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TransRockies 2005 – Day 1

August 8th, 2005 – Of all the Mountain Bike epics, the TransRockies Challenge has earned the reputation of being the wildest and the most technical of the bunch. Stage One of the 2005 TransRockies Challenge lived up the billing with all new layout that, though relatively short, punished the nearly 350 riders with roughly 40km of relentlessly technical, dusty singletrack and 1150 metres of climbing before the finish in the rustic mountain town of Sparwood.

The first day of a Stage Race like this one is the moment when all the pre-race nerves and speculation disappear and the first measure of who has the fitness, tactics and luck to chase the podium. In the Open Men’s category, last year’s Champion Andreas Hestler of Rocky Mountain Business Objects, and his new partner 2004 Canadian National Espoir XC Champ Marty rolled to the line, ready to answer the pre-race hype that had made them targets for the rest of the field including last year’s runners up, the Race Face Mountain Men Troy Misseghers and Neil Grover.

Mechanicals and flats were common on the rooty, fast singletrack descent, and the dusty conditions caused drivetrain issues for many. The Mountain Men had the misfortune of an early mechanical when Misseghers ripped the sidewall of his tire. Though the repair took a long time, the pair used their local knowledge to put on a stellar fightback to end up in second place at the finish line with a time of 2:31:24. Knowing that they had a gap on their nearest competitors, they were able to nurse Lazarski’s ailing drivetrain to the finish in a time of 2:22:07.

“We’re really happy with the way the day went,” said Hestler. “Though it’s only day one and there’s nothing even remotely decided yet, having a 9 minute cushion is way more than we hoped and it gives us a tactical advantage for the moment.”

Though the Costa Rican pair of 2004 La Ruta des los Conquistadores champion Paolo Cesar Montoya and Marco Pohlond enjoyed the heat which hit 35 degrees Celcius at the finish (95 degrees Fahrenheit), the Rocky Mountain singletrack was a brand new experience. Nonetheless, they hung tough for an excellent third place in 2:36:22 on the day.

In the women’s category, Trish Stevenson and Karen Masson of Team Cane Creek grabbed the first honours with a time of 3:15:53 and established a gap of 6 1/2 minutes over Whistler’s Hillary Harrison and Nikki Cassell (Team Momentum Training) who finished at 3:22:28. The biggest cheer of the day probably went to the local contingent of Team Elk Valley/Blackstone Christine Misseghers and Kate Aardal. Local knowledge and loads of support gave them the extra boost they needed to hold on for a spot on the podium in a time of 3:34:39.

Racing as Team Rodge and Podge, Ireland’s Robin Seymour and Tarja Owens might have fooled a few teams into thinking that they were out for a laugh. If so, they weren’t fooled for long. A blistering stage win in 2:48:52 not only gave them the first leaders’ jerseys, it was good enough for seventh overall on the day! Their performance wasn’t a big surprise as both Seymour and Owens have storied racing resumes including a spot in the 2004 Olympics and countless World Cups. After Stage 1, they commented on their first trip to the TransRockies: “It was incredible,” said Seymour, “it must have been 40 km of fantastic singletrack with constant ups and downs, and different kinds or riding. Just great.”

Coming in second place in a time of Tom Zidek and his partner Samantha Phillips who kept Seymour and Owens in fighting, distance finishing in 2:58:25. Last year’s Mixed Champ Marg Fedyna teamed up with her new partner Blair Saunders to record an excellent third with a time of 2:59:07.

After the short opening first stage, Stage 2 is a completely different animal at 115 km of primarily double track riding with 1800 metres of vertical. With the heat and exposed nature of the ride, this has the potential to allow a whole different group of teams to step to the forefront.

Click the TR Challenge 2005 icon on the upper right corner of this page for live daily reports from Team Pedal/Kona

Men Open
1. Rocky Mountain Business Objects(HESTLER, Andreas CAN/LAZARSKI, Marty CAN) 02:22:07
2. Race Face (MISSEGHERS, Troy CAN/GROVER, Neil CAN) 02:31:24
3. LA RUTA C.R. SCOTIABA (POHLOND, Marco CRI/MONTOYA, Paolo Cesa CRI) 02:36:22

Women Open
1. Cane Creek (STEVENSON, Trish USA/MASSON, Karen AUS) 03:15:53
2. Momentum Training (HARRISON, Hillary USA/CASSEL, Nikki CAN) 03:22:28
3. Blackstone Elk Valley (MISSEGHERS, Christin CAN/KATE, Aardal NOR) 03:34:39

80+ Men
1. Haywood Securities (SHELLARD, James CAN/KVICK, David SW) 02:53:27
2. Pedal Magazine (DOYLE, Pat CAN/NEWITT, Paul CAN) 02:55:54
3. Cat Power (RICHMOND, Randy CAN/MITCHELL, Sandy CAN) 02:56:00

100+ Open Gender
1. Aussie Ratz (PEACOCK, Craig AUS/RYAN, Kerry AUS) 03:12:47
2. What Mountain Bike (WORLAND, Steve GBR/BONTRAGER, Keith USA) 03:19:53
3. Olympia Prairie Boyz (GAULD, Lindsay CAN/SISSONS, Don CAN) 03:31:23






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