By Emily Sabelhaus
This is the next installment in a series about the 2016 Trans BC enduro race masterminded by Megan Rose. If you missed the Day 1 recap, check it out here. Now on to Day 2 and 3 ...
Day 2: Penticton
On Day 2, racers were feeling the first twinges of multi-day stage racing. At 6:30 am, we stuffed our hungry faces with a hot breakfast, then boarded buses for the trails of Penticton – an arid landscape speckled with grippy rock slabs and gorgeous singletrack.
Cloudy skies overnight blanketed the area with rain. By the time we arrived, the granite was wet and very slippery. Incredibly unpredictable traction made for an exciting day of bike racing!
Sonya and Gina enjoy the view before dropping into Stage 2. Sometimes that rock felt as grippy as sandpaper, other times it was more like an ice rink.
Racers enjoyed heaps of bacon served up by Shaun Gratton of the Penticton and Area Cycling Association. Shaun had to drop out of the race due to injury but was still keen on volunteering. I’m not sure what we would have done without the scent of bacon to keep us motivated! Fellow racer Matt Patterson tucked a little in his goggle strap for the climb to the next stage.
Tire pressure varied widely today – some racers opted for higher pressures because of the pokey rocks littering the trails; others opted for lower pressures because of the super slick conditions. Like so many others, I flatted, but Alex taught me how to use my brand spanking new tire plug and I was back on the trail in no time.
I tossed my bike more times that I’d like to admit which left my fork looking a little less new than when I began the race that morning.
4,500 feet of climbing provided racers with some incredible views of the valley below. Ty is stoked to finish the day on a high note as we raced to beat the incoming squall.
Adam Craig led the party train to the bottom of the final stage. When Cait and I dropped into this stage we quickly came upon an injured racer at the bottom of a super steep, long, slippery rock slab (elbow/head/face injury- don’t worry, he’s ok). We waited with the racer until help arrived and decided to cruise out the rest of the stage instead of hiking back to the top for a re-run. I don’t regret that decision. It was my favorite shred of the day.
We arrived at the hotel around 4 pm, but some of our rooms weren’t ready until as late as 10:30 pm because of a staffing issue, so the media team set up shop in the lobby and got to work.
Bikes filled the lobby hallway as racers lounged, dipped in the hot tub, and refueled. By the time I got my room it was nearly 11 pm and I stayed up far too late messing with my rock ravaged bike – changing tires, resetting suspension, and adding Stan’s. This should have been a clue as to how I’d fare the next day …
DAY 3: Rossland
Warning! This was my tough day. My whiny, self-defeating, “I’m not even half way through this event and my legs feel like lead” day. I woke up feeling as though I’d just raced 2 hard days in a row – because I had. And I knew we had another 5,000-foot climb ahead of us.
I was looking forward to the high alpine views, but not the work to get there. In the end, Day 3 provided racers huge brake burning alpine descents, pumped hands, sore legs, and smiling faces.
The transfer to the beginning of Stage 1 was incredible. Racers biked and hiked along stunning ridgelines on the Seven Summits trail for an hour and a half before reaching the beginning of the stage – a physical 15-minute descent. I can still smell my brake rotors roasting.
We encountered a good bit of snow on the way up to Stage 1, but the descending trails were mercifully clear!
The next stage was known as “1X,” a short bit of secret loam that connected the beginning of the day to the end. (Photo Credit: Colin Meagher)
After dragging our tired and tattered bodies out of the alpine and back to the base of Red Mountain, I found myself craving beer and a nap. Instead, I indignantly prepared for another 1,500-foot climb for the final stage.
That last climb was brutal and I was thoroughly tuckered by this point, so I took it nice and slow. And drank lots of Beta Red formula.
I took my time, enjoyed the views, drank some Beta Red, whipped out my camera and took LOTS of photos to distract myself. It worked!
The final stage provided racers the opportunity to ride a recently resurrected DH track that dropped over 1,400 feet in less than a mile with an average grade of 31 percent.
The DH track was STEEP, rowdy, and destroyed hundreds of helpless brake pads. The perfect way to end the day! Nikki and her 29er were super pinned on this stage. (Photo Credit: Colin Meagher)
I finished the day around 7 pm and I felt destroyed. I crawled back to my room, bonked hard, hugged a friend, and had some #realtalk with myself. While my roommates sat in the hot tub, I organized my gear for the next day, changed my brake pads, and hit the hay early. I didn’t want to merely survive this race, I wanted to enjoy it.