TransRockies Tinhorn Creek Stage 7

Travis Hauck finishes with partner Nick Gould, left, and Mathieu Belanger-Barrette
John Gibson Photography
The Tinhorn Creek TransRockies Stage Seven broke cool and clear in the quiet town of Crowsnest Pass as riders prepared to take on the final epic ride into Fernie. A late evening thunderstorm complete with double rainbows had tucked riders into their tents for the night, and they would need the rest for what was to be the most challenging yet rewarding stage of the entire week. After traversing a power line road, the main climb of the day began in earnest up to the high point for the day some 1900 meters from were they started. Panoramic views greeted riders as they punched through into the Fernie trail system and down the 1000 meter decent of Porky Blue. A short lap on the new flow trail Contra and then into FloWRKR had riders hooting and hollering as they rolled across the final finish line and the end of an amazing week of mountain biking across the Rockies.
Double rainbow over Transrockies tent village
John Gibson Photography
Zoe Roy traveled to TransRockies this year at the very last minute, getting the invite just four days before this years event. She had never done a mountain bike race before, but stayed strong all week and finished solidly on the podium with her partner Barry Wicks in the Open Mixed category. Here’s what she had to say about the week, as told to Barry:

“It is pretty amazing what the human body can do. Before this race, any one of these days would have totally cratered me, but there is something about doing back to back days that tricks your mind into keeping going. It’s pretty great to experience that.

My favourite part of the week was that we started way over there, and finished here, and we rode our bikes the entire way. It feels like no time at all and also an eternity has passed all at the same time. 

It’s going to be strange to not have to get up and ride my bike tomorrow. I feel like there will be a bit of a depression in the next few days as the body and mind readjust back into the real world and I have to think about more than just riding my bike and having snacks all day.

I was so impressed with everyone out there doing the race. It was a very hard physical and mental challenge, and everyone performed so well. It was very cool to watch that process for everyone.”
Vincent Lombardi and partner Maxime Nguyen
John Gibson Photography
TransRockies Classic goes on hiatus for a year in 2020, but Singletrack 6 is on the docket and is sure to be an amazing single track experience for anyone looking to spend some quality time out in the woods getting rad on their bikes and winning at life. See you on the trails!

Full Results HERE.

TransRockies ProGold Stage 6

The ProGold Stage Six of the TransRockies Classic took riders from Elkford, BC, across the Continental Divide and up to the finish at Crowsnest Pass. After a mellow start, today’s stage saw riders turn up Deadmans Pass and crest over the Divide and even briefly into Alberta. Summiting the final climb, riders were treated to stunning views of Crowsnest Mountain before a final flowing singletrack descent down to the finish line.
Mathieu Belanger-Barrette
John Gibson photos: @GibbyMtbPhoto
Magda Mihura, an Argentinian currently living is Sao Paulo, Brazil, signed up for the TransRockies only ten days before the start. She arrived early to visit Banff, then hitched a ride with some of the race crew down to the start line in Panorama. Here’s what she had to say about her TransRockies experience, as told to Barry Wicks:

“I did the Cape Epic race earlier this year with a friend from Brazil. It was pretty fun, so I decided to do some more traveling to ride my bike. I did a small tour type of trip to Guatemala, but then I saw TransRockies and thought if there were something like 200 people there, I was sure to find some people to ride with. I’ve never traveled by myself before, so flying up here and doing the race alone was kind of scary. It has been an amazing week though. Everyone is so friendly and hanging out and talking all the time and I feel very welcomed. I am happy I came here.

Back home I am just a mom type of person, and some people find it strange that I go do this kind of stuff, but to me it feels very good to do things that maybe not a lot of mom type people would do.”
Nick Gould leads partner Travis Hauck and solo leader Mathieu Belanger-Barrette
John Gibson photos: @GibbyMtbPhoto

TransRockies: Planet Foods Stage 4 & Honey Stinger Stage 5

John Gibson photos: @GibbyMtbPhoto
The Planet Foods TransRockies Classic Stage 4 took riders from the Nipika Mountain Resort to Whiteswan Lake, BC. After a big day of epic views, riders rode the last few kilometers down the White River to base camp where they were greeted by one of the most picturesque camp sites thus far. A wildflower meadow surrounded by towering peaks, complete with two friendly horses and a wonderful swimming hole had riders basking in luxury following the stage. An impromtu fire pit was called into duty and s’mores roasted as the sun set on another epic day in the Rockies.

Cedric Clyburn, from Asheville, NC drove up to the TransRockies with his Dad. It took them five days and they stopped in Kentucky, which Cedric described as “not great” and also at Bad Lands National Park which was “Pretty cool”. Cedric just graduated from high school, and has never done anything like TransRockies before. Here’s what he had to say about the week so far, as told to Barry Wicks:

“This is probably the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I used to not be very into Canada for some reason, but man, after being here, I really like it. My mom is from France, so we usually go there every summer. She and my sister flew up here and met us and are supporting us in the race. I got on the podium on day two and dedicated it to her because I think she is amazing. I’ve been having an awesome time riding with everyone, meeting tons of people out on the trail, and having great conversations about all kinds of things. I talked to a guy for like 15 minutes today and now I’m totally rethinking my major for next year.”
John Gibson photos: @GibbyMtbPhoto
The Honey Stinger Stage 5 of the TransRockies Classic broke clear and cool as racers prepared to take on challenging an 87km push with one timed segment and a neutral transfer over a high mountain pass in route to Elkford for the night. Dramatic views and challenging yet rewarding trails capped off another stunning day of racing. Photographer John Gibson commented that the media squad had their own epic version of TransRockies today. They used team work and brute force to haul their motorcycles over the final pass littered with babyhead sized rocks and steep grades that many of riders found challenging on their bikes, let alone on motorcycles.
Toru Watanabe from Kanagawa, Japan and Yuzo Kawai from Sendai, Japan, met via faceook five months ago when Toru asked Yuzo if he would come to Canada and race TransRockies with him. They decided to team up after talking for five minutes, but only met each other in person six days before the start of the race. Toru moved to Canada after traveling to Vancouver on a working vacation and trying mountain biking on Vancouver’s North Shore for the first time in 2002. He went back to Japan, bought a mountain bike, and found a way to move his company over to Calgary so he coud ride his bike more. Yozo has been riding and racing xc mountain bikes for a long time. He says in Japan, there are many trails, but they are all secret and you have to be taken by the locals who built them. Otherwise, it is very hard to find places to ride. Toru and Yuzo have made an excellent team all week, with Toru leading the way on the downhills and Yuzo doing all the work on the hills and flats and they say that they are very complimentary riders. They are excited for the remaining stages and very excited for the after party in Fernie were a dance party is alleged to be planned. 
The TransRockies Classic continues tomorrow with the penultimate stage from Elkford to Crowsnest Pass. The route, which covers 89km and has nearly 2000 meters of climbing, crosses over the Continental Divide and nearly into Alberta before delivering riders down more world class singletrack into Crowsnest Pass.

Full Results HERE.
Lyne Bessette leads Christian Gauvin
John Gibson photos: @GibbyMtbPhoto

TransRockies Stage 3

Photo credit John Gibson
Electrical storms overnight had the start line buzzing with extra energy this morning at Nipika Mountain Resort and the Thule Stage Three of the TransRockies Classic. Today’s stage featured the world class trails around the resort, and light precipitation had the trails in prime condition for the 41 km of high speed racing on tap.

Today’s stage highlights included the Natural Bridge trail that followed a raging torrent of a creek down a slot canyon, and the No Right Turns trail, perched atop a precipitous spine over the Kootenay River.  
Chris Warnke, who is riding with Cam Vos in the Open Mens teams of two category, commented that today’s stage was the best one so far. “The trails here are so well maintained, it was fantastic. There were awesome technical sections, plenty of roots, and it was tons of fun. I live in Edmonton, and we don’t really have any mountains, so the trails there are all along the river. Today reminded me a lot of those trails and I had a phenomonal time.” 

Today’s stage also marked the conclusion of the TR3 edition of the race, a shortened three day version of the classic TransRockies experience.
Vincent Lombardi and Maxime Nguyen
John Gibson photography
Troy Nixon, from Fernie, BC placed second in the Open Mens Solo divison of TR3. Here’s what he had to say about his experience the last three days out on course as told to Barry Wicks:

“I turn 50 this year, and was able to convince my wife I should do the race as part of my 50th birthday present to myself. The three day version gave me the ability to sneak away for a few days of riding amazing trails, and still take the family out to the lake this week.

The racing in our group was super tight. I was third on days one and two. I was about 53 seconds back from the guy in front of me, and was able to chase him down today on the trails and put enough time on him to finish up second overall.

I am the president of the Fernie Mountain Bike Club, and serve on the Fernie City Council as an elected offical as well. My boss, the Mayor of Fernie, was super supportive of me doing the race. When I told her I was planning to do it for my birthdy this year she was fully on board. In Fernie, we are all about team work.”

TransRockies Stage 2

Photo credit John Gibson
Stage Two of the TransRockies Classic was a 75km journey from K2 Ranch to Nipika Mountain Resort. Leaving the Purcell Mountains behind, riders headed east into the Rockies. The route initially followed an active mining road before turning up a drainage that eventually petered out in to a degraded 4×4 track and finally onto a historic First Nations Trading trail as it crested the summit of Tegart Pass. Expansive views of the Royal Group peaks greeted racers as they descended to the Kootenay River Valley and on to Nipika Resort where cold beverages, a swimming hole and ample leisure activities awaited.
Annie David
Photo credit John Gibson
Lindsay Ford from Calgary who is currently sitting in second place in the Open Women’s field, had a strong ride today. Here’s what she had to say about today’s stage, as told to Barry Wicks:

“My favourite part of the day was riding past Tim Hortons during the neutral roll out this morning and seeing all the bikes lined up out front. I bet most of them were not from Canada.

The climb up over the pass was great. When the intention of the ride is to traverse from a specific place to another, route possibilities expand. I’d never think to go ride what we did today on a weekend, but doing it as part of the race experience was awesome.

I got a new bike and thought I’d sign up for a seven day stage race. I haven’t really raced very much, but I really love riding my bike and it seemed this would be a good way to do a lot of that.”

Stage Three of the TransRockies Classic consists of a 41km time trial, and the first day of wire to wire racing without neutral sections, all on the world class singletrack trails of Nipika Mountain Resort. Racers will enjoy another leisurely afternoon and night at the resort after what is certain to be an amazing day on the trails.
Nick Gould, Travis Hauck and Mathieu Belanger-Barrette.
Photo credit John Gibson

TransRockies Stage 1

Photo credit John Gibson
The start line of any race is intense, but that of the first day of a seven day stage race brings the energy, anticipation and stoke to a whole new level. Add a thousand meter climb right off the bat, and you can feel the energy pulsing through the field like the low grade hum of a bee hive.

Yesterday’s Stage One of the TransRockies Classic began with the ascent of Panorama Mountain, bringing riders to the highest point of the entire week of racing at 2500 meters. A raucous descent down the Hopeful Creek Trail delivered riders back to the base area and to the end of the day’s first timed segment. Riders commented that the views from the top were quite stunning, and the descent was world class fun, albeit slimy and hand punishing from being so gripped. (This trail was previously used as a stage at the TransBC Enduro, and is pretty spicy on an XC bike!)

A short neutral cruise down Toby Creek Road allowed for some moments of composure before racers were greeted with 11km of punchy climbs and descents on the Lillian Lake Trail network and the day’s final timed segment.
A final neutral stage led riders through the town of Invermere, where some racers took advantage of the non timed portion of the day to stop off for Cafe au Laits and sandwiches before the final push down the Westside Legacy Trail to the K2 Ranch and the race’s second base camp.

Yesterday’s stage winners in the Open Mixed Category, Kate and Willy, came all the way from New Zealand to take part in today’s race. They went out fast from the start and never looked back, gaining an advantage of nearly 20 minutes. when the day’s timed segments were added up. 

Here’s what they had to say about the stage, as told to Barry Wicks:

“Kate: We decided to bugger off from the start because I always tend to get stuck in the crowd and that is stressful. We got over the climb pretty good, but then the descent hit.

Willy: Running a seat dropper is an unnatural feeling to me, but we had them on for this race. After feeling like I was squatting over the crapper for 45 minutes, I clipped a pedal on the side hill section and went tumbling down the hill. Both my legs cramped when I stood up and I could barely make it back up to the trail.

Kate: After that, we just tried to keep it rolling smoothly. I wasn’t feeling it on the punchy up and down stuff on the second timed section, but Willy is good at that stuff, so we made a good team today. Once we were through that bit, we just kept on the gas and got to the finish.”
Christian Gauvin and Lyne Bessette
Photo credit John Gibson
Stage two from K2 ranch starts with a 25km neutral roll out before riders take on a climb up and over Tegart Pass and on to the Nipika Mountain Resort for a total stage distance of 75km with 1750 meters of climbing. The neutral portion of the race passes right by stage two sponsor Kicking Horse Coffee, so the smart riders will be packing a few loonies in their pockets to take advantage of delicious coffee and pastries available in route.

Click HERE for full results.

Firecracker 50- a race to put on the calendar

July is the perfect time to race mountain bikes at altitude and this year was no different with beautiful warm sunny weather and a festival atmosphere in Breckenridge, CO.  The firecracker 50, a 50 mile mtn bike race on the 4th of July, is one of the most popular marathon races in the country.  Attracting 800-1000 participants each year, it’s an event most people don’t forget.  The race started in bustling downtown breckenridge, CO with tourists, racers, friends and family getting ready to celebrate the 4th of July and the race.  At 9:30, the first wave of pro cyclists lead out the parade behind the town mayor. Thousands of people cheered them on as they headed out on the first 7 mile road climb. This is a great start as it breaks up competitors before the single track. Once on the single track, this year the course went down all of bakers tank- a rooty fast descent to the new Valdoro trail and Laurium climb.  Epic snow fall over the winter had made the normal course still unrideable.  The new climb was challenging and a good replacement for the difficult little French climb.  After climbing Laurium; it’s a fun descent down to Aid 2 and then a new turn on to Wire Patch and the Yellow Brick Road climb before turning back to the original course. All the snow and rain this year made for excellent trail conditions, the 4 feed zones offered handouts allowing people to grab aid without stopping and there were fans everywhere cheering racers on.  The course is two 25 mile laps allowing people to race solo or as duo teams. Each lap ends in Carter Park which is full of friends and families camped out enjoying the day.  

For the pro men, it was Ryan Standish (Summit/ Cannondale) that won, followed by Howard Grotts (Specialized) in 2nd and Todd Wells (Sinberg Lending) in 3rd.  It was a close race for the top two men with Standish winning by only 38 seconds.  Wells rode the last few miles back with a flat tire finishing 3 minutes 13 seconds back.  

For the pro women, Marlee Dixon (Pivot/Pearl Izumi) won followed by Lydia Tanner and Jenny Smith (Team Smith).  Smith and Dixon rode in together the first lap then starting the 2nd lap, Smith ran into some mechanical issues.  Tanner passed her and caught Dixon on Yellow Brick road but was passed back by Dixon at Aid 3.   This is Standish’s first Firecracker 50 win and Dixon’s 3rd win.   This years prize purse was increased to $2000 for 1st, $1000 for 2nd, $500 for 3rd and $250 for 4th.  

Firecracker 50 Increases Pro Payout

It’s less then a week away from one of the most popular 50 mile races in the country! The firecracker 50 in Breckenridge, CO lights up the town on the 4th of July.  This is one of the only races where riders get to lead off a parade. At 9:30am racers wave and are cheered through the streets of Breckenridge by thousands of on-lookers.  Next it’s 25 miles of amazing Colorado single track and dirt roads. Starting at 9600’, this race is a test of endurance and strength. Breckenridge is one of the most popular mtn bike destinations in the world, and the firecracker 50 gives competitors a great preview of their world-class trails.  

After 25 miles, racers come through Carter Park where they are cheered by family and friends. At this point duo racers head out for their lap and solo racers head back out for another lap.  

The firecracker 50 has long been known as race where you can travel light and fast. With 3 fully stocked aid stations per lap and bottle handouts for all, there’s no need for packs- just grab a bottle and snack from one of the staff and go! 

For all the pros this is the best year to race the firecracker with a huge prize purse! 1st- $2000, 2nd- $1000, 3rd- $500, 4th- $250- equal pay out! 

After 50 miles of racing, most veteran competitors will agree, this is the best scene and venue. Carter Park is full of family and friends socializing and enjoying a beautiful day at carter park with catered food and beer.  

Register before it’s sold out at 

Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike EPIC- Stage Five & overall results

May 27th, 2019

Written by: Jen & Anthony Toops

The final stage of the 2019 Trans-Sylvania Epic, Bald Eagle, was the fastest and shortest of the event with 2,376ft of climbing in 22.5 miles.  Today was the last chance for racers to make moves to secure their GC positions. 

Jeff Rupnow fighting to make moves in GC position

The day started from camp and was routed mostly through trails around the scout camp.  Previous rain left some very swampy areas for riders to navigate.  This stage would also have one of the most technical and fast enduro sections of the entire race, and would claim a few riders before the day was over.

Men’s Open

Bishop trying to hold Lewis from gaining any time on stage 5

The men’s race was full gas from the gun.  Bryan Lewis threw attack after attack to try and dislodge Jeremiah Bishop and take the GC.  Gaps would form and Bishop would crawl back, never letting Lewis out of his sight. 

Lewis trying to pull away from Bishop

Bishop, who only had a 30 second advantage going in to the day, had to cover every move with that small of a lead.  The two would come to the line neck and neck with Lewis edging out Bishop by 1 second with a time of 1:23:40, to Bishop’s 1:23:41.  Kerry Werner rounded out the podium with a time of 1:28:59.

Werner staying upright on a slippery downhill

Women’s Open

Dixon fighting to hold on to her GC position

The length of todays stage would not be helpful for Marlee Dixon’s assualt on the GC lead of Britt Mason.  The two were never more than a minute apart all day.  Dixon kept the pressure on Mason from start to finish.  In the end Britt Mason finished in 1:46:36, less than 30 seconds ahead of Marlee Dixon at 1:47:01, and Emily Werner was third with a time of 1:52:20.

Emily Werner gets 3rd on stage 5 and her first podium finish of TSE
Stage 5 highlights from Dirtwire TV

For stage five results CLICK HERE

Overall 5 day Men’s Open results:

1st Jeremiah Bishop 10:43:09, 2nd Bryan Lewis 10:43:48, 3rd Kerry Werner 11:06:43, 4th John Petrylak 11:43:00, 5th Luke Hlavenka 12:15:10

Overall 5 day Women’s Open results:

1st Britt Mason 13:37:07, 2nd Marlee Dixon 13:42:22, 3rd Julia Thumel 13:57:54, 4th Bryna Blanchard 14:32:59, 5th Emily Werner 14:33:49.

Overall results CLICK HERE

TSE will return in 2020 for it’s 10th Edition! The five day race will be May 21-25, 2020 with the three day option being held May 23-25, 2020.

Registration will open August 1, 2019!

Photo credit: @iconmediaasheville & @bruceBuckley

Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike EPIC- Stage Four

May 26th, 2019

Written by: Jen & Anthony Toops

Stage 4 of the 2019 TSE Epic once again started from the scout camp, after yesterdays remote location.  The Tussey mountain stage is notorious for its near non-stop technical rock gardens.  This is a stage where mechanical problems can make or break your race.  Line choice is crucial to keeping your tires healthy and drive train in one piece.  The 3,274ft of climbing in 32.9 rough miles was going to be a test.

Single-speeder Joe Worboy working his way through the rocks

Men’s Open

The lead pack up the tough climb on Tussey

Some drama just after the start would see Bryan Lewis playing catch up from a flat front tire after the first double track descent.  He was able to plug it quickly, but would enter the climb up the Tussey single track in around 8th position.  Lewis would end up catching the lead duo of Bishop and Werner about half way through the Tussey ridge line. 

Bishop leading stage 4 through one of many technical rock gardens

The lead pack focused on riding smooth through the rock gardens, avoiding any problems.  Lewis and Bishop would end up getting a gap on the chasing Werner going back up another Tussey climb.  These two would ride together until a tough single track climb where Bryan Lewis would attack and cross the line just 15 seconds ahead with a time of 2:08:36, Bishop was 2nd at 2:08:51, and Kerry Werner 3rd at 2:13:00

Stage 4 results: 1st Bryan Lewis, 2nd Jeremiah Bishop, 3rd Kerry Werner

Women’s Open

The general classification was tested on today’s stage with a new winner and a new face on the podium.  The top three would start the day riding together but soon Britt Mason would open a gap on the chasing pack. 

Britt Mason powering up a rocky climb

Near the 3 bridges trail section, Marlee Dixon would pass Mason for first place.  Mason was suffering from a slow tire leak which she would have to deal with before finishing the day.  Dixon would hold that lead to the finish and gain back 3:30 on GC with a time of 2:40:31.  Britt Mason managed to hang on with the mechanical issues for 2nd at 2:44:01. 

Marlee Dixon looking smooth through the rocks.

Amelia Capuano had a solid ride in the difficult trails of Tussey to grab her first podium spot in 3rd at 2:44:53.  Julia Thumel would finish just a few minutes back in 4th at 2:47:43.

Amelia Capuano gets her first podium spot taking third for stage 4
Stage 4 results: 1st Marlee Dixon, 2nd Britt Mason, 3rd Amelia Capuano

For stage four results CLICK HERE

Photo credit: @iconmediaasheville & @bruceBuckley