August 11, 2004 (Etherington Creek, Alberta) – Mud makes the third day of TransRockies Challenge the toughest yet. Muddy trails from yesterday’s rains made the 97 km track of the third stage of the TransRockies Challenge the longest and most challenging yet for riders in the toughest mountain bike race in the world.
The mud was largely responsible for many mechanical problems that upset the overall standings. Troy Misseghers of Blairmore, Alberta and Neil Grover of Winnepeg crossed the finish line first, with a time of 6:14:31, well ahead of last year’s TransRockies Challenge champions, Andreas Strobel, of Germany, and Silvio Wieltschnig, from Austria, who finished 42 minutes later, victims of mud and mechanical problems. The performance jumped the Canadians into first place overall with an accumulated time of 14:18:44, 18 minutes ahead of the Europeans who are now in second place overall.
The second team to cross the finish line under today’s sunny skies were the Swiss Masters’ team of Karl Arnold, 43, and Stephan Ruttimann, 40, who finished in 6:37.44. They now have a commanding overall lead of more than two hours over the Pedal/Kona team of Paul Newitt,39, and Nels Guloien, 49, of Vancouver.
“I’ve never seen mud like that before and I never want to see mud like that again,” commented Arnold on the wet clay that clogged many bikes today.
In the mixed category, Niclas Christoffersson of Canmore and Marg Fedyna from Edmonton continued their overall lead with a finish today of 7:19.11. They are now almost 36 minutes ahead of Eric Warkentin and Louise Kobin, both from California, who finished fourth today.
Germans Karen Eller and Sabrine Grona maintained their lead over Christina Begy, a member of last year’s women’s championship team, and her partner Joan Orgeldinger, finishing today’s stage in just under eight hours for an overall time of 18: 22:47.
The fourth stage of the TransRockies Challenge will cover 63 km of trail where riders will experience a total of 3,400 metres of vertical ascent and descent before fording the Sheep River at before the finish line. The event will finish in Canmore, Alberta this Saturday, Aug. 14, where winners will share $20,000 in prize money.
Inaugurated in 2002, the TransRockies Challenge is based on the successful TransAlps Challenge. Both events are organized by upsolut mv. Gmbh of Munich, Germany. Sponsors of the TransRockies Challenge are Travel Alberta, Sugoi, Devinci, Glenmore Audi, The Bike Shop and Refresh.
To read daily reports from the trenches as Paul Newitt and Nels Guloien (both riding for Team Pedal/Kona) complete TR 2004, click here:
Check http://www.transrockies.com/media/2004_stage_3.html for full results.