This stage would be one of more enjoyable of the week with just over 45km of riding and 1200 metres of elevation gain. Early on, TR4 Open Men’s leader Neal Kindree would suffer a flat tire and be forced to work his way through roughly 80 riders in an effort to catch the leaders. By the time he made the turn for home he had passed all but two: Greg Day and Colin Kerr of Rocky Mountain Factory team. Day and Kerr would take the stage win for the TR7 Open Men and seal a second place overall finish behind Planetfoods/Honeystinger riders Jon Firth and Stef Widmer. Kindree took his fourth straight stage win and the overall Open Men’s TR4 crown to go with his TR3 win earlier in the week.
Fortunately for the rest of the field the weather began to quickly improve as the morning progressed. By noon the sun was out and temperatures were rising into the teens from an overnight low of 5 degrees Celsius. Jeff Neilson, TR4 40+ Men’s overall leader, finished his 7th TransRockies atop the podium in his class. The Open Women`s leader, Kristin Walters, continued her winning ways with her fourth stage win capturing the overall title.
There`s nothing quite like the feeling of finishing on Main Street Canmore after 7 days of the TransRockies Challenge. The smiles were ear to ear as the field continued to work its way across the line after a stop on the trails of the Canmore Nordic Centre. TR7 Open Women`s team of Jean Ann Berkenpas and Sandra Walter hit Main Street with their 7th straight stage victory thus securing their overall title. Just as dominant, Marco and Eva Carrer of Switzerland, matched the Open Women`s ladies stage win count to take home the 80+ Mixed overall.
The 80+ Open Men`s team composed of Craig Bartlett and Pat Doyle were able to take 5 of 7 stage wins and finished in Canmore the overall winners. On only one occasion in the 2012 edition of the TransRockies Challenge did Normon Thibault and Wendy Simms not reach the top of the podium. Today they claimed their 6th win of the week and the Open Mixed crown. 100+ Open leaders Darell Jones and Tom Ebbern picked up where they left off on Stage 6. By taking their 5th win they secured their first place overall position.
As always, The 2012 TransRockies Challenge lived up to its name. Early on, the Fernie route tested riders with heat, long climbs and technical descents. Leaving the relative comfort of hotel living for Kananaskis camp life brought a change in the weather and the opportunity for riders to test themselves under less than ideal conditions. A little bit of everything from North America’s original, epic, singletrack adventure.