At eight days and close to 700 kilometres, the 10 th annual Jeantex Bike Transalp Challenge, which finished Sunday, is one of the toughest mountain bike races in the world. It’s less technical than some, but the route climbs and descends no less than 18 mountain passes in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy, with a total vertical of more than 22,000 metres (72,000 feet). The highest pass is at an altitude of more than 3,000 metres. What the descents lack in technical riding they make up in length.
The top team overall, Team Bulls of Germany, finished the course in 27 hours, 32 minutes and 30 seconds.
Team Whistler, which included Lloyd Thomas and Dave Burch, finished 53 rd overall out of 296 teams in the men’s category and completed the race with a time of 35:16:50. They were 7:44:19 off the lead time, while the slower teams were over 36 hours back.
Nikki Kassel, a sometimes Whistler resident who is currently living in Prince George, was part of Team Raven Canada, along with Fedyna Marg. Together they placed a solid third in the women’s event with a time of 36:18:08, in a field of 18 teams.
North Vancouver’s Alison Sydor and Bresser Carsten of Team Rocky Mountain-Haywood Securities won the mixed category with a time of 32:10:50, more than two hours ahead of the next team. There were 72 teams in that category.
Vancouver Canucks fans will also be excited to know that Trevor Linden and partner John Ramsden of West Vancouver finished 48 th out of 122 in the Masters category with a time of 41:58:30.
The race wrapped up on Sunday, July 22 after getting underway the previous Sunday, July 15.
The Trans Alp Challenge starts in Mittenwald Germany and finishes in Riva del Garda Italy, and regularly sells out all 550 race admissions. Participants must race in pairs, and can never be more than two minutes apart at any checkpoint or the finish. All times are logged, but the slower time is taken as the team time for the day.