Last week, the TransRockies Race Series announced its plans to bring back the seven-day TransRockies Classic stage mountain bike race, starting in Panorama Mountain Resort and ending in Fernie, BC. Originally called the TransRockies Challenge, it was first staged in 2002 and ran continuously through 2013 with Fernie holding either the start or finish each year. The TransRockies Classic, which will be hosted in alternating years to the Singletrack 6, features epic point-to-point crossing of the Rockies on trails, remote tracks, and forest roads, with daily distances up to 100km. Tent cities will be located at the end of every stage, where amenities such as catered meals, hot showers, bike mechanics and massage therapists awaiting riders as they recover and prepare for the following day.
300 riders will have the opportunity to dive back into this original format that drew people from around the world. Panorama, Invermere, Nipika, Whiteswan Lake, Elkford, the Crowsnest Pass and Fernie all promise beautiful and challenging terrain, and vistas and memories to keep for a lifetime.
I had the opportunity to compete in the TransRockies from 2010 to 2012, and am excited for this point-to-point style event to be back and utilize our sweet mountain town. Although I could probably guess why the organization decided on this resurgence, I was curious to hear what they had to say so got in touch with Aaron McConnell, President of the TransRockies.
1. What inspired you to return to the original TransRockies format?
Ever since we stopped doing the point-to-point format we’ve been hearing from people who said they missed it. The experience of a remote point to point cross is uniquely challenging, and having everyone staying together in the camps is really fun.
2. What can riders expect from this point-to-point event?
It will be long days - up to 100 km on some days, with big climbs and a variety of riding types. These remote routes are a mix of old roads, double track, singletrack, and sometimes faint tracks. It’s rough and rugged, not buff singletrack. The region is spectacularly beautiful.
3. Why do you think point-to-point is of growing interest?
People are looking for a unique experience, and something challenging that they wouldn’t necessarily be able to go ride on their own. Most of the TransRockies Classic route wouldn’t be really practical or safe for most people to do without a serious support team, which is something that TransRockies offers. The variety and novelty of moving from one mountain range to the next and seeing a vast amount of country pass by is pretty cool.
4. How do you feel a team event adds to the overall experience?
Working with a teammate creates a much richer experience. You have someone to support you when things aren’t going well, someone to push you, and someone who needs your help too... everyone has good days and bad days. Sharing this experience with a teammate can cement friendships that last a lifetime.
5. What unique details an people expect form this event?
Something that we’ve been doing with our TransRockies Run event in Colorado is creating a social area at each camp where people can hang out around the campfire and get a snack after the stage and in the evening. We call this Chillville and we plan to bring it to TransRockies Classic as well. We will also continue to have ambassador riders within the pack to help support with mechanical issues or respond to medical situations.
Thanks, Aaron! We are so looking forward to welcoming these 300 riders as the cross the finish line in Fernie. Maybe, just maybe I'll toe the line again in 2019...