TransRockies Gravel Royale 2023 Registration Open

TransRockies Gravel Royale 2023 Registration Open

TransRockies Race Series completed a successful inaugural TransRockies Gravel Royale this past August. The event brought 200 athletes from eight countries and 22 states and provinces to explore the vast gravel roads of the Kootenay Mountains from Panorama Resort to Downtown Fernie. The 2023 edition of the event will take place August 28-31 and the TransRockies team will bring out even more athletes to the starting line for this four-day stage race.

The Gravel Royale Team is grateful to be returning to the four amazing host communities for this event. Panorama Mountain Resort, Nipika Mountain Resort, Canal Flats, and the City of Fernie were all welcoming to the TransRockies gravel community.

Stage 1 / 2022 Transrockies Gravel Royale

This unique gravel event takes riders on secluded gravel roads through the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa Nation Indigenous people. With a large variety of terrain from hard-pack roads to technical singletrack, the full four-day course covers 400 km (200 miles) and around 7,500m (25,000 ft) of climbing. Riders can expect vast mountain views, native wildlife, crystal clear rivers, and a gravel adventure like no other.

One of the best aspects of any TransRockies event is the participant experience at camp after each stage. Gravel Royale is a camping stage race with camp set-ups in Nipika and Canal Flats. With 20 years of experience, the TransRockies team has the camp logistics dialed, a true royal flush. Participants don’t have to worry about moving their gear or setting up their tents for each night, it’s all covered by volunteers and the TransRockies team.

Stage 4/ 2022 Transrockies Gravel Royale

At camp participants enjoy catered meals, lounge chairs, cold beverages, and great conversations with fellow racers. Massage and athletic therapy stations are available along with mechanical support and a bike wash for participants. Each evening ends with a group dinner as well as a slide show and video from the day’s events.

The 2023 edition of Gravel Royale will have a participation cap, riders will have to ‘double down’ early to get a spot at the starting line. Registration opened at 9am MT on Wednesday, September 28. The link to transrockiesgravelroyale.com.

About TransRockies Race Series
It has been nearly 20 years since the first TransRockies Challenge mountain bike stage race first rolled out of Fernie, BC for an epic 7-day adventure taking riders over the Canadian Rockies to finish in Canmore, Alberta, helping to kick start the global mountain bike stage racing craze and the face of cycling in the Rockies. TransRockies Gravel Royale is the latest event produced by the company that brings endurance athletes the TransRockies Run and Singletrack 6, among other iconic events.

The TransRockies Race Series operates 10 events over 32 days annually in the Western U.S. and Canada. Specializing in multi-day and endurance cycling and running events, TransRockies serves over 3,500 participants annually. The organization has operated over 200 days of stage racing since it was founded in 2002.

Fernie is Hosting  two Transrockies Races

Fernie is Hosting two Transrockies Races

This summer, TransRockies Race Series will be returning to Fernie with an unprecedented two stage-racing events. On August 25th, 2022, the city’s downtown will host the finish of the inaugural four-day gravel stage race, the Gravel Royale. Then, less than two weeks later, on September 6th and 7th the Fernie Aquatic Centre and Fernie Alpine Resort will host stages one and two of the six-day mountain bike stage race, Singletrack 6.

This isn’t the first year the TransRockies Race Series will be visiting Fernie. The community has been an important part of TransRockies’ events since it hosted the first edition of the TransRockies Challenge back in 2002. In the twenty years since, Fernie’s welcoming outdoor culture, exceptional trail system and robust tourism industry have kept the event coming back.

“In 2001 the vision of the TransRockies came to Fernie from Europe and it’s been coming here ever since.” says Dan Savage, Fernie event organizer. “The TransRockies events have helped create Fernie’s status as an International bike destination and the events continue to benefit the community, trails and businesses to this day.”

“Right from our first race two decades ago, Fernie has been a go-to host community for us”, says Aaron McConnell, TransRockies Race Series President. “The singletrack, the stoke and the mountain bike community are second to none. And this year, we couldn’t be happier that, in addition to our flagship mountain bike event, we’re able to include Fernie in our new and exciting Gravel Royale stage race.”

Beginning in Panorama, BC, Gravel Royale will pass through the Nipika Mountain Resort and the town of Canal Flats before ending at the finish line in downtown Fernie. The popularity of gravel racing is exploding in North America—and around the globe—and this unique event will introduce up to 300 racers to Fernie and the surrounding Canadian Rocky Mountains.

“For Gravel Royale, we’ve resurrected much of the original TransRockies Challenge route,” notes McConnell. “It’s a spectacular location for gravel racing, and having our finish line in downtown Fernie is a fantastic way to end the race. It will really showcase the best of what this part of the world has to offer.”

Together, Gravel Royale and Singletrack 6 will bring up to 650 riders, plus families, crew and volunteers to Fernie from all over the world, which will have significant economic benefits for the town. Based on data collected from previous TransRockies events, the two races are expected to generate over $500,000 in local economic activity through spending on hotels, restaurants, shopping and other services.

“We’re thrilled to once again sponsor and support TransRockies riders coming to Fernie”, says Mark Hall, owner of Gearhub Sports. “Welcome back and good luck to the hundreds of riders and their families coming for these epic events!”

In addition to increased economic activity, the influx of racers will bring other benefits to the area. A portion of each rider’s entry fee for Singletrack 6 will go to the trail organizations in each host community to help them build and maintain trails.

“We’re proud of our vast and diverse network of world-class singletrack, and we’re excited to continue our long-standing relationship with TransRockies,” says Megan Kelly, Board Chair of the Fernie Trails Alliance. “We look forward to showcasing some of the best riding Western Canada has to offer.”

“We’re delighted to welcome Singletrack 6 back to the Fernie trail system,” says Pat Gilmar, Trails Manager for the Coal Creek Heritage Society (CCHS). “Stage 1 will be largely on the Montane and Fernie Ridge trails, which CCHS manages, and this year we’ve made some exciting improvements by building and rebuilding trails for TransRockies riders to enjoy.”

TransRockies appreciates and gives thanks for the ongoing support from the trails organizations, the City of Fernie, Fernie Alpine Resort, and Fernie sponsors, volunteers and organizers.

TransRockies Race Series, operates ten events, over 32 days annually, in the Western US and Canada. Specializing in multi-day and endurance cycling and running events, TransRockies serves over 3,500 participants each year. The organization has operated over 200 days of stage racing since it was founded in 2002.

Fernie Gravel Grind

Fernie Gravel Grind

THE SPIRIT OF GRAVEL IS THAT ANYTHING GOES; THE SPIRIT OF GRAVEL IS INCLUSIVITY.

The Fernie Gravel Grind is a weekend-long gravel festival for any and all riders.

Enjoy their Friday Industry Night with vendors from the industry, beer gardens, food trucks and live music at the historic Station Square.

Challenge yourself to the Long Haul or enjoy the scenic Short Haul in Saturdays Gravel Grind before finishing up at in Fernie’s downtown for the post race hang.

Take part in the Sunday Social Group Rides by Lazer Sports. They’ll treat you to the worlds best coffee, a scenic tour around town, and post ride lunch and beverages.

For all categories, they are proud to offer an equal number of spots for both Women and Men and offer routes that are Adaptive and Para friendly.

The Long Haul
Here in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, there is no such thing as a free lunch. The riding is just as beautiful as it is unrelenting and every descent is hard earned. But whether or not you’re here to be the first across the finish line or to simply take in the scenery with friends, you are guaranteed for an epic day out on the Long Haul.

Due to the November 15th flooding, we’ve had to select a new route for 2022! This will be an epic out and back. Starting from Historical 2nd Ave Downtown Fernie out to the cusp of the picturesque Flathead Valley and back. While it is an out n’ back, that means even more opportunities to experience our incredible stoke stations, cheer on fellow participants, and get that double take on the incredible views!

Approximate distance: 95km, 1,500m elevation gain.

The Short Haul
For those new to adventure racing or those who just want to take the scenic route, the Short Haul is not too hot and not too cold, it really is juuuuust right. The Short Haul features a roller coaster of a ride with incredible vistas to boot throughout the Elk Valley. Ear to ear grins guaranteed.

In similar fashion to the Long Haul, Short Haul riders will start on Historical 2nd Ave Downtown Fernie out to towards the Flathead Valley and back.

Approximate distance: 40km, 500m elevation gain.

SCHEDULE
Friday June 24:
Industry Night and Rider Welcome: 5:00-9:00pm

Start the weekend off right by picking up your race package and hanging out at our outdoor industry night for the evening where a star studded cast of vendors will be set up accompanied by a beer garden, local food trucks and live music at the historic Station Square.

Saturday June 25:

The Gravel Grind
Post Race Festivities

Sunday June 26:
Sunday Social Group Rides

REGISTRATION AND DETAILS HERE.

Looking Back on 20 Years of TransRockies in Fernie

Looking Back on 20 Years of TransRockies in Fernie

This coming year will mark the 20th anniversary of what is now the TransRockies Race Series. It also marks the 20th anniversary of their events being held here in Fernie. From the TransRockies Challenge to Singletrack 6, and now to the new Gravel Royale gravel stage race, Fernie has been the perfect place to start, finish and host some of the TransRockies biggest and most important races.

In 2001, there were only a handful of mountain bike stage races in the world. Costa Rica’s America’s La Ruta de Los Conquistadores and the TransAlp in Europe are two notable examples, but nothing like them existed in North America.

That all changed when the TransAlp organizers, Chester Fabricius and Heinrich Albrecht, visited Fernie. It just so happened that Fernie was the perfect access point for this type of rugged backcountry adventure. At that time Fernie was a ski destination, with a strong community and accommodations that could host riders in comfort, and a variety of restaurants, among other amenities.

A group of local business owners converged to form the Fernie TransRockies Society with the objective of ensuring the TransRockies would be a success and secure Fernie the cornerstone community.

In 2002 Fernie hosted the first ever start of the TransRockies Challenge, a 7-day stage race that would take riders to Canmore through the picturesque and challenging Canadian Rockies. In Europe the towns are closer together and participants could race from one town to another. Not so in the Canadian Rockies.

The distance riders would have to cover from town to town would be immense and the conditions were underrated-nobody was expecting snow. The TransRockies organizers had to set up warm camps for riders each night along the remote, rugged, and let’s not forget beautiful, route. On the second TransRockies Challenge the leading Austrian team quit following a snowy, wet, muddy and cold stage.

For 13 editions, the TransRockies Challenge took over Fernie’s historic main street and crowds gathered there to watch either the start or finish for the hundreds of racers that were brave enough to take on the challenge.

The TransRockies crew are a spirited and colourful group and the friendships continue to this day. Dan Savage, Fernie organizer, commented, “The original events were exciting with huge parties and hundreds of spectators, the entire town was engaged! This event was the seed for defining Fernie as a mountain bike destination.”

And as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Stage racing became popular and competing events popped up everywhere.

The only constant is change and change they did. Out of both preference and necessity, much of the TransRockies Challenge was ridden on gravel roads. But by 2014, mountain bikes were far more capable than their 2002 counterparts, and mountain bike trail networks were being built and expanded all across Western Canada.

As a result, riders’ attitudes were changing. They wanted more fun singletrack, and less of the all-out test of endurance offered by the TransRockies Challenge. So, in 2014, TransRockies decided to give racers what they wanted. They changed the race format and rebranded the event Singletrack 6.

Instead of a point to point race, Singletrack 6 would feature daily loops that started and ended in a host-community. The race would travel to three or four of those communities over 6 days of racing, and instead of camping, racers would stay in one of the lodging options those communities had to offer.

During the years Fernie was hosting the TransRockies Challenge, our trail crews were busy expanding the mountain bike trail network and building the mountain bike community. The events provided the revenue for the birth of the Fernie Trails Alliance. Our mountain town was quickly becoming a mountain bike mecca in its own right, and so TransRockies chose Fernie as one of the host communities for its first edition of the race.

Unfortunately, because Singletrack 6 is always on the move searching for new singletrack, they can’t come back to Fernie every year. But with new trails popping up all everywhere in the Kootenay’s, they’re this region a regular stop, including in 2022 for their 20th anniversary edition of Singletrack 6!

According to TransRockies Chief Cycling Officer, Aaron McConnell, by 2020, TransRockies had decided that visiting Fernie “regularly” just wasn’t enough, so they decided to create a race that would once again have them back in Fernie every single year! Or at least that’s part of the reason…

It’s no secret that gravel riding and racing has taken the cycling world by storm in recent years. Every season, new races are added to the calendar across North America, but one type of race has been in conspicuously short supply: stage races. So, in the summer of 2020, McConnell began looking at routes for a gravel stage race that could be put together for the summer of 2021.

As luck would have it, the perfect route was the one they had used many times before for the TransRockies Challenge. With a few modifications, they saw a way to breathe new life into their old 7-day route and modify it for 4-days of gravel racing. And this time, the finish line would be in Fernie, rather than the start. Unfortunately, last minute COVID restrictions forced the cancellation of the 2021 Gravel Royale, but they are already planning their return in 2022.

Ending Gravel Royale in Fernie will give racers—who will be visiting from all over the world—the opportunity to finish on a high note. They’ll have the opportunity to experience Canadian Rocky Mountain culture at its best, and we have no doubt that many of them will return to Fernie, as TransRockies always has.

It’s no coincidence that TransRockies has chosen Fernie to debut, and continue hosting, their biggest off-road cycling events. Few places have a community as dedicated to adventure as this one, and even fewer are ready to welcome events like theirs with such open arms. Fernie and TransRockies really are partners on two wheels, and it’s looking like 2022 is going to be one heck of an anniversary party, for TransRockies and for a partnership that’s still going strong after two decades.

TransRockies Singletrack 6 is Cancelled

TransRockies Singletrack 6 is Cancelled

TransRockies Inc. just announced that the 2021 Singletrack 6 is also being cancelled following the inaugural Gravel Royale being cancelled on the weekend. The British Columbia Government issued a new COVID-19 health mandate that states: “outdoor organized events will be limited to 100 people,” in the Interior Health Region going into effect today. Due to this development they have made the difficult decision to cancel both events.

The Singletrack 6 was scheduled to be in Fernie from September 6 to 8th for registration and two race stages before moving on to Kimberley and Rossland. The event would have filled Fernie’s hotels, shops and restaurants for three plus days.

Aaron McConnell, Transrockies President, commented, “On behalf of the entire TransRockies organization, please know that we did everything we could to try to make this event happen and we assure you that the best decision was made around this sudden change. The Public Health orders won’t allow events, small communities are once again being impacted by Covid, and we want to protect the safety of our staff and volunteers.”

2016 ST6

Fernie has been hosting TransRockies bike events since 2002 and the event has been credited in helping Fernie become a bike destination. The funds raised for trails also helped fund the creation of the Fernie Trails Alliance. Dan Savage, Fernie events manager, commented, “It’s extremely disappointing to cancel the events so close to the start date. The amount of planning and commitment by both riders and supporters has become another casualty of the pandemic. We look forward to the events returning in 2022”

The Singletrack 6 Fernie stage sponsor was Gearhub Sports and the accommodation sponsors include; Park Place Lodge, Red Tree Lodge, Fernie Reservations, The Raging Elk Adventure Lodge, Snow Valley Accommodations, Fernie Lodging Company, Fernie Alpine Resort and the Fernie RV Resort. The City of Fernie, Fernie Trails Alliance, Coal Creek Heritage Society and Fernie Alpine Resort contributed to the local planning and permits. All of these organizations and members generous support helped bring the event to Fernie.

We look forward to the events happening next year and thank all the athletes and supporters for their understanding!

Gravel Royale Cancelled Due to New Covid Restrictions

Gravel Royale Cancelled Due to New Covid Restrictions

It is with mixed emotions and a very heavy heart that TransRockies is canceling the inaugural TransRockies Gravel Royale. The decision came following BC Health’s new COVID-19 restrictions announced on Friday that limits the size of ‘outdoor gatherings’ to 100 people maximum.

Over 200 people were slated to start the Gravel Royale this Monday at Panorama and pedal into Fernie on Thursday. Aaron McConnell, TransRockies President, commented, “With the number of variables occurring at such high cadence, we cannot in good faith deliver the experience we’re committed to offering our athletes.” The event included three wilderness tent camps that wouldn’t comply with the new health restrictions.

McConnell apologized for any stress this changed mandate has caused the participants and supporters. Even without the challenges of today’s pandemic-related announcement, producing a four-day gravel stage race for 200+ people is complex. Fernie was this years finish community, the participants were to ride into town by Hartley Pass and finish at Annex Park.

Local organizer Dan Savage commented,”Bike tourism has become an economic driver for Fernie and the TransRockies has been instrumental in developing this market. Gravel events have become very popular and the industry roads surrounding Fernie offer excellent riding. The TransRockies plan to build this event to over 1,000 riders and it’s disappointing to cancel the event at this stage of planning.”

The Gravel Royale Fernie stage sponsor was Gearhub Sports and the accommodation sponsors include; Park Place Lodge, Red Tree Lodge, Fernie Reservations, The Raging Elk Adventure Lodge, Snow Valley Accommodations, Fernie Lodging Company, Fernie alpine Resort and the Fernie RV Resort. Their generous support helped bring the event to Fernie and we look forward to future events.

At this time the Singletrack 6 has not been cancelled and is being considered to proceed with full compliance with the new health order. A final decision will be made this coming week. Stay tuned.