The Fernie to Fernie time trial tackles 32km and 1400m climbing over classic Fernie trails including Hyperventilation, Sidewinder, and Coal Discovery Trail. At 68%, stage 1 boasts the highest percentage of single track riding during the TransRockies. Two time Canadian National Champion Neal Kindree was first to line up and set off at 9:00am to test the trail. As the competitors made their way through the starting chute, and the leaders began to finish, it quickly became evident that this would be a day of dominant performances.
Kindree set the tone for the TR3 Open Men contingent, crushing the course with a blistering 1:47:50, a robust 5:42 ahead of Chris Sheppard and a full minute ahead of last year’s winner Max Plaxton. The Open Womens story was much the same with Mical Dyck over taking her next closest competitor, Krista Turcasso, by 10 minutes plus. With temperatures starting to climb, these early riders were happy to be out on the trail ahead of the pack.
On the Open Men’s TR7 side the Planet Foods/ Honeystinger contingent of Jon Firth and Stefan Widmer continued the theme of domination with a substantial gap of 6:22 over Greg Day and Colin Kerr of team Rocky Mountain. Firth and Widmer clocked in at a stellar 2:02:35. Firth has been on a tear at TransRockies Events this year with a victory at The North Face Rundle’s Revenge and king of the mountains crowning at Gran Fondo Highwood Pass.
TR7 Open Women’s team Jean Ann Berkenpas and Sandra Walter, of Xprezo-Borsao Factory Team, crushed the competition by a margin of 28:01 crossing the line in 2:22:15. Wendy Simms and husband Normon Thibault, 2010 podium finishers, took the stage victory in Mixed Open. As Normon and Wendy were hitting the trails the Saturday issue of the Globe and Mail was hitting the streets with a stellar profile of the couple.
The tightest battle of the day came in the Men’s 80+ with Geoff Clark & Devin Erfle ending their day a mere 21 seconds ahead of past TR7 champion Pat Doyle and partner Craig Bartlett. Marco and Eva Carrer, straight from Switzerland and back for their 2nd crack at the TR7, rolled in for a stage victory in the 80+ Mixed. TR7 veterans, and past champions, Stan Magee and John Gould wrapped up 1st in the 100+ Open with a strong 2:21:06.
Overall reception of the route seemed positive as riders got what they expected: challenging, twisty, Fernie single track with some beautiful climbs and fun descents. Quote of the day goes to Jon from North Carolina: ‘I fell all over that damn mountain. It was excellent!’ That about sums it up! Next up: Fernie to Fernie Alpine Resort.
For complete results from both events, across all categories, click HERE.