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TransRockies – One day to go!!! Here is a summary of Stages 4,5 and 6.

After the difficult day on day 3, Jason and I decided that a day off was warranted. So, as Mike and Roch pedaled the 4th stage of the race (from Elkwood to Whiteswan Lake – 95km), Jason and I rode in the motorhome to the finish line. Now don’t get me wrong – riding in the motorhome is no easy feat. We had to survive the bumpy 4.5 hour ride. Man it even woke me up when I was trying to sleep in the back. We only just arrived at Whiteswan Lake as Mike and Roch finished the stage. It sounds like we picked a good day to miss, with one of the steepest hike a bike sections in the race. Roch and Mike finished the day in 5:42 – a good strong day.

Then came day 5, and Jason and I jumped back into the race. We were allowed to continue after our day break, however we would now be in the “unclassified” category. This stage was from Whiteswan Lake to Nipika (105km). We thought it might be a good day for all of us as there was a fair bit of climbing on terrain that was not overly technical. We all did well on the climbing and then of course, just as we were getting our confidence, they throw in some more gnarly single track. This time, however it was on the edge of an 800 ft cliff – sweet!!! It really was a beautiful sight, but to add insult to injury, as Jason and I entered this section, the thunder, lightning and torrential rain started. I can honestly say initially I was freaked out. It was really slippery and we were literally inches away from the edge of the cliff. Once the trail moved away from the cliff, it became quite hilarious. We were riding through a single track with lots of roots, and holes filled with water – some 6 inches deep, and some 3 feet deep and the only way to find out was to ride into it. We arrived at the finish line in 6:50, while Mike and Roch were a blazing 5:43. The Nipika resort is a beautiful wilderness destination. It is one of the only private Nordic centers in all of Canada. In the winter there is over 50km of groomed x-country ski trails.

On day 6 we would be going from the Nipika resort to Invermere – 65km. The first 20km of the leg was on many of the numerous ski trails around the Nipika resort. Well, it rained all night, so the trails were nothing short of treacherous. Luckily we had our tires changed out the night before to our “mud tires”. This really helped to get a tiny bit of grip in the slimy mud. Not only was it muddy, but when you are riding through the forest, those damn roots get really slippery when wet. We all had a couple of slide outs on the roots. Then we got to ride on some road for awhile before hitting what could only be described as someone’s sick, sick idea of a joke. A 7km hike a bike section that took 2 hours. Who thought it could be so tiring walking a blazing 30minute mile. There were sections that were crazy steep and when you have a 25lb mountain bike on your back – it is ridiculous. The funniest thing was that there was a dog from the Nipika resort that ran the whole way. As we were hike a biking up the hill, along he came and stayed ahead of us for most of the way. We finally passed him on the downhill section after the hike a bike. Jason put in a surge so that he couldn’t get on our wheel!!! We enjoyed the last bit of the stage which included about 25 km of down hill – on a combination of double track, gravel road and paved road. This was our reward for the insane 2hr hike a bike. Roch and Mike finished in 5:03 and had a good day – moving them into 13 place overall in the 80+ mixed category. Jason and I were in 6:07, and since we missed a day, we are now in the “unclassified division”. It pays to skip a day – we are now the leaders in the “unclassified” category – of which there are 25 teams!!!

Only one day to go (Stage 7 from Invermere to Panorama – 51km), so we will give you the final wrap-up after the race is over tomorrow – with lots of pictures!!!.