Day 7 of TransRockies X was a relatively short (48km) ride from Rafter Six Ranch to Canmore…and “only” 1000m of climbing….but all done at “Last Day Fever” pace! After 6 days of very hard riding, I was feeling pretty sore and tired, so knew it would be quite tough going.
The weather fairies were smiling on us again and it was a beautiful morning – clear blue skies, and already much warmer than the previous day. After a less than ideal breakfast (the Rafter Six people seemed to think that all an athelete needs is protein…), we set about the routine of getting ourselves and our bikes ready one last time – chamois cream (very much needed now….don’t believe anyone who says you don’t need it!), cycling kit on, suncream, gels and bars counted, camelback filled, energy drink bottle filled, kit packed up and bags dropped off for transport, and then check in at the start line….for the last time.
As predicted, the pace off the start was frantic…a bit of twisty turny stuff around the camp and we hit the TransCanada Highway – and there was a lane closed off, just for us…how cool is that? That’s like someone closing off a lane of the M4 so a bunch of mountainbikers can get to their next bit of singletrack! Anyway, the 4 or 5 km of road was horrible…it was soooo windy!! We got ourselves a little train going (train? More like a clapped out tram, but it helped) taking turns on the front, though I could only hold the front for about a minute at a time – it was such a relief to get off the road and onto some trail.
As usual, it all blurs a bit, but there was some lovely singletrack through the woods, and some horrible singletrack through the woods! Luckily, most of it was rideable, bar a few flights of stairs and rooty rocky sections. After a few kms of nicely made trail through a new housing development, we hit the final checkpoint…”just” 10km to go! Just to make sure we were well and truly knackered, the course headed steeply up here for a few km and a few hundred metres climb. We had to work extra hard on the climb to get past a biker with a bear bell on his bike…do you have any idea how f***ing annoying those things are?!? Those km from 38 to 40 seemed to take forever…why wouldn’t the trail start dropping? After a few false starts we hit some really good track dropping steeply down through the woods..in fact, Mark and I enjoyed it so much we decided to do one section twice (trying to get us to follow arrows was always doomed)…and when we recovered from that, we found ourselves behind BearBell Man again!! Luckily, we managed to pass him again, and dropped quickly down to Canmore.
After a few more corners, we hit the main street – crowds cheering, cameras flashing, a man riding a skateboard while holding a video camera – and there was the finish line right in front of us…we’d done it! Our second TransRockies, finished…how good did that feel?!?
We ended up 19th overall in the 80+ Mens category (strangely, exactly the same position as two years ago); 35-ish hours of riding (52-ish last time); no punctures, no bike failures, no injuries. Oh and no bears!!
I’ll post again sometime during the week with my final thoughts on this year’s TransRockies, but right now I need to head to California to rest and recover, and not ride my bike.