Fantasy Island

While Lynda has done a great job of capturing the flow of the event, I’ll be posting on some different aspects of TR.  If you haven’t seen her posts yet check’m out!

Transrockies was made for folks like Lynda and I, and since you are reading this, probably you too. 

It boggles my mind all the logistical details they work on a daily basis.  Each day after the riders leave, there must have been some serious hustling going on.  As we raced each day, they had to take care of breaking down and setting up 200+ tents, transporting, cleaning, and dumping 50 RVs, breaking down and setting up an extravagant start/finish area & relating timing equipment, transport a portable shower truck & bike wash setup, and in remote camps, a monstrous circus tent in which we all shared meals, awards presentations, slideshows, and video highlights of the days exploits.

6pm is when grub was served – but let’s call it dinner, grub is too coarse a word for the typical TR fare.  The TR organizers had tremendous support by each local community through which we passed.  There’s a hocky rink in every Canadian town, eh?  This is where we usually had our dinner/breakfast and the big TR camp in a surrounding soccor field or similar.  Local volunteers helped cook our dinners, and were up at 5am getting our breakfast ready.  At each finish we were greeting by a local who presented us with some sort of welcome package – a really sweet hat at Nipika; a bag with a silver dollar, cookie, and local info at Blairmore.  TR is the biggest thing to hit remote BC each summer, and the communities back the event 110 %.

Another example that knocks my socks off:  can you imagine what would happen in the states if a bike race somehow adversely affected commercial production of any kind?  Well, in BC TR organizers worked closely with a logging outfit so that they would not work the day we were to travel *their* PRIVATE roads.  Damn, I felt like a king.  Clear the way, coming through on my bike!  So impressive.  It simply added to the overwhelming positive vibe surrounding this event.

The after dinner entertainment was something we always looked forward to.  For one, it started with the awards presentations and I’m happy to say we maximized our podium time at the event, ahem!  The top 3 teams in each category were first recognized, after which the GC lead team from each category was brought to the stage and given new jerseys for the following day.  After awards were a couple of slideshows followed by video of the day’s ride.  This was awesome and garnered a lot of cheers from the crowd, especially when gore or immenent gore were captured on film.  These images were absolutely awesome – the photogs at the event are top notch all the way.  It was great to see the country through which we had just passed too as it’s hard to catch it all through 30 hours of rivet riding.

As for course design – I was taken aback at times by the difficulty of the terrain.  Some of the descents were steeper than I think I’ve ridden in any race before.  Day 1 there was a goat trail that looked *marginally* rideable at the top, but then really steepened about 100 yards later to a sphincter tightening pitch that was freaking hard to get down on foot.  There was a “caution” sign at the top, and we decided right then and there “caution” in BC means GET OFF YOUR BIKE AND WALK FOOL!  Not everyone made the same connection though, and for those riders’ benefit was a helicopter that shadowed the race from start to finish, along with an extremely experienced, well staffed, well equiped (radios, motos, helicopters, coctails to keep those with broken bones smiling…) emergency response team.  This MASH unit got a bit of work in the race, especially in the remote stages 4&5.  As a new course this year, many of the long descents were not well traveled but contained some super nasty water bars & ditches.  Broken bones were many.

As the race rolled on and our GC position improved daily, we got a bit more conservative each day, realizing one bad incident could spoil the experience.  In general, that’s probably a good way to approach this event…although if you’re at the pointy end of the field it ain’t gonna be easy.

Having so many details taken care of really allows riders to focus on their race and we never failed to appreciate this during the race.

The combination of off the charts course difficulty coupled with EMS onhand sends a clear message:  the TransRockies organization has set a goal to provide a venue in which endurance junkies can test themselves to the hilt – and from more than simply a fitness perspective.  As adults, we decide how much of that challenge to bite off…and Lynda & I turned out to have voracious appetites ;)