The fourth edition of the TransRockies Challenge is set to start this Sunday August 7. Nearly 350 racers will set out from Fernie, British Columbia on a seven-day epic trek which will finish up seven days later in Canmore, Alberta, one of the jewels of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Between the ceremonial lap around Fernie’s historical downtown and the celebratory ride down Canmore’s Main Street, the racers will tackle 600km of gruelling climbs, technical singletrack and deep unbridged river crossings in the spectacular Canadian Rockies.
This year’s route has been revised from last year and includes an opening day which offers almost 50km of singletrack and an epic third day which will see the riders covering 135km and passing over the Highwood pass, the highest road in Canada.
As in past editions, the fifth stage from Sandy McNabb Campground to Bragg Creek is expected to be the Queen stage of the event. Nearly 110km long with 2300 metres of climbing and 44km of technical singletrack, Stage Five will be five hours in the saddle for the winners and seven to eight for most finishers.
Having sold out for the first time, the field will be deep and competitive in many categories. Riders to watch include Rocky Mountain Business Objects’ Andreas Hestler, one-half of last year’s winning team who will partner with 2004 Canadian national espoir cross-country champion Marty Lazarski. They can expect a real fight from Team ScotiaBank/La Ruta which feature 2004 Ruta de los Conquistadores winner Pablo Cesar Montoya and partner Marco Pohlond.
Last year’s winners Team Scott Contessa are not returning to defend their championship, so the women’s category is wide open. Favourites include Team Momentum Training with former La Ruta women’s winner Hillary Harrison and teammate Nikki Kassel. With numerous wins in endurance mountain bike and adventure races Team Cane Creek’s Trish Stevenson and Karen Masson will also step up to the start line with ambitions of a high placing.
From the teams racing for the podium and a share of the $20,000 prize money, to the recreational riders just looking to finish, the 2005 TransRockies Challenge will be a the toughest possible test of fitness, riding skill and equipment.
For more information, visit www.transrockies.com. Stay tuned for daily race reports.