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Roch and Mike at the start of Day 4


What better place for bike storage than a CURLING RINK in the summer!!


Day 5 - the beautiful single track up on the 800ft cliff


Jason, on another spectacular trail on Day 5


Heather showing some of her battle scars


Tent City - at Nipika resort - finish of day 5


Roch cooling off in the river - or should I say washing!!


BIke wash/park at Whiteswan Lake - end of Day 4


Jason, the calm before the storm on Day 5

   

TransRockies - Day 7 and Wrap-up

The TransRockies is now a page in our memory, and in the record books. As the final day of the race arrived, you could certainly feel that the end was near. It was interesting to see how the mood of the riders changed over the 7 days. Day 1, everyone was very excited and amped up to get the race started. As the week went along and people became more exhausted, the starting line became a much quieter more somber place. But with the final day arriving, the mood once again switched back, as everyone could see that the finish line was in sight. For every stage, the final minute before the start, the athletes were serenaded with AC/DC’s Highway to Hell (for the head banger in all of us), and the final day was no different!!

Day 7 was the shortest stage of the entire race – 55km from Invermere, BC to Panorama, BC. Basically we would climb up over the mountain rage from the Lake resort of Invermere and over to the Mountain resort of Panorama. Luckily for us, not only was this the shortest stage of the race, it was the least technical as well. The stage started with a “parade style” start through the local streets before heading up the 2+hour climb to the summit of Paradise ridge. The first part of the climb was on gravel road before it took a sharp left hand turn and headed up a beautiful double/single track to the 8000+ft summit. Some of the sections were very steep, but for the most part it was ridable. Once again, Jason and I thoroughly enjoyed the climb up – stopping to take a few pictures along the way. Just so you know, none of the pictures you see were taken by Roch and Mike, they were all by Jason and myself. Based upon this fact, I am sure we could have been near the lead every day, had we not stopped to take all the pics – yeah right!!! Jason and I reached the summit about 2.5-3 hours from the start (after the leaders had finished the entire stage). We always know when the leaders are done, because the helicopter starts to come back to us back of the packers!!! Mike and Roch climbed strong and were maintaining their position in the 80+ men’s category. Now all that was left was the descent down into Panorama. This sounds all great, but it was pretty chilly and we all nearly froze to death on the way down. My hands were so sore from the death grip on the breaks as well as the cold. There was no way that I could even shift my gears – luckily I didn’t really need to. I was very happy to see the finish line – 4:07 from the time Jason and I started (wow we actually we under 5 hours!!!). Roch and Mike finished in 3:36 You could tell that the week had taken its toll on everyone, there weren’t too many people hanging around the finish line. We couldn’t wait to get to the Motorhome to try and get warm!!!

With the race behind us, it was time to reflect on what an incredible experience we all had. While it was one of the most difficult things I had ever done, at the same time it was one of the most amazing, rewarding experiences. We all need to step out of our comfort zone every so often – and man was I way, way out of my comfort zone!!!

With the final results all tallied, we headed to the awards ceremony. Roch and Mike ended up solidly in the top 15 in the 80+ men’s category with a 14th place finish. Jason and I were first in the “unclassified category” – or had we actually been official finishers, we most likely would have moved into the top 20 of the Open Mixed category. At the awards ceremony, they honored all of the top finishers in each category. It really is an eye opener to see how incredible the top people in the sport of mountain biking are – it is a whole different world. Not only did they honor the top athletes, but they brought every single finisher up on the stage and presented them with their finisher t-shirt and certificate. Now of course this could never happen in an IM race – those awards ceremonies are long enough as it is, but it was something that was unique to this event and made everyone feel special.

Many people asked me if I would do the TransRockies event again. It is like doing an IM race – while you are doing it and when you cross the finish line, you think you will never do one again. As the time passes and the details become a little foggy, you start to think that it wasn’t so bad. You know – if I had just done XXX then I could go this much faster etc. So, never say never, but for now, I will enjoy the experience and get back to reality and the world of Triathlon!!!