Rafter Six Resort-Canmore
45km/1330m climbing/1330m descending
After six days of evenly matched racing, Mat Haussener and Damian Perrin of Team Zaboo held a slim 2:14 lead over Carter Hovey and Martin Vale of Team Fernie. During an interview on the start line Hovey and Vale said they were going to give it their all on the singletrack and trust that their British Columbia-built technical skills would get them to the finish line with enough of a gap to take the overall win.
When the gun went off, the race started with enough intensity that it seemed like was day 1 not day 7 and, at the first checkpoint 20km into the stage, Team Fernie’s strategy seemed to be paying off. They’d opened a 1:10 gap on Team Zaboo and were more than halfway to overtaking the Swiss pair. Then disaster struck as the next three teams on the road, Team Zaboo, Team Honey Stinger and Team Bicycle Café/Gericks missed a turn and shortcut the course emerging back on course ahead of Team Fernie. Vale and Hovey were able to catch and pass Team Zaboo and gain another 54 seconds before the finish line but now, the result was in confusion and was referred to race officials.
After discussing the events with all the affected teams, race officials assessed a penalty of 1:22 to Team Zaboo, and 3 minutes to the other teams who shortcut the course, giving Team Fernie the stage win and producing a tie between Team Fernie and Team Zaboo for the TransRockies first-ever deadlocked finish. “It’s unfortunate to end the race with a controversy after such a great week of racing but the teams showed a great sporting spirit in welcoming this outcome.”
The decision of the TranRockies Race Committee was influenced by the events of Stage 2 when Team Zaboo chose not to protest Martin Vale’s bike switch with another racer. It was hard to imagine after Team Fernie’s 15 minute loss, that the race result would come down to seconds. “The Committee felt that it would be unfair to have Team Zaboo lose the race because of their sporting gesture on Stage 2 so our first tie was the best outcome. We hope that both teams will return next year’s TransRockies to break the tie.”
The outcome of the other categories was not so difficult to discern. In the Open Women’s Division the Australian pair of Simone McCallum and Claire Garcia Webb had spend the whole week chasing the leading Team Fernie Fix pair of Krista Turcasso and Angie Krasnay and had five straight second place finishes to show for it. The last stage was going to be their last chance to grab a stage victory and they found the technical and testing singletrack to their liking riding away from the rest of the women’s field to grab the stage win and confirm their second place overall behind Fernie Fix who entered the last day with an insurmountable overall lead. Third place was taken by Team Zach Attack/Make-a-Wish who finished in front of family and friends on a perfect Canmore summer day.
The 80+ Mixed category has been fought between three teams all week and the last day was no exception as local riders Alana Heise and Steve Walsh confirmed their overall victory but finished second on the day behind Erica and Doug Krumpelman who took the stage in a quick 2:58:42. Third place on the day and second place overall went to the Swiss Team of Marco Carrer and Eva Carrer-Enz. In an unprecedented post Stage 6 ceremony Team Here Comes the Bride went from “mixed” to “married” when Clint Ball and Karen Tremaine tied the knot in front of the whole TransRockies family and a group of friends who had come along to cheer the race and the ceremony. Now that the TransRockies has had its first wedding, perhaps the next couple who are thinking about repeating the act will have to up the ante and get married on-course?
The Open Mixed and 100+ Open Divisions were really a one-team shows throughout the event and both winning teams cemented their overall wins with stage wins on the run into Canmore. Multi-time TR vet Jon Gould and his partner Stan Magee won all seven stages in the 100+ Open Division and Trish Graczyk and Ryan Schellenberg won six out of seven in the Open Mixed Division.
The 80+ Men’s Division always sees some of the best racing at the TransRockies and the defending champion Czech Masters team of Milan Spolc and Martin Horak had to fight every inch to get the win in 2011 as Martin crashed on Stage 5 injuring his hand and riding the last two stages with his right hand splinted so that he could hold the handlebars. Just behind them, two local teams, both from Deadgoat Racing, fought over the last podium places with Geoff Clark and Devin Erfle taking the honours ahead of Pat Doyle and Craig Bartlett.
The brand-new TR4 event at TransRockies allowed solo riders to officially complete the full seven days of riding for the first time and also allowed bikers ride just the four days through spectacular Kananaskis Country west of Calgary. Over the first three days the Kona Factory Racing pair of Barry Wicks and Kris Sneddon had split the honours with Wicks holding onto the overall. Wicks jumped out to an early lead on Stage 7 and looked set to solo to the win before Sneddon and Marty Lazarski reeled him in. The Kona boys then took turns working over Lazarski until they were able to drop him and ride to the finish line together to cross the line in a scorching 2:17:42, the fastest time of the day, Wicks being given the win by race officials. Lazarski finished third but was unable to make up the massive time loss he suffered due to mechanicals on Stage 6. David Gonda finished fourth on the day to confirm his 3rd overall place. Simon Pulfrey and Kira McClellan won their respective divisions to clinch the overall Men 40+ and Women’s races.
It’s fitting that for this anniversary edition, the 2011 TransRockies offered riders a full spectrum experience with trail conditions which varied from dry and dusty to snowy and muddy and a quick dose of violent mountain weather in an otherwise perfect week for good measure. It was as if the Rocky Mountains decided to sum up 10 epic years in one week. The tie in the Open Men’s Race was a first and showed that even a decade in, there are still new TransRockies stories to be told.
Registration for 2012 opens on August 14th.