August 6, 2006 — Though the 2006 TranRockies Challenge has a very new route for much of its length, the 400 plus riders who rode out of Fernie, BC were faced with an extended version of last year’s rough and tumble Stage 1 – Fernie to Sparwood, 61km/1,225 metres climbing.
Like last year, the stage was raced in dry, hot conditions and wound up and down through some classic Kootenay singletrack – rooty, steep and unrelentingly challenging. And, as so often happens on the first day of multi-day races, Stage 1 was raced at full XC intensity and produced lots of flats, crashes and cramps.
When the 61 technical kms were completed, two-time defending TransRockies Champion Andreas Hestler of Rocky Mountain Business Objects rolled across the finish line in a time of 3:01:07 to finish first with partner Seamus McGrath of Felt Racing. “We gave it full gas on the first two climbs and managed to open up a little gap on the Mountain Bike City boys,” said Hestler. “We just tried to ride the singletrack smoothly and crash-free and it seemed to pay off. We’ve got a good gap that we’ll try to defend tomorrow.” With the top three teams within three minutes of each other, this looks like it could be the closet edition yet of the TransRockies Challenge.
In the Open Women’s Category, the Uncivil Servants””Nikki Kassel and Lesley Clements from Whistler opened up a definitive eleven-minute lead on their competition. The Open Mixed category looks to be as competitive as ever with several strong teams vying for the purple leaders jerseys. Endurance legend Lynda Wallenfels and partner David Harris earned the right to wear them first with a finish time of 3:47:33.
On Day 2 the riders will leave Sparwood and the World’s Biggest Truck on a 77km journey across the Continental Divide to Crowsnest Pass in Alberta. Though the course isn’t as technical, over 2,100 metres of climbing and two major passes await the riders.
For pedalmag.com’s daily TR 2006 coverage click here.
1. Andreas Hestler/Seamus McGrath (CAN) Rocky Mountain Business Objects/Felt Racing 3:01:07
2. Troy Misseghers CAN Mountain Bike City 3:03:16
3. Tim Heemskerk/Evan Sherman (NED/CAN) United Cycles/Trek 3:03:32
4. Matt Green/Stefan Widmer (CAN) RMB/Team Sugoi 3:10:05
5. Mike Pamler/Martin Vale (CAN) Aviawest-Vega 3:18:33
1. Lynda Wallenfels/David Harris (USA) Health FX 3:47:33
2. Louise Kobin/Eric Warkentin (USA) X-Fusion 3:54:00
3. Samuel Koerber/Tricia Stevenson (USA) Cannondale/Land Rover 3:55:54
4. Hillary Harrison/Ryan Watts (USA/CAN) Crissi–Crystal Hotels 3:57:50
1. Lesley Clements/Nikki Kassel (CAN) Marin/Kona Whistler 3:57:56