August 4, 2006 – The fifth edition of the TransRockies Challenge is set to start this Sunday August 6th when 450 racers from over 20 countries will set out from Fernie, British Columbia. The will embark on a seven-day epic trek which will take them over the Continental Divide twice before they reach the finish line at Panorama Resort.
Between the time that the riders roll away from Fernie’s historic downtown and the celebratory ride down into Panorama Resort where friends and family will be waiting, the racers will have tackled nearly 600km of riding. That includes nearly 12,000 vertical metres of climbing, endless singletrack and the real Rocky Mountain wilderness experience which has helped the TransRockies triple in size since it began in 2002.
“We are so excited about this year’s event,” said TransRockies Co-founder Chester Fabricius. “When we came here, we had a vision of this race becoming something really special and with riders coming here from all over the World to take on these trails, it is everything that we imagined.”
Even for the handful of riders attempting to complete their fifth TransRockies Challenge, this year’s route will present a very new challenge with a spectacular new course through the Kootenay Rockies which includes visits to new host locations like Invermere and Nipika Resort. The toughest day in this year’s event is likely to be Stage 3 from Blairmore, Alberta to Elkford, British Columbia which covers 109km with over 2600 metres of climbing including two major passes. Then again, anyone who has ridden the TransRockies before can attest that the changeable conditions in the Rockies mean that any stage, no matter how short or simple on paper, can quickly turn into an epic.
The riders all compete as two-person teams and must arrive at each of the several daily checkpoints together and at the finish line together. While most teams will be on the start line with the single goal of finishing this epic, there are some who line up with glory in mind.
Two-time defending champion Andreas Hestler of Team Rocky Mountain Business Objects is back with his fourth different partner in his four attempts at the race. This year, he will partner up with former Olympian Seamus McGrath who is making his first foray into the world of multi-day epic riding. Along with this Olympic duo, there are strong riders throughout the fields like former Ironman World Champion Heather Fuhr who is riding in the Open Mixed category with teammate Jason Tuffs, and Louise Kobin who has been a podium perennial at the TransRockies and TransAlps.
Many of the most interesting and compelling TransRockies stories don’t take place on the podium, though, and this year is no exception. In 2005, Eric and James Crowe became the first father and son team to finish the event and in 2006, John and Calindy Ramsden are looking to go them one better. Not only are they trying to be the first father and daughter team to finish the race, but given that Calindy is only 16, she would also become the youngest-ever finisher of the TransRockies Challenge. Likewise, Rich Dillen and Josh Neely of Team Bad Idea, winners of the Race Face Ultimate XC Challenge, will attempt to become the first single-speed team to complete the TransRockies.
From the teams racing for the podium and a share of the $20,000 prize money, to the recreational riders just looking to finish, the 2006 TransRockies Challenge will once again prove that the Rockies offer the toughest test and consequently the greatest rewards that can be found in the world of epic mountain biking.
For more information, visit http://www.transrockies.com and stay tuned for daily race reports.