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TransRockies Challenge Stages 4 and 5 Reports, Results, Photos

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August 02, 2012 (Calgary, AB) – Stage 4 at the 2012 TransRockies Challenge saw the riders say goodbye to legendary Fernie as the TR7 contingent boarded buses bound for North Fork Recreation Area southwest of Calgary, Alberta. A spectacular 3 hour drive north through cowboy country brought the riders to the start line. The final 4 stages harkens back to the early days of the TransRockies with a return to the festival atmosphere of camp life.

With three days down and 4 to go, this day would see the continuation of the TR7 battle and the start of the TR4. The North Folk to Little Elbow stage welcomes the athletes to the pleasures of ‘K Country’ riding and delivers them to the finish line some 47km away. With the sun shining for a 4th day in a row the riders hit the trail bound for Little Elbow.

TR3 overall champion Neal Kindree decided to stick around for some more fun lining up for a go at the TR4. Kindree continued his winning ways and burned through the course in 2:24:18 crossing the line to the sounds of Motley Crew’s ‘Same Old Situation’. The TR4 Open Women kicked off the day in fine fashion and Kristin Walters was able to take the opening stage win in 3:24:54 over Ene Underwood. Fresh off a 2nd place finish in the TR3, Jeff Neilson returned to his home turf and joined the TR4 crowd winning the opening stage for the 40+ Men.

As the day progressed, welcome cloud cover swept across the skies giving the TR7 contingent relief from the unrelenting sun of the previous 3 days. Fortunately, this year would not be a repeat of the 2011 stage 4 ending downpour. TR7 Men’s Open had been dominated over the first 3 days by the Planetfoods/Honeystinger team of Stefan Widmer and Jon Firth. Today would see a sprint to the finish with Greg Day and Colin Kerr taking the stage win by a mere 1 second. Widmer and Firth would retain the overall lead. Another close finish came in the Open Mixed Category with Kiwis Tristan Lawrence and Anja McDonald cruising in by a slim 57 second margin over TR7 leaders Normon Thibault and Wendy Simms. To this point, Simms and Thibault had secured 3 straight victories.

Many fear the bears in K-Country and riders will often carry spray with them in case of a rare encounter. After a near collision with a herd of cows, the ladies of XPREZO-BORSAO, Jean Ann Berkenpas and Sandra Walter, are no longer so concerned about bears. Nonetheless, they captured a 4th straight stage victory in a time of 2:54:14. Pat Doyle and Craig Bartlett have been overpowering in the Men’s 80+ building a lead of 55+ minutes after two consecutive victories. Today, team Cycling Point, Milan Spolc and Jiri Benes came storming back for a stage 4 victory while Eva and Marco Carrer continued their stranglehold on the 80+ mixed with win number 4. LiveOutThere.com teammates Darrell Jones and Tom Ebbern scored their first stage win of the event and became the 4th new stage winners in 4 days in the 100+ Open Mixed.

TransRockies Challenge Stage 5

(Kananaskis, AB) – With stage five looming the riders woke to a 5th straight day of sunny skies. An overnight hailstorm pelted the camp but any evidence of wet weather was largely gone by start time. Today the field would be tested by some of the hardest climbs of the event with elevation gains of 2100 metres over 65 plus kms.

Men’s Open TR7 leaders, Jon Firth and Stefan Widmer built a solid lead through the first three stages with 3 victories. Stage 4 saw them defeated by 1 second. Early on day 5, on the descent from Prairie Creek Trail, the boys were in the thick of things with the Rocky Mountain Factory Team. By day’s end the gap had opened up to 20:49 and Widmer and Firth took the win in 4 hours and 17 minutes.

Large gaps between 1st and 2nd place would be the theme of the day with the Open Women’s team of Jean Ann Berkenpas and Sandra Walter cruising in ahead of Alana Heise and Nicole Muzecheka by a margin of nearly 48 minutes. The long climb up Moose Mountain continued to spread out the field with Pat Doyle and Craig Bartlet eventually crossing the line, for a win in the Men’s 80+, in 4:35:34 over 1 hour and 7 minutes ahead of Stage 4 winners Milan Spolc and Jiri Benes. Husband and wife team Eva and Marco Carrer continued to roll through the 80+ Mixed category with their 5th straight victory.

The closest finish of the day came in the Open Mixed category with the team of Normon Thibault and Wendy Simms improving on their 2nd place finish on Stage 4, winning by 1 minute and 8 seconds. Joe McCarthy and Randal Walker were able to outlast Darrell Jones and Tom Ebbern by a margin of 4:43 for victory in the 100+ Open.

40+ TR4 competitor Jeff Neilson seems to have hit his stride after his 2nd place overall finish in the TR3. Two days and two stage wins into the TR4 he’s leading the pack by almost 23 minutes over 2nd place rider Geoff Clark. TR4 Open Men’s leader Neal Kindree of Team Specialized continued his winning ways with a 3 minute and 10 second win over Dougal Allan. TR4 Open Women’s winner Kristin Walters took her 2nd straight stage in a time of 6:34:42.

Complete results available HERE.





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