TranSS RockieSS Stage 1-5 (x-post passion)-
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  1. #1
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    TranSS RockieSS Stage 1-5 (x-post passion)

    TranSS RockieSS Stage 1-5
    I'll get to working on the rest, but here's something to tide yinz over. Please forgive the typos. I have been dog tired since we got back from our trip. There were delays at the airport (something about snakes on a plane) which caused us to get in late and my sleep has been affected.

    The Wonderboy and I arrived in Calgary a couple days before the 2006 Trans Rockies. After we settled into our hotel we built up our bikes we set out looking for cheap beer and a local alleycat race. We found neither, but we did bump into a couple local messengers and ended up in a cocktail lounge drinking $6 drafts. We had a good time which resulted in a rough morning and we headed over to the bike shop to meet the Race Face guys to get our ride to the start in Fernie. They showed up in the RV with the other team (two guys from Quebec we called "The Frenchies") already on board and we headed to Fernie in search of a hotel room.

    Skipping quickly over to race day we headed to the start line after a busy morning of packing all our necessities into the Trans Rockies supplied undersized duffel.


    The start line was packed with over 400 racers and a good turnout of spectators and media. Josh admitted to being a little nervous as he had never done anything of this magnitude before. When the race started we were immediately flying down a paved road towards the dry singletrack. Unfortunately for us there was a lot of pavement between the start line and the trail and Josh and I got dusted by a significant portion of the geared field. We tried slinging each other "Rollerball style" down the road, but the laws of physics kept it from really benefitting us. By the time we got to the first section of trail it was standing room only. We actually had to wait for our turn to hit the dusty overcrowded trail. It was a frustrating day of being stuck behind a lot of riders who didn't seem very comfortable riding semi-steep terrain. There was a lot of shouting going on. "SLOWING!" and "STOPPING!" were heard about every hundred yards. Ocassionally we would add our own dose of sarcasm. I shouted "SLEEPING!" and Josh chimed in with "MASTURBATING!" and it was worth a few laughs. Ocassionally we were treated with some open trail, but most of the day was spent riding the slow train to the finish. The dry heat was taking it's toll on the riders and there were a lot of people hanging out at the aid stations trying to recover. Josh admitted to feeling "cold and dead" at one point so we stopped at aid station 2 so he could "eat a ton of ****" (his words).

    We headed back out and Josh slowly came back to life. After a wrong turn down a freeride trail, we were forced to push back up to the course and a little while later we could see the town of Sparwood down in the valley. As a little extra slap in the face the organizers had us ride past the town (over several more climbs) to a point north of town so they could send us under an overpass scrambling over a boulder field before heading back south to town. As we closed in on the finish line we could hear all the excitement near the finish line and we knew we were close. We kicked it into high gear and started to pick up some places. There was only one steep pitch left to go so I gunned it with Josh in tow. I was startled by Josh's screams as we cleared the pitch and I looked back to see him punching himself in the quads. Both of his legs locked up with the finish line in sight. I aksed him if he could just sit in his saddle so I could just push him in. Josh jumped on his bike screaming in agony and dangling his feet. I pushed him down the pavement until he recoverd enough to pedal his under his own power to cross the line. We ended stage one with 60+km's under our belt and 45th out of 90 starting teams in the Men's Open division. Not a bad start for two guys on single speed bikes, considering all the traffic we had to fight through on the trail.


    Josh and I decided we needed to gun it from the line today to get a better postion before we hit the singletrack. The racers were staged in three starting blocks based on the first stage results, and we were fortunate enough to have made the cut for start block two. From the gun we jockeyed for a good position and we went into the woods in the top fifty or so teams. The conditions were so dusty that I couldn't even see the trail in front of me. At one point I found myself over the bars on a climb when I clipped a pedal on a hidden rock. I ended up ass over tea kettle on the trail wondering what just happened. Shortly after I got back on the bike we ended up on a 18km doubletrack climb that gained over 1000 meters of elevation. We were on and off the bike in order to just get it over with. Josh and I were starting to gain a little notoriety in the peleton and we heard the term "hard core" in at least ten different languages. Out on the course we did our best to share the love and we helped one team by stopping to give them some duct tape, and ironically we helped another team with drivetrain issues. There were lots of nasty descents that put a lot of the riders into hike-a-bike mode that Josh and I pretty much blasted down screaming like school girls (trapped in a flaming runaway bus). The conditions were dusty and loose, and when the trail got steep you could hear the sound of tightening sphincters. It was a fun day to be on the bike, and we finished the 77km stage in 36th place. We were moving up! Our Race Face support crew (Ken the marketing guy and Chris the wrench) were having and easy time taking care of our bikes. They basically just had to dust our bikes off and keep themselves lubricated with adult beverages. 34 people abandoned on stage two and were treated for heat exhaustion. Trans Rockies was doing the deed and thinning the herd.


    This was the big one, the Queen Stage. 109 km's with over 2700 meters of climbing. I knew we were in for at least eight hours in the saddle today. There were going to be multiple climbs over 20 km's long and a whole lot of wicked descending. We did our best to rock it when the conditions were single speed friendly (steep up or down) and to take it easy on the long stretches when we were wound out. The nastier the descent the more people we would pass. Sure we were getting the piss beat out of us, but we had to make time where ever the conditions allowed. I realized that we should have been training for this race at Home Depot for the last three weeks. The only way to prepare our upper bodies for this kind of riding would have been to try to hold onto a can of paint in the mixing machine. When I had the occasional chance to talk to Josh I gave him pointers on how to shake the pain away in his arms and relieve the pain in his feet during extended periods of death descending at high speeds. He had never known the pain and fatigue associated with racing for days on end so I gave him what little advice I could offer.

    We were riding with the same people we had seen for the last few days when we rolled up on aid station 3. As we headed out we ended up hopping on a geared train of about ten riders. Josh and I took to the front and spun as hard as we could for ten or fifteen minutes until we looked back to see that we had blown the train apart into three seperate groups. I'm not sure there was any good reason to do it, but it did feel good. The day ended with some really sweet technical singletrack where we were able to pick up a few more spots before crossing the line in 32nd place after 8hr 30min of riding. Ouch.


    Josh and I kinda got to the start line a little late today. We knew this stage wasn't going to be our cup of tea. There were going to be lots of gravel roads with shallow gradients so although it was going to be a fast 95 km's for the geared guys it was going to kill us. We lined up in the back of start two and soon after the start we were fading back into the "survivor pack" of block three. There was a slightly challenging section after the initial gravel road where we made up some time, but it ended before we had a chance to get up with the "usual suspects" we ride with most days. The trail got really steep as we approached five seperate boulder field hike-a-bike sections. We had rode down these boulder fields last year, and they really worked me over then. Now they were crushing people's spirits and causing peoples' hearts to implode. The rest of the stage consisted of gravel roads where would would lose ground, and hairy-ass descents where we would gain it all back by hanging our nuts in the wind and making some pretty scary passes where ever we could. At the final checkpoint of the day we were told we had 15km of easy gravel road. The volunteer said it was a good recovery ride. I tried to explain to her how we would not be getting any recovery on 15km of flat gravel, but she didn't understand. We did what we could, but we were passed by five or six teams in the final "recovery" strecth. We'll have our day soon. I could feel it. 32nd place again in just under six hours of riding.


    This one looked bad enough just on paper. The stage was 108 km's with the first 50 km's being a gradual uphill. Gradual and single speed go together like peas and chocolate. Josh and I rode together as much as possible discussing quantum physics and geology. We were getting passed by people that Josh realized "I only see these people at supper time". On one of the steeper sections I waited for Josh to roll up and when I saw him I started rolling. When I heard him screaing I looked back to see him waving his hands in the air. I went back and he informed me he was having a minor brake problem, minor if you consider not having a functioning rear brake a small problem. Out here in the Canadian Rockies it was a death sentence. As we stared at the brake like looking for a solution we were constantly being passed. His brake was either "on" (as in locked up) or he could push the lever forward and turn it "off". It was definitely going to kill him later in the day as we still had some serious descending ahead of us and some cliff edge singletrack to contend with. After trying everything I could think of I just spit some water on the pistons, and what do you know, it worked. We were back in the game. Sure we were now waaaayyyyyyy back in the pack, but at least we were fighting again.

    When we topped out on the long climb we were greeted with a double track descent that had an assload of waterbars. At the first waterbar we came across the mountains first victim. Apparently he had wrecked and was badly injured. He was covered in emergency blankets and in shock. Two water bars later we saw a repeat of the same thing. I paused long enough to tell Josh "keep that in mind" as we flew down the rest of the descent passing people the whole way down.

    The descent took us to the final singletrack of the day. It was along a 1,000 foot gorge where at points we were right on the edge. I have a respect (fear) of heights so I left Josh behind in an attempt to put it behind me before the threatening skies opened up. I came close, but as luck would have it the rain came down and the danger level went up. I found the Race Face guys waiting patiently in the woods wearing fashionable cotton hoodies in the downpour. I let them know I Josh was behind me, and I wasn't waiting for a group photo. Towards the end of the cliff section I cam across the Bike Magazine photo guy (John). He asked if I would mind waiting for Josh for a photo-op. I told him it would have to be further up the trail (after the cliff of death section) so he took off in front of me with his huge pack of gear slung on his back. As I followed him he clipped a tree and had a "oh ****, I am going to die moment", but he came out of it with a reasonable amount of grace and style. When the cliff section ended I told him he could ride ahead and I would wait for Josh so he could get a picture of us riding together in the rain.

    When Josh caught up we pushed on together again. The Bike Mag photo guy ambushed us on a climb and Josh screamed a battle cry into his lens as we were finishing the day in a dramatic lightning storm. We hammered to the line putting one more team behind us in the final kilometer to finish. We finished the day in 37th place with 6hrs 35 mins in the saddle.

    pic 1 Here's Josh breaking in the RV on the way to Fernie. The Race Face guys were going to be sleeping in the RV (not us) so I guess Josh wanted to give them a suprise.

    pic 2 After riding in the dust all day this came out of Josh's lungs.

    pic3 Yeah, the views weren't too bad.

    pic 4 Josh's favorite thing today; all-you-can-eat "tiny pies" at supper time.

    pic 5 Here I am back in the tent after a soaking wet day of riding and about 50+hours without a shower. We decided it was time to resort to beer. Tomorrow will be our day.
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    Last edited by teamdicky; 08-16-2006 at 05:22 AM.

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  2. #2
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    Feb 2006
    Great, now I want to do this damn race. Excellent work, sounds like, ehhh, a blast?

  3. #3
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    Apr 2004
    good f#ckin stuff!!!

  4. #4
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    Naked Mile

    I guess I left that out. On Stage 5 Syncros sponsored this year's Naked Mile. What is it? Well you take off your clothes, ride past the video camera (creatively) and win bike parts. Josh and I rolled up on the camera guy before he was even set up. When we asked if we had missed our chance he said he wasn't ready yet, but if we wanted to get nekkid he'd set up for the shot. Josh pulled out a nice hands free robot and I managed a cylocross dismount/remount with a 360 degree spin thrown in for good measure. We weren't entirely naked as we still had on knee warmers, hats, and sunglasses. I ended up taking home a nice set of wheels for the effort (and we got some props for getting the ball(s) rolling).
    41 people stepped up to the plate this year (not including the naked camera man).

    I get paid 3 every time I post on MTBR.

  5. #5
    Nightriding rules SuperModerator
    Reputation: crisillo's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    Awesome writing... keep it coming...

    Really funny about the "naked mile".. cool you got a wheelset out of the deal!


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