August 13, 2004 (Bragg Creek, Alberta) – The lead tightens on the fifth stage of TransRockies Challenge. The race for first place in the TransRockies Challenge, the toughest mountain bike race in the world, became tighter today with aggressive riding by the Rocky Mountain Bike team and a serious course error by the first place team of Troy Misseghers and Neil Grover,Andreas Hestler and Karl Platt, riding for Rocky Mountain Bikes, road hard on the 105K course from the start, west of Turner Valley, to the Alberta hamlet of Bragg Creek, finishing in 4:35:07. They were followed a half hour later by last year’s champions Andreas Strobel and Silvio Wieltschnig. Meanwhile, overall leaders Troy Misseghers and Neil Grover took a wrong turn, and not seeing any competitors, eased back on their pace. The mistake made them third today with a time of 5:10:15 and cut their overall lead over Hestler and Platt to just under two-and-a-half minutes.
This was the best mountain bike course I’ve ridden in my life,” commented Platt. “Our strategy was simply to attack the course and use our technical advantage on downhills to make up the time we lost earlier in the race,” said Hestler.
Karl Arnold, 43, and Stephan Ruttimann, 40, were today again the first masters team to cross the finish line with a time of 5:28:38, stretching their lead over the Pedal/Kona team of Paul Newitt, 39, and Nels Guloien, 49, to 46 minutes.
Mixed leaders Niclas Christoffersson of Canmore and Marg Fedyna from Edmonton finished third today, after Fedyna suffered a nasty head gash that required stitches after falling while entering Bragg Creek. Their overall lead over today’s first place finishers, Eric Warkentin and Louise Kobin, shrunk to 24-and-a-half minutes.
Women’s overall leaders Karen Eller and Sabrine Grona came in first today with a time of 6:01:56 to increase their overall advantage over Christina Begy and Joan Orgeldinger, who were second today, to one hour and 11 minutes with a total time of 29:36:34.
The Transrockies Challenge continues another 79K tomorrow from Bragg Creek to Seebe, Alberta where riders will be treated to real western hospitality at the Rafter Six Ranch Resort. Riders will experience more than 4,000 vertical metres including a very steep and fast descent from the summit of Jumpingpound Ridge. 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: http://www.pedalmag.com/index.php?module=CustomPage&action=view&custompage_id=101
For full results, click on http://www.transRockies.com/media/images/stage5_results.pdf