’re looking forward to hosting TransRockies for the first time,” said Doug Feely, CEO of Island Lake Resorts. “Having such a prestigious event at the Lodge is a great way to showcase our facilities and the incredible recreational opportunities that we offer.”

TransRockies – North America’s original epic mountain-bike stage race and Canada’s best mountain bike adventure, runs from Fernie to Canmore over 7 days through the spectacular Canadian Rockies. While Fernie has long been either a start or finish host community for TransRockies, 2011 will be the first time the event made a stop at Island Lake. The spectacular stage 3 finish will be a highlight for all riders, especially those completing the 3-day solo TR3 on stage 3. “We are thrilled to be finishing stage 3 at Island Lake,” said Aaron McConnell, president of TransRockies Inc. “The spectacular setting at Island Lake epitomizes TransRockies – complete participant support in the midst of a beautiful natural setting.”

The stage finish will be positioned directly in front of the lodges at Island Lake and supported by two full-service restaurants, accommodation and spa packages. TransRockies participants, friends and family can stay in luxury at Island Lake Lodge any time from August 7-10 for a special price of $129 per night. Spa packages (reservations required) are the perfect way to relax after three epic days of mountain biking. For accommodation or spa reservations, call 1-(250)-423-3700 or email Parking is limited on-site, and shuttles from lower parking lots will be in place when the lodge parking is full.

TransRockies Stage 3

With less than two months until the start of the 10th TransRockies and with the above average snowpack finally retreating to the alpine, we finally had an opportunity to ride Stage 3.

Stage 3 begins in Downtown Fernie with a mass start and quickly proceeds to North Fernie for perhaps the most grueling Fernie day in the history of the TR. Seven climbs starting on Mt Proctor, on to Mt Fernie, to the Lizard Range and back to Mt Fernie with a spectacular finish at Island Lake Lodge is the route in short. Short the stage is not and the cold beer and great food at ILL will be tasting really good after many hours of sustained single track! I should also mention the seven sweet downhills and endless single-track that will make this day extremely enjoyable!

Here is some footage taken last Saturday by Aaron McConnell:

TransRockies action photography clinic

Renowned sports protographers Blake Jorgenson and Mark Gallup are offering a mountain sports action photography clinic during the world renowned TransRockies Mountain bike race.

This workshop is for any photo enthusiast who is particularly interested in shooting outdoor and action photography. The first 2 days will be a combination of classroom instruction and on location outdoor shooting with pro mountain bikers. Both natural light and flash photography will be covered, tips, techniques and pro secret’s! Each day will be followed by an après session to unwind, talk about the day and keep the conversation rolling. For the last 2 days you will have the unique opportunity of photographing a world class mountain bike event. We will focus on assignment shooting. It’s “game on” as you cover everything from start line to finish line, high speed action, interesting characters, muddy faces, victories and defeats. It’s as real as any assignment will get! In fact, instructors will give you a mock client to shoot for and lead you through the day followed by classroom analyses and presenting your images.

Throughout the program you will also be working on your own 3 minute slide show to showcase at an awards dinner on the last evening. Lunches are included on each day plus the wind up dinner on the last evening.

All participants should love to be active and enjoy the outdoors with knowledge that changing conditions will be part of the fun! Locations will be accessed several ways including hiking, biking or 4×4. The only mode of transportation you are required to bring are your legs! A bike is optional if you desire.

A basic understanding of photography and the use of your own digital SLR camera is required. Also, a backpack is recommended for your equipment. Artificial lighting/strobe techniques will be part of the program. Your own flashes are recommended. Limited lighting equipment will be available through the instructors or for rent from The Camera Store in Calgary. Each participant should have their own laptop. Applicable software such as Adobe Light Room or Photo Shop should be installed on your computer.

At this time we are accepting reservations that can be confirmed with a $400 deposit. Upon confirmation, more information will be provided in the Welcome package including itinerary, curriculum and more details on what to bring.

For more information or to register CLICK HERE.

Fernie Hosting Three TransRockies Stages!

Each year the TransRockies improves rider experience and major changes to the 2011 route offer more spectacular riding. However, one big route announcement has been saved until the end. We’re excited to announce that we’re spending three days on Fernie’s world-class singletrack!

Fernie is the only community to have hosted all ten TransRockies events. Each year Fernie has either been a Start or Finish stage and for the first time Fernie will host three stages. No other community has hosted more than one stage. Our hosting record clearly communicates our hospitality, community support, and great mountain biking.

Stage 1 will be the same as last year: start and finish on Victoria Avenue, with the route on Castle Mountain and Ridgemont. Stage 2 starts and finishes on Victoria Avenue, with the route on Porky Blue and the Coal Discovery trail. The brand new Stage 3 will start on Victoria Avenue and finish at Island Lake Lodge. This stage will be the longest stage as riders cross Mt. Proctor and Mt. Fernie, finishing with a ride around Island Lake with the finish line at the lodge.

The TR3, a three day solo event, will be exclusive to Fernie. UCI Olympic points are being offered again so expect a solid showing of professional riders. And the TR7, a seven day team event, will enjoy Fernie’s warmer weather before heading to the colder Alberta route finishing in Canmore.

One of the bonuses of hosting three stages is that the TransRockies will be in Fernie for at least five nights. This could be Fernie’s busiest week of the summer and local businesses will enjoy the increased traffic. Last year a Chamber of Commerce survey showed overwhelming support and increases in business.

The annual Kids’ Bike Rally will be returning for the fifth year. Kids’ aged 3 – 8 will be facing a fun and educational bike rally around Fernie’s downtown. It has been a great success in past years and will add to the festivities surrounding the TransRockies. The event is FREE and is limited to the first 100 kids to register at Straightline. Other festivities include food and beverage tents in the Downtown for Stages 1 & 2. The public is welcome to attend the Stage 3 finish at Island Lake Lodge by taking a free shuttle from the lower parking lot.

Without our sponsors and Partners this event would not be possible, we offer them a huge thanks for their ongoing support.

Blackstone is an environmentally sensitive master plan mountain community that is currently completing its planning and approvals stage. It will feature an 18-hole championship golf course designed by David McLay Kidd.

Other official sponsors of the Blackstone Fernie TransRockies include Fernie Real Estate, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, 901 Fernie, Straightline Skis & Bikes, Fernie Brewing Co., Overwaitea Foods, Fernie Fix, Fernie Getaways, Lizard Creek Lodge, Stanford Hotels & Resorts, Best Western Fernie Mountain Lodge, Red Tree Lodge, The Fernie Lodging Company, and The Raging Elk.

Our official partners are The City of Fernie, Island Lake Lodge and TransRockies Inc.

For more information contact Dan Savage at 250-531-0230 or