Trans Rockies has been on my list of “must-do” stage races. This year was the last year of the TR3/TR7. Singletrack6 is taking over for the future with a slightly different course and format. I wanted to do the 7 day Trans Rockies. I also was signed up for Leadville and 3 day Breck Epic back to back, but I decided to pull back and proceed conservatively. The TR3 would be a great speedwork tune-up after the racing the Breck 100 2 weeks before the TR3. The TR3 was attractive because it was all based in Fernie, Alberta. Easy logistics. We ended up staying at some psycho Bed and Breakfast, but that’s a whole other story. Singletrack6 is still on my list!
Stage 1 –
As we lined up for the start of Stage 1 of the Trans Rockies, I realized the stage would be on the order of 2.5 hours. The last race I did was 9hours 45min race time, so I tried to remember how to pace for a 2.5 hour race. In fact, my last XC pace race was 4 or 5 years ago! I wasn’t really sure if I had anything other than a 100 mile race pace, but I hoped I could push my pace a bit harder. I didn’t know what to expect of myself for stages that short so I just went for it- all in. The start was a fast plume of dust. I got caught behind a crash and spent about a mile playing catch-up on the painful dirt road climb. I was in good position as I entered the singletrack sitting in 2nd place. I found a steady but hard rhythm, pushing much harder than I would in my typical endurance races. Something weird was happening- I was breathing really hard! It was great to have my Stages PowerMeter to see where I was at and later analyze how much power I was sustaining compared to the Breck 100. In the middle section of trail, I was passed by a cheerful Sandra Walter who I later found out is leading the (UCI?) Canada Cup Pro XC series. I felt frustrated on the descents because I knew that although I was riding well for myself, I was losing time. The DH was not fun like it should be; it was stressful. The stress was self-inflicted, my own attitude problem. I was getting passed by several people – something that doesn’t happen often to me in US racing(other than at the Trans-sylvania Epic!!). I was envious of how buttery smooth Sandra was on the trail and watched her disappear into the beautiful forest.
Photo: John Gibson Totally digging my Neon Defeet Socks
I was a bit pooped on the last long singletrack climb for the day and thankful (our second rendezvous up Hyperventilation Trail that day) from the strong pace I laid out at the start. I hadn’t breathed that hard in a race in a long time, pushing myself to the limit on the climbs. By Hyperventilation x2, I was in more of my endurance pace. Mical Dyck and I had been going back and forth all day (she was in the TR7 category) and I overtook both her and Jean Ann Berkenpas who were contending for 1st and 2nd in the TR7…and they overtook me on the last descent.
Photo: John Gibson
I finished 3rd for Stage 1 with Sandra Walter in 2nd and Melanie McQuaid in 1st. I was only a few minutes down from 1st. I also noted that Kate Aardal was only a couple minutes behind me in 4th place. It was going to be a fun, competitive race! I looked at the course profile for Stage 2 and thought it would be my day – one giant climb followed by one giant descent.