Day Five — “The Trans-Alberta Day”
KIMBERLEY, B.C.— The final two days of the Schwalbe Trans BC presented by Yeti Cycles
brought racers to their limits – of grip and grit. Traversing the British Columbia—Alberta border to Crowsnest Pass on Day Five and rounding out the sixth and final day on Fernie Mountain Resort’s finest descents, racers shattered any preconceived notions about themselves prior to the week and finishing on the ultimate high and party train laps in the bike park.
This was the first time that the Trans BC crossed provincial borders to ride in a completely new and unexpected zone. Located in the rainshadow of the Canadian Rockies about 45 minutes northeast of Fernie, Crowsnest Pass is a sleepy town that was established on the tracks of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the late 1800s.
Not necessarily renown as a mountain bike destination, Megan Rose discovered the area by former Trans BC racer Darcy Neniska who was eager to share his backyard trails. Despite the previous days of climbing stacking up against them, Rose didn’t hesitate to throw another 32 kilometers and 1579 meters (5180 feet) of climbing at racers for the day as they pedaled through four stages.
“We like to work with people who open their arms and want to showcase their trails,” Rose said. “It was a mixture of feedback – some people said that Stage 3 was the best of the week. I personally don’t agree, but we like to see having the variety where everyone has a day that they get to shine. To me, that’s a good vision.”
Riders from Colorado said they felt like they were at home on the dry, rocky trails. A little flatter, but tight trees to weave in and out of, presented challenges to those who are not used to the higher speeds.
“I was more comfortable on the terrain on Day Five. I’ve been out of the racing scene for a couple of years, and I’ve never have raced blind before,” said Anne Galyean (Seattle, Wash.) “After a couple of days, I learned to stop attacking like it was a regular race, relax and have more fun.”
The highlight of Day Five was Stage 3 were big rock rollers on “Big Bear Down” led into “Sooper Trooper”, a fast, flowy technical singletrack through the woods.
Stage 3 was the favorite on Day Five - a variety of rock rolls at the top and fast, rooty shenanigans to the bottom.
The day finished with two short stages back down “School of Rock” – another Rocky Mountain rendition – and “Whistling Post,” a kilometer sprint to the end with smooth berms and flat grass pedaling to the road.
“There’s a lot of variety in B.C. For the most part, Megan chooses steep, rough and long tracks – because that’s what the majority of us like to ride the most. But we also have a lot of other trails – not all of it is crazy steep or made of roots. The difference is in the dirt – there isn’t as much organic material in the soil which can make it just as consequential to slide out as wet roots on the steeps,” said Peter Wojnar (Squamish, B.C.) squid videographer.Day Six — “Party Train Finish”
Megan is known for setting the final day as a bit of a cruiser so riders can finish racing early to do more party laps on the lift, snag some pool time, and rest up before the evening festivities. If you make it to the final day with bike and body intact, the finish line feels like it’s just around the corner – only another 21 kilometers, 1211 meters of climbing and 1880 meters of descending until you’re there.
With little to no warm-up after a lift transition, riders raged down Willpower, a single black diamond trail that flowed down the mountain within plain view from the lift and heckling. With another lift up and blue singletrack to transition over to the top of Stage 2, riders were on track to cruise through the final three stages.
Stage 2 – Verboten – left racers panting at the finish line. The 2.2-kilometer stage included 18 meters of climbing but had a deceiving amount of pedaling through rooty twists and turns.
“Today was a lot bigger than I thought. Stage 1, I was following the one and only Hypeman, Blair Reed. It was a nice coffee to wake up with,” said Tom Bradshaw (Wellington, NZL), the official Stoke Guy and voice behind the #FollowCam
footage of the week.
Tom Bradshaw, the official Stoke Guy of the Trans BC Enduro took his job seriously, including flying the turquoise flag wherever he goes..
“This week, my job was to follow people, heckle people, encourage people, and keep the stoke up. I reckon that 70 percent of the people that I have tried to follow have either crashed or had something go wrong, including myself. I saw the biggest crash all week near the top of Stage 3. It was a highlight to see #FollowCamFriday
himself get up from that crash and keep pinning it down the hill.”
Grinding across fire roads and doubletrack under the iconic cliffs that Fernie Mountain Resort is known for, racers arrived at a stacked line and description that made the Stage 3 – TNT – sound like the biggest test of the week with the most severe consequences.
Steep switchbacks, jagged rocks and committing lines all played a role in navigating the top half of the stage. But once you crossed the road into the bottom half of Rumplestumpskin, you could get off the brakes and pump and flow through loam to the finish.
“The last two stages today – that’s was people come to the Trans BC for,” Rose said. “Dropping into the final stage of the day and seeing the conditions, I was absolutely frothing, thinking that people are going to either be losing their shit with excitement or pooping their pants. There wasn’t going to be any in-between.”
A last-minute decision by the Fernie Mountain Resort bike crew opened up the top portion of BC Cup race track. In lieu of racing Bicyle Thief top to bottom, they threw in the “Canadian Section” steeps to give Trans BC racers the perfect conditions for one final run top to bottom.
Although it’s not mathematically possible at 30 second intervals, all racers dropped within an hour of each other on the final stage. Party trains flowing, the week’s worth of gripping on for dear life was over as racers crested the final wooden ramp and catapulted themselves into the parking lot to beep out one last time.
Celebratory beers and lunch revitalized energy levels mid-day and racers were back in the bike park to feast on loam laps until the lift stopped spinning at 4 p.m. After six days, 165 kilometers (103 miles), 8,300m (27,230’) of climbing and 11,500m (37,730’) of descending, they still wanted more.
“This Trans BC experience was incredible – the grandness of it – going up mountains, doing jumps and drops, riding ridgelines, and pushing the limits physically day in and day out while racing blind,” said Angie McKirdy (Squamish, B.C.)
The competition on the sharp end of the fields presented their dominance early on in the week. Scott Countryman (Flagstaff, Ariz.) and Hannah Bergemann (Bellingham, Wash.) held their overall leads, never letting up their lead in the overall. The battle came on the bottom steps of the podium. McKirdy edged out Alex Pavon (Flagstaff, Ariz.) by six seconds for second place after Pavon tomahawked off the trail on Stage 4 and had to climb back onto the trail to finish the steeps with twisted handlebars and saddle.
Marty Schaffer (Revelstoke, B.C.) always yeti to shred, rode strongly for second place, beating Trans BC veteran Aaron Bradford (Seattle, Wash.) who raced the final day in jorts and a button-down shirt with a T-Rex shooting lasers out of its eyes.
But at the end of the day, the Trans BC is not about the race results. Whether it’s your first blind enduro stage race or you’ve become a familiar face, each year will present brand new trails and challenges, and unique experience of a lifetime because of the people you are surrounded by.
“I think the consensus that this was the easier year out of all four years. It wasn’t a conscious decision. We happen to get some of the best trail conditions, and each region has its own flavor and trails. We will continue to rotate locations every three to four years to give communities a break and opportunities for new trails to be discovered and developed.” Rose said.
The Schwalbe Trans BC presented by Yeti Cycles will continue to rotate through the West Kootenays, East Kootenays, and the Okanagan, returning to Rossland, Castlegar and Nelson, June 29 – July 4, 2019.
For those who missed out on this epic adventure, registration will open for next year, October 2018. Keep tuned in to Facebook and Instagram to follow along. For more information email email@example.com or visit www.transbcenduro.com.
2019 Trans BC Overall Results
Full results can be found at www.transbcenduro.com.
1. Scott Countryman 2:15:18
2. Marty Schaffer 2:18:21
3. Aaron Bradford 2:18:37
4. Zach Mehuron 2:21:33
5. Tom Sampson 2:21:34
1. Hannah Bergemann 2:45:10
2. Angie McKirdy 2:50:29
3. Alex Pavon 2:50:35
4. Anne Galyean 2:52:39
5. Ingrid Larouche 2:53:13
Master Men 40+
1. Shane Jensen 2:28:34
2. David Hutton 2:35:12
3. Jon Burton 2:36:38
4. Kevin Eaton 2:38:28
5. Colin Jacoby 2:39:30
Old Boys 50+
1. Arama Jillings 2:42:12
2. Tim Bergemann 2:52:36
3. Emmett Purcell 2:53:59
4. Cary Smith 2:56:29
5. Chris Urban 3:00:18
ABOUT MEGAN ROSE — Megan has been riding and racing bikes all over the world for 14 years and organizing bike events for the past 10 years. She splits her time between British Columbia, Canada and New Zealand, running Trans BC Enduro and Trans NZ Enduro races. Over the past six years, Megan has personally raced in over 40 enduro races, timed over 65 days’ worth of enduro races, and organized 30+ enduro races. Megan and her team look forward to bringing you the best of the best from all of these perspectives.
ABOUT SCHWALBE — We are "tire fanatics" and 100% committed to bikes. You will find SCHWALBE bike tires in the USA, in South Africa as well as in Japan and Australia. In Europe, we are even the market leader! Our tires are not available everywhere, but exclusively from specialist dealers. We insist on qualified advice and good service and we know only the specialist trade can provide both.
ABOUT YETI CYCLES — Founded in 1985, Yeti Cycles makes race-bred, obsessively engineered, masterfully crafted mountain bikes proven by the fastest riders in the most demanding conditions. Based in Golden, Colorado, Yeti is owned and staffed by riders who are more likely to be out riding the company’s latest creation than sitting in a conference room. Visit www.yeticycles.com to learn more.