Posted by Editoress on 08/2/13
Pine Grove A Group Camp to Rafter Six Ranch, 48 km (Thursday August 1st)
After a sunbathed Stage Five the riders crawled into their tents for one last night in Blairmore. Through the night, clouds would roll in, leading to showers that would end by morning. Our hardy campers ate breakfast under the big top tent, packed up and set out on the highway for a 3 hour transfer to Kananaskis Country.
The plan for Stage 6 was to start at Pine Grove Group Camp, approximately 45 minutes west of Calgary, and ride to the finish at Rafter Six Ranch. Originally, the stage would have travelled from Little Elbow Campground, however, the flooding in Kananaskis Country necessitated a move of the start. Unfortunately, the repercussions of the flood would continue to be felt today with a last minute re-route of the finish from Rafter Six to the Stoney Nakoda Resort. The planned trail access to Rafter Six Ranch, anticipated to be re-opened for today's stage, remained closed. Ultimately, this would shorten the route from a distance of 48km to 44.5km.
Today would be a challenging ride with a tough climb up Cox Hill. The flood damaged trail would reduce most, if not all, riders to walking. After conquering Cox the field would climb Lusk Pass and descend to a creek crossing at checkpoint one. In a repeat of Stage Five, Calle Friberg took the Men's Solo lead and maintained it to the finish, winning in 2:16:52. Friberg would move up to third in the overall classification behind leader Oliver Zurbruegg with Cory Wallace in second.
The Women's Solo division has seen three separate stage winners over six stages. After flatting on Stage Five, Petra Tlamkova would storm back for her second win of the week in 2:46:10. Overall leader Mical Dyck followed in 2:51:50 and maintains a 16 minute and 43 second lead over Jean Ann Berkenpas.
Six stages in, and six victories later, Leighton Poidevin continues to dominate the 40+ Men's division building a 23 minute overall lead. Entering the final stage, Pedro Vieira continues to close the gap on Beat Zumstein, with a second straight stage win in 2:47:59. Zumstein holds a 2 minute and 39 second lead going into the final day.
The theme of the week continues to be that of dominance. Four out of five category leading teams have won six stages each. In the Men's 100+, Mike Kloser and Michael Tobin of team Sram XX1 extended their overall lead to just over three hours finishing the stage in 2:34:02. Open Mixed duo team Scott - Generation, Daniella Storch and Lutz Baumgaertel, increased their lead to 2:20:59 with a stage time of 2:52:23. Men's 80+ team JCTr, composed of Geoff Clark and Juancito Garcia Casatti, have a commanding one hour and 42 minute lead after posting a time of 2:46:46.
Jodie Willet and Cathryn Zeglinski, of team Northlands, continue a strong showing and rolled through the finish at Stoney Nakoda Resort in 3:10:37, extending their overall lead to a very comfortable one hour and seventeen minutes. A missed turn led to extra mileage for Men's Open leaders team Louis Garneau - Quebec. Retracing their tracks, Sebestien Cadieux Duval and Marc-Andre Daigle, returned to the course and made a valiant effort to move to the front. They would finish eighth on the day but retain their overall lead by 3 minutes. Team Racing 29, Martin Moeberg Hansen and Morten Abel Jensen, would earn the win in 2:45:32.
Familiar faces remain in the lead with three of four stages in the record books. With a one hour and 14 minute lead going into the final day of racing, Women's Open leader Trish Grajczyk, will look to finish off her TR4 with win number four. Similarly, Men's Open leader Paul Tichelaar, has built a massive one hour and two minute lead after posting a stage winning 2:42:49. Conrad Oudet, too, won his third stage and sits first in the Men's 50+. Oudet would finish in 2:58:08 and lengthen his lead to just under thirty-nine minutes.
The Men's 40+ has been the most competitive of the TR4 categories. Even so, David Neubeck has managed to pull off three victories and build and lead of 4 minutes and 58 seconds. Today he would take the victory in 3:08:16, 52 seconds ahead of Jeff Gardner.
Stage 7 will begin at 10:00 AM and feature a time trial format. Beginning in Deadman's Flats, the riders will make their way to the Canmore Nordic Centre before finishing on Main Street. With a distance of 37km, and 1000 metres of climbing, this stage is sure to be short and sweet.
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