Mount Macpherson awaits 300 Singletrack Six racers

More than 300 mountain bikers take off at the start of the first stage of the Singletrack Six stage in Bragg Creek, Alta., on Saturday. - Gibson Pictures
More than 300 mountain bikers take off at the start of the first stage of the Singletrack Six stage in Bragg Creek, Alta., on Saturday.
— image credit: Gibson Pictures

By the time the Singletrack Six bike race arrives in Revelstoke on Thursday, the 300-plus riders will have been through a lot. They'll have ridden more than 200 kilometres featuring seven kilometres of elevation gain.

Then they'll hit Revelstoke and ride a course that makes use of pretty much the entire Mount Macpherson trail network.

"I think it's going to be the hardest stage," said Chris Bovard.

"Stage six is going to hurt a lot," said Meghan Tabor. "I think Revelstoke will take a few prisoners, especially given the quality of the courses so far."

Bovard and Tabor are two of 10 Revelstokians taking part in the Singletrack Six. The race is the new incarnation of the TransRockies mountain bike race. Instead of biking from point A to point B, the race now features six stages in five different communities.

Stage one on Saturday was in Bragg Creek, Alta. It featured 47 kilometres of riding, with 1,800 metres of elevation gain. "That was the biggest climb day of them all. Not overly technical, just a lot of elevation gain," said Tabor.

Stage two was at Nipika resort near Invermere. Another Revelstoke racer, Amanda Macintosh, described it as "Root Canal times 100." For anyone that's ridden that trail at Mount Macpherson, the description is painful.

Stage three was in Invermere, stages four and five in Golden, with the race wrapping up in Revelstoke on Thursday.

The racers leave from Grizzly Plaza with a mass start at 10:30 a.m. They'll head across the Big Eddy Bridge and then south on Highway 23, turning into the Mount Macpherson trail network at the Flowdown entrance.

From there, they'll zig zag up, down and around the network, from the low point near Begbie Falls to the high spot at the top of TNT. There's a timed descent down Flowdown before charging back to town for the finish at the community centre. The fastest racers will tackle the course in less than 3 hours.

"I think we'll have the advantage because we'll know when to push it and when to hold back a little," said Tabor.

Bovard's big fear is the climb up the Buff Trail from Begbie Falls to the highway. "It's going to slaughter people," he said.

The other locals taking part are Bart Jarmula, Courtney Rennie, Cindy Maloney, Atsuko Knight, Shelley Paul and the team of Amy Guidinger and Mick Stevenson

After two stages, Kris Sneddon was leading the open men category, with a combined time of 4:29:59, almost four minutes ahead of second place Cory Wallace. Matt Hadley, who won this summer's Stoked to Get Spanked race, was in third.

In the women's race, Kate Aardal enjoyed a comfortable 14 minute lead after the first two stages.

Amongst Revelstoke hopefuls, Jarmula was 27th in the men's race, with Bovard less than two minutes back of him in 31st spot.

For the local women, Tabor was 13th overall, Maloney sat in 15th spot. Macintosh 20th, Knight 21st, and Paul 31st.

The race is run by the TransRockies organization and by all accounts, is very well organized. Macintosh said this about the feed zones:

"You pull into the feed zone and a volunteer runs up, takes your bike and parks it. Another volunteer takes your water bottle and fills it up for you. You go to this smorgasbord of fruit and drinks and ride food and you just take whatever you want. You socialize with the people who are biking around you and you're ready to go."

Singletrack Six leaves from Grizzly Plaza on Thursday, July 31, at 10:30 a.m. The finish line is at the community centre.

"I'm looking forward to coming back to Revelstoke and racing in our home community on the last day," said Tabor, who also helped organize the Revelstoke stage in her role as Revelstoke's tourism coordinator. "There will be riders all up and down Grizzly Plaza. I'm really excited to see it come full circle and end in Revelstoke."


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