The first 3 days were in the beautiful Fernie, BC, easily my favourite place to mountain bike in the world! TR3 racers started with us, and this was a stacked field, keeping the pace for the first 3 days really high for all us 7 day'ers too. Day 1, I had a tough battle with Jean Ann Berkenpas to the finish line, attacking on the last long climb and running scared for the 20 mins of downhill back into the finish, opening up a 28 second gap. Day 2, Pork Blue, is never a great day for me....the hour 45 climbing kicks my rear end every year!! I can hold on for about an hour, then I start to crack. Petra Tlamkova, the European climbing machine living in Whistler crushed the day, beating most of the men to the top! I limited my losses to around 4 minutes, making up some time on the steep downhill, and Jean Ann took the leaders plate. Day 3 started an finished up at the ski hill and encorporated some classic singletrack.........love, love, love. Super steep climbing and very fast right singletrack descents. I had a great start, slotting in between some men into the first singletrack downhill and rocked it! I really enjoyed this day and was riding strong. My Cannondale Scalpel was climbing like the billy goat it is, and I was holding on for dear life on the descents...using the full power of the Magura brakes! The last looooooong, and I mean never ending climb, I looked over my shoulder to see Jean Ann working hard to close the gap. She caught and passed me as we laboured up the climbs....my legs burning, praying for the end of the climb. Hitting the Mega-Sore-Ass with 2 guys between myself and Jean Ann, I watched the first guy crash hard on the wet wooden bridge right at the start of the trail....great way to start a technical downhill. Cyclocrossing around him as he yelled is was okay, I hammered the downhill...wahoooooooooooooo, so fun, and crossed the line 2 seconds behind Jean Ann :)
Due to the major Kananaskis flooding, the route was drastically altered and we ended up staying 2 days in Blairmore...camped out beside the busy railway track. It's been a number of years since I've ridden the Crowsnest and I was really excited to see what Crowsnest Coffee master, Troy Misseghers had in store for us. Day 4 was a short fast day, I had a great start, managing to stick with the guys on the long road start, which made for a world of difference through the single track. Once we hit the super long steep hike-a-bike to the back side of Pass Powderkeg, the local ski hill, all that was left was to enjoy the fun new switchbacks into town. I had a great day on the bike, putting in 3 mins on Jean Ann and taking back the leaders plate. Day 5 brought back some memories of the more classic Transrockies days....longer with lots of climbing, epic views, and wide open descents.......55 km our longest day of the week, which is about half of the typical long TR day...crazy!! (can't believe I did those 100 plus km days back to back). I had another solid day, just staying out of reach of Jean Ann, just over the next hill and just around the next corner, surviving the gnarly loose sharp and moving babyhead rock field....thank you Stan's NoTubes and Kenda tires for not flatting!!
|Day 5 - Gibson Pictures|
The final Day 7, from Deadman's Flats to Canmore was TT style, with 20 second gaps. Starting with some tight slow singeltrack, it was a grind to get the legs moving on day 7. Really big climb to the highest point on the nordic centre followed by some Canada Cup/Nationals fast technical single track......sooooooo fun! Long rolling hills out to the last check point and the slow log back into town. I took the win on the day, securing my first 7 day solo victory!!
It's funny, racer brain kicks in pretty quickly, just about when we are sitting around the table at the banquet watching the footage from the week....can't wait for Singletrack 6!!
|Day 7 - Gibson Pictures|