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Stage 3: Elkford, BC – Etherington Camp, AB
40 miles, 6,400 feet of climbing/5,000 feet of descending
The final stage of the 2010 TR3, a three-day version of the seven-day TransRockies Challenge, took riders from the civilized surroundings of Elkford, BC deep into the wilds of the Canadian Rockies.
The final day of the TR3 was the last chance for the closely bunched top riders in the Open Men’s Division to move up in their divisions and grab more of the UCI points and Cash on offer.
Having split the first two stages, Max Plaxton (Shoair/Specialized) and Cory Wallace (Kona) were battling with Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team) for the overall title. The day’s stage had three distinct stages, a long rolling approach climb followed by a sheer 1000-plus metre grind up to the day’s high point at the crossing of the Great Divide and finally a raw, steep and technical nine-mile descent to the finish line.
Off the start, pace groups quickly formed until the steepest sections began. Plaxton, Craig and Wallace rode together until the 21-mile mark when Wallace and Plaxton upped the tempo dropping Craig just a couple of miles before the second feed station. They rode and pushed together up the climb but disaster struck Wallace on the roughest early part of the technical descent when he cut the sidewall on his lightweight tubeless tire and had to stop for an emergency trailside repair.
“I was worried the whole time on the descent and thought about stopping to put tubes in my tires,” said Wallace.
Wallace was able to hold off a rapidly closing Matt Hadley (Canadian National Team) to grab second place in a time of 3:35:10. He also moved up to second place in the overall standings when Adam Craig also struggled and ended up finishing fourth, 12 minutes behind Wallace but grabbed third in the overall standings. The top five was filled out by Matt Hadley in fourth and Carl Decker (Giant Factory Racing) in fifth.
Free to descend more conservatively, Plaxton got to the bottom unscathed and rode across the finish line solo in 3:30:04 to confirm his second stage win and the overall title.
“I felt great through the whole race and am looking forward to getting home for a quick break and another training block before the World Cup finals and World Championships,” said Plaxton. “I really want to thank the organizers of the TransRockies for sanctioning the event with the UCI. It’s really important for guys who race World Cups like me and Adam (Craig) to be able to get some UCI points and get better start line positions at those races.”
TR3 Women’s Winner: Kelli Emmett
After two dominant performances in stages 1 and 2, it was no surprise that Kelli Emmett (Giant Factory Racing) again tore through Stage 3 to a clear 20-minute win and a clear victory in the overall standings.
Rosemarie Gerspacher had held down second place since stage 1 and she finished second again on Stage 3 to confirm her overall placing. Carrie Edwards grabbed fourth on Stage 3 to confirm third place in the overall standings holding off a hard-charging Heidi Volpe who managed to move up from eighth on Stage 1 to finish in fourth overall just two minutes ahead of local hero Christine Misseghers of Crowsnest Pass, AB who grabbed fifth place overall.
After two straight stage wins in the Open Mixed Division of the seven-day TransRockies Challenge, Gretchen Reeves and Cannon Shockley (Tokyo Joes) suffered through a tough Stage 3 giving up 15 minutes to stage winners and new overall leaders Mical Dyck and Jeff Neilson (Terrscape/Trek Canada) who will don the leaders jerseys they wore throughout their 2009 TransRockies win. Normon Thibault and Wendy Simms moved one step up the podium to second but remain in third place overall.
In the Open Men’s Division, the Kona duo of Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks extended their lead with a dominant ride to grab their third straight stage win. Making their first appearance on the podium were Team Timex/Sugoi Will Kelsay and Matt Boobar, a pair of elite multisport athletes who put their running legs to good use on the big climb to place second on the stage. This finish was even more impressive considering Will’s broken derailleur hanger that forced him to turn it into an emergency single speed for the last part of the stage. Kelsay, who also complete last year’s GORE-TEX® TransRockies Run is seeking to become the first athlete to complete the TransRockies Bike and TransRockies Run double in the same year. We’ll check in with his progress later in the race.
Stage 4 Preview
Etherington Camp – Anchor D Ranch
37 miles, 5,900 feet of climbing/6,700 feet of descending
With the finish of the 2010 TR3, it will be a much smaller field of riders that leaves Etherington Creek Campground to start three straight days of trail riding through Alberta’s legendary Kananaskis Country, a series of pristine parks which runs for over 62 miles along the foothils and front ranges of the Canadian Rockies.
Stage 4 is a TransRockies classic crossing over the summits of Grass and Sullivan Passes through epic grasslands topping out just below the treeline at over 6,000 feet and including roughly 25 miles of singletrack—the first of three back-to-back epic servings of singletrack.