Past TransRockies winners Parker, Thibault and Neilson back for more

Saturday marks the beginning of the 11th edition of North America's original mountain bike stage race, the TransRockies Challenge. Over 300 singletrack-loving mountain bikers from 17 countries will take to the slopes of the Canadian Rockies in an effort to test their physical and mental abilities. Riders from Australia to Mexico and beyond will touch down in Fernie and Kananaskis for a taste of what epic mountain biking is all about.

2012 brings the return of several seven-, eight-, and nine-time TransRockies finishers like Simon Parker, Norm Thibault, and Jeff Neilson. These hearty folks will be joined by hundreds of friends, family and community supporters along with scores of TransRockies staff and volunteers.

Once again, a strong field of elite riders is set to take part in the 2012 event. This year's field will include many past TransRockies champions, professional riders and national champions. The TR7 welcomes back past TR7 champions Trish Grajczyk, Alana Heise, Milan Spolc (back again from the Czech Republic), Joe Mcarthy and Randy Walker, Stan McGee and John Gould, Pat Doyle, Stefan Widmer (riding with team Team Planetfoods/Honey Stinger rider Jon Firth) and Fernie residents Krista Turcasso and Angie Krasney taking on TR3 this year after winning TR7 as a team last year.

TR4 women's leader The TR3 and TR4 solo events will offer some fierce competition as well with the likes of Ian Auld (TR4 2011 winner) Gabor Csonka (winner of our own The North Face Rundle's Revenge in 2011 and 2012) and Mical Dyck (multiple TR7 winner).

Other riders of note include Marc-Andre Daigle (Louis Garneau Mountain bike team), Neal Kindree (2 time Canadian National Champion) and with Chris Sheppard (past winner of TransRockies and BC Bike Race).

The evolution of the TransRockies route continues as we introduce new routes for stages 2 and 3 focussing on epic high country views, singletrack, and flowy trails with downhill stage finishes.

The seven-day route has a combined distance of 322km and 11,750 meters of elevation gain. Fifty-four percent of the route is singletrack.

Although not happening this year, TransRockies organizers promised a solo seven-day category for the first time in 2013. For this year, seven-day racers must still race in two-person teams.

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