My 2017 season was really all based around the Transrockies Singletrack 6 stage race. Located in Rossland, Nelson, and Kaslo BC the event treated us to some of the coolest singletrack I have ever raced on. If you thought AZ was dusty, you have never ridden in this part of BC during the dry summer months! Holy sh!t it was rad!
Mary and I set out on our 2 week trip in the van a few days before the race started to allow us time for the 1500 mile drive. Once we arrived in Rossland I was excited to know were in for a warm 6 days of racing - with temps in the mid 90's. It was great to chill out and relax with Jonathan and Tanner before the race, and spend some time chilling in the freezing ass cold river that goes through the towns of Rossland and Trail. Spending time with these two is always a highlight of any trip we get to go on. Jonathan is truly one of the biggest influences in my riding and racing, and without his help - both coaching and creating Elevated Legs - I wouldn't be where I am today and I wouldn't be able to work on getting faster each year. A seriously huge thank you goes out to him and his family for the dedication and support to so many people in this amazing sport. I don't know if there is anyone else out there who loves mountain biking more than Jonathan and it shows with him being a vendor at many major endurance sporting events across the country, offering up his recovery product all athletes.
The first stage of the race started on Saturday in Rossland and it was pretty evident right from the get-go that we would pretty much be doing siz XC races haha! A little scary for me, but I was super excited to see how my training would pay off on the short, intense efforts. The field was super stacked with extremely talented and internationally known athletes, such as: Justin Lindine, Evan Guthrie, Cory Wallace, Matthew Belanger-Barrette and so many others. Mid-way through stage 1 I was having a hard time wiping the smile off my face as we rode some seriously amazing singletrack with super steep climbs. Corey set the pace high for the first half of the stage and towards the end, it was Evan and I battling over 2nd place while we chased Justin who had put a slight gap on us. At the end of the 2 hour day Justin rolled in first followed by Evan in 2nd and then I crossed 3rd. I was pretty dang stoked to get a start like that!
A little side note here on this whole stage race thing - I quickly learned it was all about trying to recover right after each stage, into the evening and onto the following days race. Mary was an absolute angel with her constant help and cooking while we camped for the whole event. It would have made things 10x more stressful and difficult if she hadn't been there. Her selfless acts throughout the week were just as difficult as racing I'm sure!
With these stages being so much shorter from I am used to, I tried to warm up for close to an hour each day to get the legs firing right from the start. Stage 2 proved to be one of the toughest days for me personally as we started at the Red Mountain ski hill and straight uphill right out of the gate. I have been working on improving my fitness for quick starts, and I can tell I have definitely improved over the past few months - BUT I was still in the hurt locker right out of the gate with Corey once again pushing an insane pace. The singletrack throughout stage 2 blew my mind - super primitive in the first half and a true mountain biking experience! A ton of singletrack throughout the day but the early, steep and intense effort left me clinging to life and searching for my second wind towards the end. As I crested the final climb descent to the finish, my legs FINALLY came around, but it was a little too late. I settled for 4th on stage 2, but was still extremely stoked on how the day went!
Each evening, the Transrockies crew hosted a rider meeting with daily podiums and a briefing on the following days course and what to expect. We learned that stage 3 would be a little different start – we would be lined up based on our average time, five riders across. I really liked the idea of this, as there wouldn't be such a scrambled dash for the singletrack. I was shocked at how efficient the race staff operated, not only during the start of the stages and daily awards/meetings but throughout the whole event. They really know what they are doing and have an A+ staff – they were the most kind and cool volunteers and photographers I have seen at any event. Thank you so very much for taking the time and offering all of your help and services to us as racers! We really do appreciate each and every one of you!
Stage 3 was a little north of the Red Mountain resort and as discussed in the previous days meeting, we lined up for the staggered start with the top 5 lined up first. Just like the past two days, it was a mad dash right from the start.This stage was pretty much ALL singletrack with about 40 minutes of climbing right away. Justin and Evan put a gap on me during this climb and I just couldn't reel them in as we continued up (I think the closest I got was 10 seconds or so). Frustrated at the failed attempt of bringing them back, I had to focus on my own race for stage 3. The Seven Summits trail was mind blowing and was such a great decision for this point to point stage. I will be honest and say I was a little hesitant on some of the descent because I was trying to rail them blindly. At the same time, I also kind of enjoy racing trails blindly as I think it adds to the excitement and keeps things fresh! If you are ever in the Rossland, BC area this trail is a must ride! SO. FREAKIN'. FUN. As I rolled in to the screaming fast finish I was pumped to get another 3rd for the stage and further secure my 3rd place position in the GC.
After each day of racing Mary and I followed the same routine. She would cook up some delicious food and I would completely run through my Pivot Mach 429SL and then hop in my Elevated Legs for recovery. It's funny how perfect this bike was for the entire race. I threw on the Fox 34 120mm fork after day 1 (replacing my Fox Stepcast 100mm) and I think it was the perfect choice to UP the fun factor. Some people think I am weird (or super OCD) but I really do enjoy the process of double and triple checking my bike before and after races/stages and it sure felt good to get that done early each day so I could focus on relaxing and eating!