Trans BC Day 1: A Steep and Deep Introduction to Interior BC

Jul 4, 2016 at 23:12
by Megan Rose  
The inaugural Trans BC Enduro powered by Stages Cycling catapulted 126 riders straight into the deep forests above Vernon, B.C.— an up and coming mountain bike destination situated in the heart of Lake Country. With 30km and 2300m of descending to navigate, racers were dropped off in misty conditions high above Lake Kalamalka, the crown jewel of Vernon, to dive into the unknown beneath the alpine canopy.

Trans BC Day 1 a Steep and Deep Introduction to Interior BC

Trans BC Day 1 a Steep and Deep Introduction to Interior BC

As Ted Morton, race director of the BC Enduro Series and Rose’s secondhand man, described, for many of the riders this week would be a story of misadventures along the way. Getting lost, flatting, crashing, coming to face to face with a grizzly bear, and discovering new limits were all factors that racers would be up against, day in and day out, for the next six days.

Pre-race meeting Ted Morton with the low dow on trail signage delivered with minimal snark. his message was simple Use your head.

Loading up to giddy up. By the end of the evening before the start of racing 3 U Hauls were racked and packed with two wheeled enduro goodness of all kinds everything from 26 inch bikes that their owners love too much to give up to Alex Petidemange s almost released prototype Niner.

Stage 1 down the recently resurrected High Rim Trail (HRT) was a brute wake up call to those still relishing in the novelty of attending adult summer camp. The 1.3km and 220m descent of steep switchbacks, committing moves over slippery rocks, roots and logs, and a fast finish to the first timing station reminded racers that in between the dots, anything can happen. The first flats and crashes of the day surfaced, and it was apparent that the week would soon become a war of attrition.

The all important timing chip swipe to get active for the stage. In a few starts I saw it all balancing and hitting the timing chip to activate the casual reach out and activate and then start pedaling and the fumble fumble fumble almost fall over and then getting it dialed.

Punctures are the biggest time suck on stage racing like this. And most of the competitors came prepared. Some have tire plugs strapped to the handlebar for quick repairs but prevention is the best course of action. And there were a TON of DH casing tires on track with the Maxxis Aggressor and the WTB TCS Tough casings seen on a lot of bikes. And then there were the more subtle preventative measures ENVE Dark 6 rims on a handful of wheels.

Trans BC Day 1 a Steep and Deep Introduction to Interior BC

“I felt way more comfortable later in the day on rocks than the hiking trail we started on with all of the roots. It took me a while to get warmed up this morning,” said Noah Sears, Open Men (Grand Junction, Colo.) “I’m sure I’m going to get my ass kicked by the Canadians, even with today being the fourth of July, and the Americans metaphorically propelled by a freedom eagle.”

Colorado native and proud of it Botsy Phillips getting loose.

Local favorite Sonja Looney is more known as an endurance rider and specializes in 24 hour races and marathon racing. But.. I kinda like these enduro events. The Trans NZ race was my first and I m really enjoying these kinds of races too. Enjoying it enough to be sitting inside the top ten amidst some genuinely fast women.

The HRT is a 110km point-to-point trail along the eastern slopes of the Thompson Plateau in the Okanagan Valley, between Vernon and Kelowna. Cabin Forestry Services (CFS) reopened the unmaintained singletrack route in 2009 for hiking, and after sitting dormant for six years, they instigated the process for further developing the trail for mountain biking. Meanwhile, Rose was interested in linking a 8km section of the HRT into the backdoor of Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park for the first day of the inaugural event. Through this partnership, the lucky participants were some of the first mountain bikers to experience a fresh-cut section of the High Rim Trail.

“We hope to make the entire trail mountain bike friendly,” said Steve Milne, founder and owner of Cabin Forestry Services since 1996. “It would be a Seven Summit or Frisby Ridge caliber of ride— cool technical, flowy, challenging terrain that takes you up into the alpine, and back down through mountain meadows and lakes.”

How was stage 1 Good enough that Remy Brouilliat was more than happy to wheelie up to the start of stage 2.

Trans BC Day 1 a Steep and Deep Introduction to Interior BC

Stage 2 was the big stage for the day where riders navigated 5.4km of fast and twisty singletrack with loam pockets and optional freeride lines scattered along the way. While some of the features were ladder hucks to roots, some log rides created shortcuts in ambiguous corners. The highlight of the day was unanimously Stage 3, a fast and furious plunge down 36DD, a trail marked by a big rock roll and steep, loose chute to the finish.

Trans BC Day 1 a Steep and Deep Introduction to Interior BC

Trans BC Day 1 a Steep and Deep Introduction to Interior BC

Feature of the day rock slabs for everyone

“Today was incredible. I had a flat on stage two, but persevered, and the rest of the day went really well. Stage 3, the gnarly one, was by far my favorite and strength,” said Karey Watanabe, Open Women (Crowsnest Pass, B.C.) “I’m a downhiller by nature and look forward to the week getting more rowdy.”

Karay Watanabe racing with a bit less protection than most of the competitors but her stoke for the race made up for the lack of coverage and her skills propelled her to fifth place for the open women division.

The final two stages of the day led racers closer to the Cosens Beach through ponderosa pines, black cottonwood and douglas fir trees. Fun flow and high speed characterized the trails, which ended in a sprint through an open meadow into a skidding stop at the sandy shoreline. Riders stripped down and took a cool dip in the lake before climbing up to the shuttle in their clammy chamois.

The reward for surviving the dust was a refreshing dip in the lake

Trans BC Day 1 a Steep and Deep Introduction to Interior BC

Trans BC Day 1 a Steep and Deep Introduction to Interior BC

"You could see the beautiful emerald lake down below us the entire day, it was the carrot for me all day,” said Leigh Bowe, Open Women (Frisco, Colo.) “I’m expecting more of the same tomorrow with steeper transitions and jagged rock features; apparently 25 percent of us will flat.”

Riders will be transported approximately 75km south to Penticton where unique rock features, slab sprinting and phenomenal views of orchards and vineyards that border Lake Okanagan, await them on the Three Blind Mice trail network.

Although patriotic passion flew high on the 4th of July for the Americans and Canadians still celebrating Canada Day, it was actually the kiwis who calculatingly swept the top step of the podium across all categories— Jamie Nicholl (Open Men), Matt Patterson (Master 40+ Men) and Meggie Bichard (Open Women).

The Trans BC race started on the day that Americans celebrate their declaration of independence from England and Leigh Bowe was dressed to celebrate the occasion. Bowe was also fast enough to stake a claim for the podium taking third place overall on the day for the Open Women.

Aaron Bradford taking his red white and blue decaled Evil Wreckoning out for a spin. After the dust settled on the day the Baron was nine seconds down on Jamie Nicoll and 6 seconds up on Adam Craig.

“We’ve done one of Megan’s enduro series in the past, and we know that she delivers only the good stuff,” Bichard said.

Bichard (Nelson, NZ), a top athlete for Stages Cycling, marked her return to the Enduro World Series (EWS) in May with a top ten finish at the Emerald Enduro in Wicklow, Ireland, after a horror crash November 2015 which prevented her from racing at the Trans NZ and the first two rounds of the EWS. Her lengthy recovery is paying off, sweeping all five stages on the first day.

New Zealand s Meggie Bichard came to play hard ball. The unofficial Pinkbike privateer of the year was signed by Fuji bikes for races just like this and she s already 2 minutes and 9 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. That s a pretty comfortable lead but with five days of racing to go it s not a done deal yet.

The week is just getting started. Five more days across Penticton, Rossland and Nelson still linger and anything can happen in the lineup. Stay tuned to regular updates on Facebook and Instagram and core online media outlets throughout the week. Hashtag your photos #transbcenduro to make their way onto the live stream of the Trans BC’s Media HQ. A special thanks to Cabin Forestry Services and Tourism Vernon for supporting the Trans BC Enduro in Vernon, B.C. For more information email megan@ridingbc.com or visit www.transbcenduro.com.

About Megan Rose— Megan has been riding and racing bikes all over the world for 13 years and organizing bike events for the past six years. She splits her time between British Columbia, Canada and New Zealand, running the BC Enduro Series and the new Trans BC for 2016, and running the Trans NZ race. Over the past two years Megan has personally races in over 24 enduro races, timed over 58 days worth of enduro races, and personally organized 22 enduro races. Megan and her team look forward to bringing you the best of the best from all of these perspectives.

About Stages Cycling— Stages Cycling LLC, based in Boulder, CO, launched the Stages Power meter at Interbike in September 2012. The new Stages Power meter immediately made waves for the power measurement category in all disciplines of cycling, including enduro, where the sport's top pros collect and trust its data for training and racing. Since the brand has expanded into the commercial and home fitness category with the SC3 commercial indoor cycling bike, with groundbreaking features including: CarbonGlyde featuring Gates CarbonDrive, SprintShift, FitLoc, RoadBar and, of course, the Stages Power meter. More information at stagescycling.com


MENTIONS: @bcenduroseries




16 Comments

  • + 10
 Kal Lake trails are indeed insanely good. Thanks to Vernon area locals and to the North Okanagan Cycling Society (NOCS) too for these gems
  • + 2
 I'll second that motion. I'd ridden there 12 years ago and recall the trails being comparatively mellow and/or scarce. In the past month I've returned twice for family duty visits and after noticing the Singletrack 6 course on Trailforks I took the bike. No matter your ability or interest, mild to wild, there's definitely enough quality dirt there to make your legs hurt and your smile wide. Great signage too!
  • + 6
 Thanks for the Props Lee. NOCS put in over 3500 documented volunteer hours alone in 2015 mostly in the Provincal Parks trails we maintain. I'm sure BC Enduro just forgot to give us a nod as they have been great to work with over the last couple years.
  • + 2
 @markeed - wasn't meant to be a knock on BCEnduro to be clear. My experience with Megan in particular is that she's been super communicative, very cognizant of local builders and respectful of trails
  • + 1
 Hey Lee, This looks like fun. Thinking of doing this next year. Is it worth it? A good way to get a tour of some of the best off the beaten path BC trails?
  • + 1
 @KRob: its worth it
  • + 3
 "Ted Morton, race director of the BC Enduro Series and Rose’s secondhand man"

Hopefully if the event keeps being so successful she'll be able to afford a brand new man next year.
  • + 4
 Damn some of that is steep! Also that Evil with the eleven six, bling bling!
  • + 3
 Yeah! Nick Franzen representing the Squirrel Army in the first pic! Matt Patt is killing it as usual!
  • + 1
 Representing timing chip usage like a pro! Wink
  • + 2
 Helped out a few of the riders in Kelowna on Saturday and Sunday at the shop. Good luck to all the riders!
  • + 1
 That loose chute... 0_0 you'd be getting real friendly with your back tire on that.
  • + 3
 "Clammy chamois" Yuck.
  • + 1
 Nice trails! Looks like fun.
  • + 1
 major props to the entire crew
  • + 1
 #teambrah!#

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