The Trans BC Enduro is a 6 day long mountain bike race that spans across British Columbia’s most epic and challenging terrains. For the year of 2017 the race had 4 stops, Fernie, Panorama, Golden, and Revelstoke. Each of the 6 days has 4-6 timed enduro (downhill) stages which descend between 5000 and 10,000+ feet, and and have 3000-6000+ feet of climbing.
Everything in the race is ridden blind, meaning no racers have seen any of the tracks or trails before. Therefor you are literally riding by the seat of your pants, thinking on the fly, holding your broken, bashed, and bruised body together to make it down the most challenging downhill tracks British Columbia has to offer.
Day 1: Fernie Alpine Resort
25 miles, 5650 ft climbing, 6400 ft descending
en-dure : verb
- Suffer patiently
Starting with a “soul crushing” 6000+ feet of climbing, day 1 really put the rest of the week in perspective. Fresh out of the gate in stage 1, with no experience racing blind… I got a little ahead of myself and gave a rock an impressive high five in one of my 3 over the bars (OTB) crashes.
At the bottom of Stage 1, I quickly realized this was going to be a very different kind of race. My goals then changed from putting down clean runs and good race times to, pure survival riding and keeping enough strength in my freshly bummed hand to hold on.
Day 2: Panorama Resort
20 miles, 4800 ft climbing, 11,000 ft descending
- remarkably or impressively great in extent, size, or degree
With no recovery from day 1 it was time to take it to the next level… literally
The heli-drop got canceled on Day 2 for forest fires, but don’t worry… We still made it to the drop off point at 8700 feet elevation.
After pedaling, hiking, carrying our bikes to the top of Panorama, it was time to hold on for some gnarly alpine descents.
This day was a real test of my tired body, hurt hand, and most of all my brake pads. Knowing that the “steeps” were to come in day 3, I replaced both brake pads and bled both lines after 2 days…
Day 3: Golden
17 miles, 4800 ft climbing, 6725 ft descending
- exposed to imminent risk
Just when I thought hike a bike couldn’t get more strenuous than Panorama…
It was truly exhilarating climbing to the top, wondering if one step or slip could persuade gravity against me. Over sharp rocky spines, mountain crevasses, and steep forest chutes, we summited the great Mount 7.
Mount 7 in Golden has a reputation for its psychotically steep chutes and terrain, but it never really comes into perspective until you are looking down a high angle dusty chute the length of the football field.
Descending the BC steeps blind is definitely the most terrified I have ever been on a bike….but at least we got a stage card like this at the top of each stage that prepared us to shit our pants…
Day 4: Kicking Horse Resort
18.5 miles, 3300 ft climbing, 6700 ft descending
- an almost pleasurable sensation of fear, thrill
This day was my favorite riding as far as the terrain and trails. I felt like I could actually ride and stay on the bike for once, and wasn’t completely terrified not knowing what was ahead.
Everyday is a hike a bike day
This day started in the high alpine but ended down in trail networks around the inland lakes and river. Golden is by far one of the more beautiful places I have ever seen.
This day we got a stage card that said “Be sure not to blow the corner or you will see what a 1000 foot sender feels like”
Day 5: Revelstoke
25 miles, 5800 ft climbing, 8200 ft descending
- Courage in pain
Body stiff… muscles tight… headache from dehydration… bruised body aches… This is how every morning felt waking up. On day 5 these symptoms were trying to get the best of me, but I stretched it out and told myself I just had to survive 2 more days. This day was defined as “the soul crusher”. It was going to be a long hot day with lots of elevation gain and technical terrain.
After stage 1, I was on the rebound. I managed to stay on my bike, laid down a clean run, my bruised hand was still hanging on, and I could feel the blood running through my legs. On stage 2, lit from the high of stage 1 things quickly changed. Flying through fast and flowy single track I turned a blind corner into a short steep chute at an uncomfortable speed. My bruised, battered, and tired body just couldn’t hold on and I slammed my head off a tree. I was pulled from day 5 for concussion symptoms.
Day 6: Revelstoke Resort
21 miles, 3600 ft climbing, 4700 ft descending
- prove more powerful then opposing forces, be victorious
The doc gave me an “all clear” to ride, so was able to get back in the race. I did not travel all this way, put in the training, beat-up and strain my body for 5 days, to NOT to finish this race. I knew I had to finish, and that would be all I could bear.
Finally it was over …
6 days, 127 miles, 27,950 ft of climbing, 43,725 ft descending
Overall this experience was a lifetime challenge both physically and mentally. I would not have gotten through it without Liz Miller, and we built a great friendship bonding over our continuous struggles. I learned a lot about myself, saw incredible views from BC mountain tops, and most of all … met and made so many new friends.
After one hell of a week we resided to the beautiful lakes of Revelstoke and soaked our bodies in the ice cold water. The feeling in this moment is something I am guessing I will never feel again and is very special to my heart.
Even though the heli-drop was canceled on day 2, they offered a heli-drop in Revelstoke the day after the race. As a finishing gift I treated myself to a little heli-drop.
I want to thank my sponsors and everyone who makes my racing dream possible!! I COULD NOT do it without your help!!
Special thanks to Riley Seebeck (FlowPhoto Co.) and Dane Cronin Photography for letting me use a couple of their rad photos to express this experience. Probably would not have even made it through the Trans BC if I didn’t have the goofy media guys making me laugh at the end of the day. Check out their links for more rad photos of events like this, and life itself 🙂