Canadian stage races add solo categories

Two popular Canadian multi-day stage races are taking different approaches to introducing solo racing to their historically team-only events. The TransRockies is creating a three-day solo event in conjunction with the beginning of its full event while the BC Bike Race is allowing solo racers to go the full distance alone over seven days.

The TransRockies' new three-day solo category is called the TR3 to its eight edition. The solo event will run concurrently with the first three days of the TransRockies. The new category is suited for those unable to commit to a full week of riding and to first-timers looking for a stepping stone to participating in the full epic.

Though shorter in length, the TR3 will run from Panorama Mountain Village to Nipika Mountain Resort during the first two days and finish with a time-trial loop around the Nipika trail system on day three. Riders will cover between 150 and 200km over the three days with a stiff dose of climbing guaranteed by traversing major passes in and out of the mighty Columbia River Valley. Three categories - open men, open women and master 40+men - will be tallied.

"Every year, we are asked about solo riders and shorter versions of the race, and this year we felt like we had a great opportunity to bring something new to the event," said Event Director Aaron McConnell. "The TR3 should add a highly competitive solo component to our event without compromising the spirit of teamwork and co-operation which is fundamental to the TransRockies experience."

Going into its third year, the BC Bike race will score its solo participants in the same three categories as the TransRockies. The BC Bike Race will journey from Vancouver to Whistler through the legendary singletrack of British Columbia

"With this move to include solos in a traditionally team-dominated discipline, we will be stepping into unknown territory. We felt that many people were having difficulty locating team partners, especially those not from a large cycling center. We are addressing this problem by adding the solo categories and wish to make sure that everybody can participate in our event," said BC Bike Race Racer Relations Manager Kathy Lilyholm.

The BC Bike race will begin on June 28, and the TransRockies will start on August 9.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.