There are many ways to spend a week in August, but for 2005 John Blok and myself will be riding 600 km between Fernie and Canmore in the TransRockies Challenge.
The race is a tough one, averaging over 88 km per day with more than 35,000 feet of climbing over seven days on a mix of fire roads, doubletrack and singletrack trails in the challenging terrain of the Canadian Rockies.
John and I have both been training since January to build the base that will hopefully allow us to finish feeling strong in Canmore after seven hard days in the saddle.
I've been looking forward to spending a week of hard riding with a partner who, like myself, enjoys nothing more than a solid challenge.
Both of us have competed in Ironman Canada a couple of times and are no strangers to pain and suffering. John, however is probably in the best shape of the two of us and hopefully I will be able to hold onto his wheel as he climbs like a 130 pound mountain goat up the major ascents that we face each day.
One of the nice things about the event is that each day they haul all of your camp gear to a new site each night with portable showers and an all-you-can-eat buffet where I know I will be getting my money's worth.
One thing Im not looking forward to each day is checking my thirst, which is trained to swill back a six pack of cold gold after epic rides, as well as not having a trusty rum and Coke to replace my depleted demerara sugar reserves along the way.
The event starts in Fernie on Sunday, August 7 at 11 a.m. with 175 teams of two racing the first 50 km stage to Sparwood, home of the Worlds Biggest Dump Truck and some of the longest coal trains on the planet. From there its another 550 km to Canmore over the next 6 days, where we will face the physical, mechanical and mental challenges that make an event like this so tough.
For those of you trying to put this challenge into perspective it is like doing three Test of Metals and four Cheakamus Challenges in one week, sleeping in a tent each night and beginning your race at 8 a.m. each day. No lounging around at Gone Bakery or Behind the Grind until the motivation hits you to start your ride its up at 6 a.m., eat like a pig, knock down a couple of huge coffees, hit the outhouse and off you, go boys and girls. To complicate things even further, you and your partner can never be more than two minutes apart.