Singletrack 6 – Stage 6 – Golden, BC

Matieu Belanger-Barette and Sonya Looney Take Overall Glory at Singletrack 6: Rotem Ishay and Kate Aardal take Tinhorn Creek final stage honors

Written by: Marlee Dixon

Today was the last day of Singletrack 6, the sixth stage and ‘Queen stage’ of the race. It’s the longest day on the bike, almost twice the distance of the shorter days, at 35 miles with 5400’ of elevation gain.

It was a tough day on the bike and an awesome course to end the race. The trails were beautiful, flowy, singletrack with nonstop great riding.   Even though the course has a lot of elevation gain, it doesn’t feel that much harder than previous days because of all the rolling ascents.  With each climb, racers were rewarded with a lot of fast descents, and fun riding. The course takes racers to the top of stunning, sheer cliffs with spectacular views, where it’s impossible not to look up for a second or two and take it in.

Riders enjoying some of that incredible Singletrack 6 one-track. Photo by Gibson Images

Riders enjoying some of that incredible Singletrack 6 one-track. Photo by Gibson Images

With 3 aid stations and a whiskey/ whipping cream stop, for racers just looking to have a fun day on some great trails, today had some of the best riding of the week.  For racers going hard, todays route made for a challenging, endurance test.

For the pro men, Rotem Ishay (Jamis Bikes) won the stage in a time of 2:47:28; followed by Mathieu Belanger-Barrette (Pivot Cycles) in 2nd (2:50:01) and teammates Manuel Weissenbacher and Andreas Hartmann (Craft-Rocky Mountain Factory Team) tying for 3rd (2:51:02).

Teammates Weissenbacher and Andreas Hartmann took off in the front up the first road climb but not long after, Ishay took over the lead followed by Belanger-Barrette. From there Ishay, after having stomach issues the last few days was finally feeling good again, picked up the pace and pushed to stay in the lead.

For the overall competition, Belanger-Barrette wins in a time of 12:52:04 followed by Weissenbacher in 2nd (12:58:59)  and Hartmann in 3rd (13:00:16).

Marlee Dixon leads over a bridge. Photo by Gibson Images

Marlee Dixon leads over a bridge. Photo by Gibson Images

For the pro women, Kate Aardal (Ridley Cycles) was first, from the start today, and won in a time of 3:16:03.   Sonya Looney (FreakShow/Defeet) followed in right behind Aardal in 2nd (3:17:17) and Jodie Willett (For the People) came  in 3rd (3:18:03).

Aardal was in 1st for most of the race with Looney catching her a few times.  Willett and Marlee Dixon (Pivot Cycles) vied back and forth for 3rd place until Dixon dropped a chain after the timed descent and wasn’t able to catch her again.

For the overall, Looney wins in a time of 14:53:49,  Aardal comes in 2nd (15:03:51) and Willett gains 3rd (15:28:46) overtaking Marlee Dixon on the final stage.

Dropping in. Photo by Gibson Images

Dropping in. Photo by Gibson Images

Singletrack 6 ‘Ride the Rockies’ moved through 4 towns this year including Fernie, Cranbrook, Kimberley and Golden, British Columbia. Every day offered racers new trail systems with very different terrain, bringing out an experience unlike any other stage race. With the top finisher averaging a 10 mph speed most stages, each course was challenging with a lot of climbing but also well planned to offer epic descents and great singletrack riding. By changing locations each year, Singletrack 6, is constantly bringing racers to some of Canada’s best mountain biking trails. Next year hits the west Kootenays including the town of Rosslin and the world famous “Seven Summits” trail. The course is sure to be yet another awesome week of racing.

Click Here for full results from Stage 6

Click Here for final GC results following Stage 6 

Singletrack 6 – Stage 5 – Golden, BC

Weissenbacher Bounces Back but Belanger-Barrette Holds onto GC Lead While Looney Continues Her Win Streak on Smith Optics Stage 5

Written by: Marlee Dixon

Stage 5 of Singletrack 6 lived up to its expectations of being a fun, rocky and fast course. The race rolled out of downtown Golden and up into the Shadow Mountain trail systems.

Canadians... Photo by: Gibson Images

Canadians… Photo by: Gibson Images

The first 6 miles were all climbing; starting with a road climb and continuing the climb up a downhill singletrack.  This section gives racers a chance to spread out before its onto the first flowy DH of the day.  Next racers climb again, this time heading into the timed descent. A true downhill trail; steep, fast, trail over rocks, drops and roots that was used before in the Redbull Psychosis.

After dropping the heart-pounding downhill, the rest of the course includes some smaller climbs, a few rocky sections, technical features and a few more purpose built bike-park feel downhills. Today’s course touched on all aspects of mountain bike racing – a long climb to start off the race, fast technical descents, rock gardens and bermy downhills.

Mathieu Belanger-Barrette continues to lead after day 5. Photo by: Gibson Images

Mathieu Belanger-Barrette continues to lead after day 5. Photo by: Gibson Images

For the pro men, Manuel Weissenbacher (Craft-Rocky Mountain Factory Team) bounced back from a disastrous stage 4 winning the day in a time of 1:45:21.  Mathieu Belanger-Barrette (Pivot Cycles) came in 2nd in 1:46:13 followed by Marc-Andre Daigle (Garneau) in 1:47:38.

Weissenbacher and teammate Andreas Hartmann charged to the one-track climb first but during the climb Hartmann started to fade back.  Belanger-Barrette moved into 2nd place and from there he remained 2nd wheel with Weissenbacher moving fast on the descents to keep his lead.

Belanger-Barrette remains 1st overall (10:02:03), Weissenbacher in 2nd (10:07:57) and Hartmann in 3rd (10:09:14).

For the pro women, Sonya Looney (FreakShow/Defeet) took her fourth stage win out of five with a time 2:03:45, followed by Kate Aardal (Ridley Cycles) in 2nd (2:05:03) and Australian Jodie Willett (For the Riders) is back on the podium for 3rd (2:05:38).

Kate Aardal has been sending it on the DH all week. Photo by: Gibson Images

Kate Aardal has been sending it on the DH all week. Photo by: Gibson Images

Kathryn McInerney again lead the women’s field up the day’s first climb followed by Looney and Marlee Dixon (Pivot Cycles). Looney caught McInerney on the timed descent and remained in 1st for the remainder of the race.

Aardal passed Dixon on the timed descent and passed McInerney not long after.  Willett passed Dixon about half way through the race and McInerney and Dixon sprinted to the end finishing in 2:06:45 and 2:06:46 respectively.

In the women’s GC,  Looney has a strong  lead (11:36:32) over Aardal (11:47:47) but 3rd– 5th racers remain less than 3 minutes apart with Dixon holding on to 3rd (12:08:53), Willett in 4th (12:10:43) and McInerney in 5th (12:11:23). Tomorrow’s final stage will be exciting to watch as these women battle to decide the final order of the Singletrack 6 podium.

Michael Manka was forced to do his best Dave Stoller impersonation after his cleat fell off. Photo by: Gibson Images

Michael Manka was forced to do his best Dave Stoller impersonation after his cleat fell off. Photo by: Gibson Images

Stage 6 in Golden is the longest stage of the race heading to the Moonrakers and CBT trail systems for 5400’ of climbing in 35 miles. After 5 days of racing riders have their longest day ahead of them.

Click Here for full results from Stage 5

Click Here for full GC results following Stage 5

Singletrack 6 – Stage 4 – Kimberley, BC

Another Day of Excitement at Singletrack 6 as Men’s GC Lead Changes Hands Again; Sonya Looney Continues Winning Streak on Planet Foods Stage 4

Written by: Marlee Dixon

Heading back toward the mountains, Singletrack 6 moves to Kimberley for today’s stage.

Stage 4 is a night and day difference from Cranbrook riding.  Racers start off in the quaint Bavarian-ish downtown area and immediately climb up the road to the ski resort. At the ski resort they continue climbing on the biggest ascent of the day.  Once at the top, racers head onto the most technical section of the course, a large rocky flat section, technical enough that many racers were forced to run/walk for a few hundred feet.  Next it’s more moderate switchback climbing into the first descent of the day. A fun, flowy, berm trail, giving racers a taste for the fast descending on this course.  With one steep grunt climb and some smaller more frequent climbs; racers are rewarded each time with bomber fast descents to follow.  After doing the second largest climb of the day, racers head onto the day’s timed descent. An ear to ear grinning downhill over three trails – Thunder Turkey, Shapeshifter and Hoodoo View dropping racers almost 1000’ in just over 3 miles. Today’s stage was definitely about the descending, work hard and fast to gain position on the climbs to bomb down some epic singletrack.

For the pro men, Mathieu Belanger-Barrette (Pivot Cycles) won the stage in 1:59:50 followed by Andreas Hartmann (Craft-Rocky Mountain Factory Team) in 2nd (2:00:44) and a tie for 3rd between Patrick Chartrand and Marc-Andre Daigle (Garneau) in 2:03:20.

Belanger-Barrette and Chartrand worked together time-trailing the climbs to beat teammates Hartmann and Manuel Weissenbacher (Craft-Rocky Mountain Factory Team) to the descents.  Working together on the climbs, they capitalized on their descending skills to gain time on the Craft-Rocky Mountain factory teammates.

Marc-Andre Daigle hitting the trees in Stage 4. Photo courtesy of Singletrack 6

Marc-Andre Daigle hitting the trees in Stage 4. Photo courtesy of Singletrack 6

After the timed descent, Belanger-Barrette pulled away on the next climb for the win.  Manuel Weissenbacher flatted on course, losing 10 minutes and dropping to 8th on the stage. Chartrand and Diagle, who tied for 3rd, were teammates last year and won the men’s open duo field at Singletrack 6. Stage 1 winner Rotem Ishay was unable to bounce back from his difficult day in Cranbrook finishing outside the top-10 in today’s race.

For the second straight day big changes were seen in the overall classification for the men as Belanger-Barrette jumped into first (total 4-day time 8:15:49), followed by Hartman in 2nd (8:17:25) and Weissenbacher in 3rd (8:22:35).


For the pro women it was Kathryn McInerney who charged ahead up the first climb. Once on top of the first climb in the technical rocky flat section, Sonya Looney (FreakShow/Defeet) maneuvered past her into first. She remained in first for the rest of the race and won the stage in a time of 2:20:45.

Up until the timed descent Kate Aardal (Ridleys Cycles), Marlee Dixon (Pivot Cycles/DNA Cycling) and Kathryn McInerney battled for 2nd-4th.

Once on the timed descent, Aardal passed Dixon and remained in 2nd for the rest of the race. She finished in 2:22:23. Dixon finished in 3rd (2:23:03) with Jodie Willett (For the Riders) passing McInerney for 4th place (2:26:39).

Looney remains first overall, widening her gap to 10 minutes over Aardal (2nd).   Dixon again moved back into 3rd after dropping to 6th following stage 3.

Looney and Aardal continue to increase their leads in the race while 3rd-6th place continue to change up and remain ~3 minutes apart.

Next up is Golden BC for both stages 5 and 6. Tomorrow’s stage is the shortest stage at 19 miles with 4000’ ft of elevation gain over some purpose built trails and rocky fun descents. The talk between racers is that the riding in Golden is awesome.

Click Here for full results from Stage 4

Click Here for GC results following Stage 4

Singletrack 6 – Stage 3 – Cranbrook, BC

Written by: Marlee Dixon

As Singletrack 6 moves locations for stage 3, it brings on a whole new type of racing with different geography. Stage 3 moves to Cranbrook, leaving behind the huge mountains of Fernie for a 26-mile course through small forested hills and fields.  The course starts in waves with the first group pinning it onto the course, up short hills and through flat fields to gain position.


The opening third of the race includes a lot of climbing with steep punchy climbs and steep short descents with loose dirt and rocks.  The course then moves into more flowy trail sections in the second half but doesn’t give racers much recovery in this very pedally up and down course.  Where the first two days of the race felt like endurance days, today was much more of a cross-country race. 28518832226_3b5ce332ef_b

For the pro men, Manuel Weissenbacher (Craft-Rocky Mountain Factory team) won the race in 2:07:04 followed by Mathieu Belanger-Barrette (Pivot Cycles) in 2nd (2:09:27) and a sprint finish for 3rd between Andreas Hartmann (Craft-Rocky Mountain Factory team) (2:10:29) and Patrick Chartrand (2:10:30). The top 4 guys and GC leader Rotem Ishay (Jamis Bikes) were together for the first several miles when Ishay fell back saying he hadn’t eaten enough calories and had a difficult time getting to his water bottle during the first sections of the race. Ishay would drop to 10th by the time he reached the finish line.

From the start of the timed descent, the top three men were in their respective positions with 3rd and 4th place sprinting at the end.

The men’s GC saw some big changes today with Weissenbacher, Belanger-Barrette, and Hartmann leap frogging Ishay who plummeted to 4th after his bad day. This was Weissenbacher’s second consecutive stage win at this year’s Singletrack 6.

Sonya Looney sharing a hug at the finish line.

Sonya Looney sharing a hug at the finish line.

For the pro women, Sonya Looney (FreakShow/Defeet) again charged ahead at the start and powered her way through the course for her second stage win. She went off course for a minute or so before back-tracking but otherwise she had a very strong race and never saw another female.

Kate Aardal moved into 2nd place a third of the way through the race and maintained her 2nd place standing, finishing in a time of 2:32:09.

In 3rd place was Kathryn McInerney, who started in the second wave of racers this morning and powered her way to beat the other two women in the first start group, almost taking 2nd place with a time of 2:32:26. Todays results are also the same for the overall with McInerney moving into 3rd.


Singletrack 6 is halfway over, with three hard days under their belts, racers head to Kimberley for a 22 mile course with 4000’ of elevation gain.

Click Here for full Stage 3 results

Click Here for full GC results following stage 3


Singletrack 6 – Stage 2 – Fernie, BC

Looney and Weissenbacher Take Stage 2 with Looney Taking Over GC Lead

Written by: Marlee Dixon

Stage 2 of Singletrack 6 takes place at Fernie Alpine Resort and Mount Fernie Provincial Park. It’s a very different racecourse than stage 1 and includes more sustained climbing and descending. At 8am all riders were off, racing together up a mountain access road. The extended uphill spread racers out before descending into the forest on Snakebite; a dark, forested, fun and fast downhill trail.

location: Fernie, B.C., Canada

location: Fernie, B.C., Canada

Next racers head up the rail trail and then descend the multi-directional, fast Lazy Lizard trail. Then its on to the biggest climb; Project 9 access trail, that includes several steep grunts to really max out the heart rate.

The timed descent of the day drops down the Project 9 trail which is sure to have left racers grinning as they fly down through the trees, over drops and through berms on an epic descent. Back on Lazy Lizard, racers cruise downhill again and connect via a new trail to climb up Stove trail. From there it’s another fun descent on Dem Bones before racers head back up the resort in one final long climb.

location: Fernie, B.C., Canada

location: Fernie, B.C., Canada

The course finishes descending on the resort; first on a rooty, semi-technical trail with some slick bridges then heading on a rip-roaring flowy berm trail to the finish. Today’s course included a lot of steep uphill and downhill sections in the 21 mile course with 5000′ of elevation gain. It was a good test of rider’s fitness with sustained climbs, as well as bike handling skills, with lots of fast descents including roots, bridges, drops and technical aspects.

Rotem Ishay/3rd Place Stage 2/1st Place Overall / Singletrack 6 Open Solo Men

Rotem Ishay/3rd Place Stage 2/1st Place Overall / Singletrack 6 Open Solo Men

For both the pro men and women there were new stage winners today. For the men, Rotem Ishay (Jamis Bikes) flatted and ended up in 3rd (2:00:51) only seconds behind teammates Manuel Weissenbacher (Craft-Rocky Mountain Factory Team) in 1st (2:00:34) and Andreas Hartmann in 2nd (2:00:44). Ishay keeps the overall lead with Weissenbacher in 2nd and Hartmann in 3rd.

For the pro women Sonya Looney (Freakshow/Defeet) charged ahead from the start and maintained her 1st place position for the stage and took over the lead in the GC competition. She won the stage in 2:19:50 followed by Kate Aardal (Ridleys Cycling) in a time of 2:24:29.

Sonya Looney

Sonya Looney

Following the first descent down Snakebite, Aardal moved up from 4th to 2nd and proceeded to steadily break away from 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th position. Jayne Rossworn following closely behind Aardal, moved into 3rd on the rail trail climb and finished in 3rd in a time of 2:27:35. Looney moves up to first in the overall with Aardal in 2nd and Marlee Dixon (Pivot Cycles/DNA Cycling) jumping into 3rd.

Stage 3 of Singletrack 6 moves to Cranbrook for a totally different type of terrain; a smooth, undulating 26 mile course with 3900′ of elevation gain and more frequent smaller climbs and descents. Check out tomorrow’s race report to see if the different style of riding affects the racers standings.

Click Here for full Santa Cruz Stage 2 results from all categories

Click Here for full GC results following Santa Cruz Stage 2

Singletrack 6 MTB Stage Race – Fernie, BC

Rotem Ishay and Kate Aardal Take the Early Lead at Singletrack 6

Written by: Marlee Dixon

Singletrack 6, a six-day stage race in British Columbia, started today in sunny downtown Fernie.  Known for having one of the biggest and most extensive single track trail networks, Fernie seems to have mountain bike trails everywhere.  It’s a small, friendly mountain town with a fun downtown and the gorgeous Canadian Rockies rising all around. Singletrack 6 includes two stages in Fernie followed by one stage in Cranbrook, one stage in Kimberley and two stages in Golden. The route for Singletrack 6 changes every year and this is the first year it has included Fernie.

Today’s ride rolled out at 8am from the downtown area behind a fire truck. Not long after the neutral start, all 300+ racers were pushing hard to get into position before the start of the first section of trail.

Once the singletrack started it didn’t stop; racers climbed Hyperventilation then descended the timed enduro descent Hyper-extension. Next it was on to other great trails including the new Kush and Kushier followed by the Coal Discovery trail, up Sidewinder, Eric’s trail and down Kids Stuff to the finish.

On and off rain on Friday made for some great conditions on course accompanied by a cool sunny morning made for ideal race conditions.  Only 20 miles of racing, you might think this race would be a breeze, but it’s not. The course is almost completely one-track with a whopping 4900’ of elevation gain. The ascents are challenging with some roots, steep punchy climbs and technical areas. The descents and winding areas are also steep in sections, with roots and technical features. Todays course was a great test of racer’s overall bike handling skills, fitness and strength with the fastest course time averaging ~10 mph.

For the pro men Rotem Ishay (Jamis Bikes) pulled away from the pro field before the first singletrack and rode alone the entire race despite a broken derailleur hanger.  He won the stage in a time of 1:59:38. In 2nd was Mattieu Belanger-Barrette (Pivot Cycles) in a time of 2:04:09 and in 3rd was Andreas Hartmann (Rocky Mountain Factory team).

For the women Kate Aardal (Ridleys Cycle), the 2014 and 2015 Singletrack 6 winner, won the first stage in a time of 2:23:41. She was in the lead from the start and won both the timed descent and the stage.  Right behind her was Sonya Looney (FreakShow/Defeet) in a time of 2:24:18 followed in 3rd by Kim Hurst (Niner NZ) 2:28:20.

Stage 1 of Singletrack 6 was a great introduction to the extensive, fun, and challenging riding that takes you up to stunning mountain vistas, descending through pitch-dark giant forests, on classic trails and cool new singletrack in a beautiful mountain setting.

Check back tomorrow for Stage 2 results, photos and report as racers head over to Fernie Mountain Resort and Mount Fernie Provincial Park for 21 miles of steep ascents and descents.

Click Here for full results from all categories