New TR4 Event added to TransRockies

2011 will be a momentous year for the TransRockies as it celebrates 10 years as North America’s original epic mountain bike stage race. The 10th edition of the race just got a even litte more special with the addition of a new TR4 solo event that will take riders along an incredible route through the best trails in Kananaskis Country to the finish line in Canmore.
TransRockies’ first solo event, the TR3, debuted in 2009 and has grown quickly over the two years it has been held. With demand for solo riding opportunities continuing to grow, TR4 gives riders a chance to take on this epic route through front ranges of the Alberta Rockies.
The TR4 will be North America’s first four-day mountain bike stage race and will be closely modelled on 4-day TransGermany, a partner event of the TransRockies that drew over 1200 riders last year to ride through the Alps. TR4 riders will ride along side the  field for the TR7 team event and will take on the same revamped route for stages 4 and 5 that has been extensively scouted during the unseasonably warm and dry Alberta fall that has greatly extended the riding season. With help from local riding clubs and trail experts, the TransRockies team has spent extensive time on the trails this fall developing a new routing along higher terrain and away from the lowlands which turned muddy after the unseasonably wet weather in 2010.
Starting east of the village of Millarville in Kananaskis Country, the TR4 will finish with the TR7 the main event in Canmore, Alberta. Racers will camp two nights at the Little Elbow Campground, used for the first time in 2010, allowing stage 5 to be a loop on some of the favourite mountain bike trails of the area. The third night of camping for TR4 will be at Rafter Six Ranch, near Seebe, Alberta. Rafter Six, the traditional last night of the TransRockies Alberta route will welcome the riders with authentic western hospitality.
The TR4 adds a number of new opportunities for mountain bikers as they can link the TR3 and TR4 solo events to ride the entire route solo for the first time. This route also gives riders the opportunity to have a little more civilized sleeping option as they can easily spend nights in town with vehicle support from family or friends since all starts and finishes are within approximately an hour of Calgary city limits.
Just like the other TransRockies events, the TR4 will have complete a la carte pricing starting with an early bird base price of $700 (until December 31st) for the four days of backcountry racing. Riders can choose their own add-ons like meals and camping and create their own custom package. After January 1st, the cost rises to $850 but the pricing for additional services remains the same.
TR3 will remain the UCI S2 stage race at TransRockies and we expect to have a great field of elite riders at the start line in Fernie fighting for UCI points in the run up to the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Olympics.
TR4 registration will open on Thursday, November 18th at 10:00 AM MST. Only 100 registration spots are available during the early bird registration period, and these are expected to go very quickly, so be ready to register on the 18th!

2011 TransRockies Registration Opens Friday

Registration for the 10th TransRockies will open this coming Friday; October 1st. Anniversaries are always special occasions and the entire TransRockies organization is looking forward to celebrating this milestone.

This also will be Fernie’s 10th year of hosting the TransRockies. Fernie is the sole community to have the honour of being part of all 10 events. Fernie will once again be the start community hosting registration and Stages 1 and 2.

As announced in the last newsletter, we’re offering special registration incentives to past participants to encourage them to come and join us in celebrating with us in 2011. Over the last decade, thousands of racers have come to test themselves against the Rockies have and they have left with a lifetime of stories. With the theme of “Reunion”, we’re encouraging them to come back to retell those old stories and ride through some new ones with a “loyalty discount” of 10% off the base registration fee per past TransRockies participation, per person. In dollar terms, that’s $145 off per TransRockies ridden by either teammate. We’re offering this discount until November 30th, 2010.

We’ve also updated our pricing to be more flexible and allow riders to choose only the add-ons they will use. The $2900 base registration per team can be customized with a variety of single and double occupancy camping, vehicle and meal upgrades. We’re also removing the cancellation fee and will happily transfer your registration to next year if your plans for 2011 run into obstacles. For full details on our revised pricing policies, click  HERE.

Having returned to our Alberta roots with a new, more direct route through the Rockies in 2010, we’re again making rider-directed improvements in our 2011 route. Reacting quickly to feedback from 2010, we’ve already been out with local trail experts scouting new routing for stages 4 and 5 to take riders higher into the Rockies and away from the ranchlands that turned so soggy in 2011.
Sign up soon to guarantee your place in our 600-rider TransRockies and TR3 field for 2011. Visit for full registration details.

Canmore Finish!

Though riders were pushed to their limits during stage 6 of the 2010 TransRockies, there was still one test to pass before they would be able to celebrate their successful finish with family, supporters and friends. Stage 7 covered 46km from Rafter Six Ranch to Canmore with a route that ran along the TransCanada Trail and up onto the newly rebuilt trails of the Canmore Nordic Centre before dropping down into the town centre for the final turns of the pedals down Main Street to the finish line.


After a couple of epic days in the high mountains, the weather turned fair for Stage 7 and riders were treated to Canmore and the Rockies at their most beautiful and benign. With soft white clouds in the sky and sun dappling the peaks, it was hard to believe that just the day before, racers had been pushed to the limits of their endurance on a day which forced even the strongest riders to think purely in terms of survival.

There were few shakeups in the standings on Stage 7 and the short run into Canmore confirmed that the teams who sat atop the standings were truly the best in their divisions in 2010.

Having retaken the lead In the marquee Open Men’s division after a Stage 4 mechanical meltdown, the Kona duo of Barry Wicks and Kris Sneddon were in no mood to take any chances and stormed to another win with a super quick 2:27 finishing time to confirm their 2010 overall win by over 40 minutes over the 2009 Champions Stefan Widmer and Marty Lazarski of Rocky Mountain Factory Team who placed second on the day and second overall. “I’ve done a lot of stage races and that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” said Sneddon. “Even the last stage was tougher than we expected—really fun, but tough. We’re glad for the win and looking forward to celebrating with a few beers tonight.”

Sneddon has been selected to race as part of the Canadian National Team at the 2010 World Mountain Bike Championships to be held in three weeks at Mont St. Anne, Quebec while Barry Wicks will start his preparations for the Fall cyclocross season where he’s consistent a top contender in the US Pro series.

Third place overall was still up in the air with three teams battling for the title. Probably the fastest team out of the three was the Colorado-based Honey Stinger pair of Dax Massey and Nate Bird who had been plagued with mechanicals throughout the event starting with a broken front wheel on stage one and including multiple flats, broken chains and even a broken pedal on Stage 6. With a 14 minute gap to make up to the 3rd place Polish team (Filip Kuzniak/ Szymon Zacharski) they poured their all into Stage 7 to take third place on the day and could then only wait to see how far behind the Poles would finish and if they could gain enough time to grab 3rd overall back. The clock started ticking when they crossed the line at 2:38:46, and they knew that they needed the Poles to finish around the 2:52:20 mark to win . . . the timing clock showed 2:40 then 2:45 and their chances were still alive. Other teams kept streaming in and each time came the question, “it is them?” The clock passed 2:50 and they needed less than more minutes but finally a team appeared at the end of the road pedalling with real desperation—the Poles. When they crossed the line at 2:50:32 to hold on to third, it was elation for Filip and Szymon and heartbreak for Nate and Dax.


The next team across the line to confirm their overall title were local heroes Jeff Neilsen and Mical Dyck who won the Open Mixed division for a second straight year. In the mud of stage 6, Neilsen took a clump of mud in the eye and was riding the singletrack on memory for much of Stage 7 with one eye badly out of focus. Like Kris Sneddon, Mical Dyck who also won the Bronze Medal at the 2010 National Championships, will be lining up in at the 2010 Mountain Bike World Championships in a Canadian National Team jersey.

Czech duo of Martin Horak and Milan Spolc also repeated as champions in their category—they were pushed hard this year by two teams including the local Deadgoat Racing/Bicycle Café duo of Pat Doyle and Craig Bartlett. Pat and Craig used their trail knowledge and a huge day 7 effort to grab the stage win in front of their friends and family. They’re sure to get big cheers for their stage win and 2nd place overall when they mount the podium at tonight’s awards banquet.

Another local team who won the day and the overall were the Terrascape/Deadgoat Racing Open Women’s duo of Alana Heise and Trish Graczyk who held off a challenge from 2009 winners Magi and Kate Scallion who had one more short ride to make at the end stage to their homes in Canmorde.

In the 80+ Mixed category, Brazilians Mario Roma and Adriana Nascimento (Brasil Soul MTB) provided some of the international colour for the event winning five stages on their way to the overall win. They will be joined in the final winners podium by the Moutaincruzers (Joe McCarthy/ Randy Walker) who quietly had a dominant ride in the 100+ age category taking six of seven stages on their way to a satisfying win. These Ontario residents proved that even flatlanders can get up and down the mountains quickly.

On August 8th Nearly 450 mountain bike riders rolled out of Fernie to test themselves against the Rockies either in the 3-day solo TR3 or the seven-day team TransRockies. Seven days later, the epic drew to a close under sunny skies with the spectacular peaks of Canmore as a backdrop. Before the scrapes have healed and the aches lessened, stories will be told and riders will start to plan and dream about the next race in 2011 when the TransRockies will celebrate its 10th Anniverary. But first there are stories to be told and winners to be celebrated.



Riders Dig Deep to Survive the Hardest Day

Friendships are always strong and easy when skies are sunny and the going is smooth but life teaches us time and time again that the true measure of the bond in not measured in the sun, but when the weather turns bad and when the struggles begin.

So it is for teams in the TransRockies where impediments like differences in fitness and skill, technical issues and sickness are easily managed when weather is good and trails are dry. When the skies turn dark and the temperature drops, as happened on Friday, waiting for a slower or ailing partner means that the extra hours on the trail aren’t measured in extra sunshine but in wetness and cold.

Stage 6 of the 2010 TransRockies took riders from deep in the Elbow River Valley along three huge ridge ridgeline passes and then up and over Lusk Creek Pass down into the Bow River Valley to the finish line at Rafter Six Ranch. It was the most epic stage of 2010 and the riders were confronted with Rocky Mountain weather in all its power.


Late afternoon rain and hail the day before had left a coating of fresh August snow at elevations only slightly above than the 2200 metre high point of Stage 6. It was going to be cold at the top of JumpingPound Ridge and Cox Hill, the day’s twin summits. Intermittent showers and swirling clouds combined with the sub 5-degree temperatures on top confirmed that it was going to be a day of attrition and survival, rather than pure speed, out on the trails. This would be the day when terrain and conditions would test teams to the limit and when riders would have to be constantly aware of their teammate’s condition as much their own.

Though the TransRockies is intended to be a great test, it’s never been about unnecessary risks to riders and organizers made a decision on the morning of the stage to offer riders the option of cutting out the high-altitude ride along JumpingPound Ridge and Cox Hill, saving about 800 metres of climbing and two long sections above the treeline. Riders who chose to do so would be assigned a penalty but would still be considered officially part of the event as the 65km and roughly 1500 metres of climbing are more than enough to count as a full day’s work.

Many riders chose to take the shorter option though almost all the teams racing for points, position and prizes took the longer route. Whether they chose the shorter or longer options, riders streamed through the finish shattered by their battle with the elements. Normon Thibault of Frontrunners/Kona is a veteran of multiple stage and adventure races and said at the finish that Stage Six was “probably the hardest stage I have ever done” but the conditions seemed to suit him and his partner Wendy Simms just fine as they forged through the mud and clouds to their first stage victory of 2010. Their strong ride also took them up the standings a place so that they sit in second place after 6 stages.

Other riders described a ride of pure survival across the top where temperatures plummeted and winds gusted up to 50km/h. Not conditions for the faint of heart or weak of spirit. As so often happens in extreme conditions, time differences on the day were magnified by mechanical and physical issues. Bike parts that never fail, did, and Teams who seemed to be working in harmony ran into disagreements as cold and fatigue set in.


In the Open Men’s race Team Kona was the only team to finish the stage in less than 4½ hours and padded their overall lead to the point that only a major mechanical will stop them from grabbing the title tomorrow. Behind them, the Polish team had their best race of the week, finishing in third and jumping up three places in the Overall to sit third with one day to go.

Like Frontrunners/Kona in the Open Mixed Division, first time stage winners were the order of the day with new stage winners in no fewer than four of the six categories. In the 80+ Men Division, Team Midas (David Hayward/Michael Powell) won their first stage of 2010. In the 80+ Mixed Division the Dynamic Charlotte Duo of Cricket Butler and Brian Conroy scord their first victory as well while the Dutch-Connection of Peter Meijler and Gerard Prince broke the clean sweep of the MountainCruzers in the 100+ Division winning their first stage.

Stage Six was proof that team format which has been integral to the TransRockies since day 1 is still part of what makes it so special. The teams who worked together best—looking after one another and drawing strength from each other, finished best and safest on the day. While endurance sports tend to attract individualists, the TransRockies forces them out of their comfort zone with the lesson that rewards earned as a team are very often deeper and more rewarding than solo efforts.

With just one stage left along the TransCanada Trail and up the Bow Valley, the end is in sight for the over 200 riders who have competed six days and 350km this far through the wild and unforgiving Canadian Rockies. Friends and family will await them on Canmore’s scenic Main Street with the Three Sisters as a backdrop to begin the celebrations. With day 6 as the ulitmate, every person who is awarded a 2010 TransRockies Finisher t-shirt and medal will know that they have been hard won.

TR 2010 Stage 6 Stage Results

TR 2010 Stage 6 General Classification

Anchor D Ranch—Little Elbow Camp

After a day of riding over and through the foothills of the Rockies to the west of Calgary, riders headed back into the heart of the mountains on Stage 5. In doing so, they left the mud and meadows of the cattle ranch lands behind entered the high peaks and spectacular valleys of Kananaskis Country.


The 54km route starting at Anchor D Ranch included no major passes or high-altitude rides but a relentless up and down profile and endless singletrack added up to another gruelling day in the Rockies for the over 200 riders still moving toward the finish line in the TransRockies.

After losing 43 minutes and the overall leaders jerseys the day before, Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks of Team Kona came out determined to set a shattering pace and overcome their 9 minute deficit to the first-placed Rocky Mountain Factory team of Stefan Widmer and Marty Lazarski. From the gun, Team Kona pushed the pace and was able to drop the rest of the field early. With a relentless performance, free of mechanical-problems, they were able to push their final gap over Rocky Mountain to almost 20 minutes by the end of the race which they finished in just a few second over 3 hours and 23 minutes, grabbing the leaders jerseys back and establishing a solid 11-minute overall lead with two stages left to go.


Behind them, the Honey Stinger duo of Nate Bird and Dax Massey finally shook off the mechanical woes that have plagued them since their race started with an inauspicious smashed wheel on Stage 1. With a clean run, they were able to chase the Rocky Mountain boys all the way to the finish line for a strong 3rd place finish which moved them up into 5th overall on GC. With 4th on the day Team Timex/Sugoi held onto the last overall podium spot. These two teams look set to battle the 4th placed Belgian Granville/Trustteam for the last podium spot all the way to the finish line in Canmore.

After surviving an early three-way challenge, the 2009 Champion CzechMasters (Milan Spolc/Martin Horak) took a stranglehold on the 80+ men’s division with four straight stage wins. Their closest competition Team Mule Bar/Abergavenny Cycling have been unable to close the gap as one half of the team Peter Turnbull has been struggling for two stages with stomach problems that have left him unable to eat. He’s bravely fighting to the finish line each day with partner George Rose but is unable to ride at full speed and close the gap to the Czechs.

It’s testament to the international flavour of the TransRockies that, after five days, the six sets of leaders jerseys have so far been held by riders from no fewer than six countries (Canada, USA, Brazil, Czech Republic, England, Wales).

One of the truths of the TransRockies is that there are two different race experiences, one for the elite riders and one for the recreational riders who can sometimes be out on course for twice as long as the elites. By the time most of the recreational athletes reach the finish line, they top finishers are showered, massaged and changed, and are often grabbing a recovery nap before dinner.

The summer weather pattern of the mountains normally brings any precipitation for the day during the afternoon when the heat builds and storm clouds bloom. Stage 5 was a case in point as all the teams who managed to finish in 5 hours or less rode the stage under dry skies while teams who were out longer than five hours were caught out in a storm which rolled fierce black clouds down the valley. Storms like this are not unusual in summer and the TransRockies team kicked into gear making gallons of hot chocolate and tea and putting up extra tarps and tents to provide a dry place for the riders as they came across the finish line.

Even through the clouds, the riders can see and feel the finish line coming ever nearer with just two more stages left until they roll down Main Street in Canmore to be greeted by friends, family and well wishers celebrating their successful completion of an epic 2010 TransRockies.

TR 2010 Stage 5 Stage Results

TR 2010 Stage 5 General Classification