Stage 2 Report
Fernie-Sparwood – 71km, 1900m climbing
The morning after they’d stretched their legs with a 31km prologue around Fernie’s singletrack, the 450 riders of the 2010 TransRockies and TR3 lined up on the historic main drag for Stage 2.
Led by the vintage fire engine for the traditional lap around downtown, the riders were heartened by scattered summer clouds the forecast of a perfect midsummer day for their 71km ride up the Elk Valley to Sparwood. Less technical than the day before, the course would test riders with 1900 metres of climbing and some relentless fire road riding along with the precipitous 1000 vertical metre singletrack Porky Blue descent off Fernie Ridge testing nerves and brakes.
Stage 2 was the first mass start or 2010 and the adrenaline was flowing freely with the pre-race jitters finally running free. With one minute until start, the announcer turned up the traditional start song “Highway to Hell” up to 11 and the riders streamed out of town and up the first major climb of the day. With a very different course than the day before, there was a strong chance that different riders would show their faces at the front of the race and that the race would be more tactical than the previous day’s all out effort.
2009 TR3 winner Cory Wallace started Stage 2 determined to be in the mix for the stage win and he made the break which formed early in the ride Max Plaxton and Adam Craig, the two fastest finishers on Day 1 and regulars on the World Cup race circuit. Perhaps because they hadn’t raced against him in the past, Adam and Max didn’t respond when Cory upped the pace on the last climb of the day, opening a small gap in the process. He kept the needle at redline on the short road drag into Sparwood and grabbed the stage with a scorching 3:07:32, 23 seconds ahead of his former breakway partners. Plaxton retains the jersey with a 1-minute lead over Craig with Wallace holding third over 5 minutes behind.
The Open Women’s TR3 race has quickly become a one-woman show as Kelli Emmett of Team Giant has showed her World Cup speed and skill on both stages 1 and 2, finishing among the top men both days. With nearly an hour’s lead in the overall she’s a safe bet for the win tomorrow.
After the muddy ride the day before, all the riders commented on how fast the course was on day 2. The picked up a strong tailwind along the valley for the last half of the day helping to push them to the finish in faster than expected times.
Cory Wallace’s Kona Teammates Barry Wicks and Kris Sneddon took their second straight stage win on stage 2 coming in roughly 7 minutes behind the solo category winners, a small gap considering that they’re pacing themselves for 7 days of racing not 3. 2009 Champions Marty Lazarski and Stefan Widmer (Rocky Mountain Factory) finished second and held their second place standing overall. Jumping into the top three were the Belgian duo of Wouter DeClercq and Wesley Luca (Granville-Trustteam) who jumped into third overall as well.
The 80+ Men’s Division saw a change of leaders’ jerseys on stage 2 as last year’s champions the Czechmasters (Milan Spolc/ Martin Horak) turned around a 4-minute deficit to Stage 1 winners Team Mule Bar (Pete Turnbull/George Rose) of the UK with an 8-minute gap on stage 2. The Open Women’s Category looks as though it will be a two-team race with the Calgary Duo of Trish Graczyk and Alana Heise (Deadgoat Racing) holding the upper hand over 2009 Champions Magi and Kate Scallion of Canmore.
See all the results at www.transrockies.com/trc