Posted by Editoress on 08/1/13
There are many 'charming' characteristics about camp life at the TransRockies Challenge. With several hundred people in tight quarters there are bound to be sounds coming from tents that most would rather not hear. That's why the suggested gear list includes one set of earplugs. Another charming feature of camp life in small mountain towns? Trains. It seems that every town has a set of train tracks running right through the centre of town. In this case, right next to camp. Four thirty AM...rise and shine!
From the beginning, in 2002, the TransRockies Challenge has always been about adventure and pushing yourself to new limits. Today would be no exception as the riders would be faced with their longest stage of the week. A 52km ride in the Crowsnest Pass would see them climb 1800 metres on a mix of double and singletrack trail.
With a Royal Canadian Mounted Police lead out, the field set out a 9 AM sharp for a quick cruise through Blairmore before beginning their first climb of the day. The 250 metre elevation gain would be enough for Calle Friberg and Oliver Zurbruegg to gap the field. With several challenging climbs to follow, and a fast singletrack descent to the finish, Friberg would pull away and take the Men's Open victory in a time of 2:29:48. However, Zurbruegg maintained a comfortable overall lead by 7 minutes and 25 seconds.
Women's Open leader Mical Dyck notched her second win in as many days, and her third of five, to build her overall lead to 7 minutes and 57 seconds over Jean Ann Berkenpas. Dyck would clock a 3:05:35 on the day. Pedro Veira kicked off his TransRockies with a Men's 50+ Stage One win and would not stand atop the podium again until today. His posting of 3:05:01 time would best overall leader Beat Zumstein. Men's 40+ leader Leighton Poidevin continued to ride strongly, posting his fifth consecutive stage win in 2:49:55.
As the temperatures rose into the mid 20s, and with blue sky as far as the eye could see, the heat began to take its toll. The final climb on the day would have the field off their bikes and pushing, or carrying, them to the summit. Men's Open leaders Sebestian Cadieux Duval and Marc-Andre Daigle of team Louis Garneau were the first team to arrive at the top and the fastest to the finish in 2:43:57. They were followed 1 minute and four seconds later by Men's 100+ leaders Mike Kloser and Michael Tobin.
With deep leads established it's beginning to look like the leaders in the Women's Open, Mixed Open and Men 80+ are well on their way to locking up overall titles. Jodie Willet and Cathryn Zeglinski, Daniella Storch and Lutz Baumgaertel and Geoff Clark and Juancito Garcia Casatti will look to extend their overall leads on the trails of Kananaskis Country.
Through two stages of the TR4 the most competitive division continues to be the 40+ Men. David Neubeck would eventually build a 1 minute and 33 second lead over Dennie McGarry for his second stage win in a time of 3:29:00. Paul Tichelaar (Open Men), Trish Grajczyk (Open Women) and Conrad Oudet (50+ Men) all came out on top for the second day in a row. Tichelaar boasts the greatest overall lead of any TR4 division by 16 minutes and 24 seconds.
Bright and early Thursday morning we will hit the highway bound for Kananaskis Country. A Stage Six noon start at Pine Grove A Group Camp will feature 44.5km and 1400 metres of climbing with a finish last minute re-route to he finish at Stoney Nakoda Resort.
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