CYCLE SMILE Jodie Willet and her TransRockies race partner Cathy Zeglinksi race through stage six in Alberta on their way to a team victory. Photo by Gibson Pictures
Whistler was well represented at the final TransRockies event.
Two Whistler riders came home with first place finishes. Tony Routley won the 50 plus category in the three-day stage race while Dr. Cathy Zeglinski raced seven stages to come home with a first place medal in women's team racing.
Petra Tlamkova also rode all seven stages placing third in the open women's group. Mike Robinson rode all seven stages in the men's open and placed sixth.
Zeglinski said the event organizers had to do some scrambling due to trail impacts following the flooding in Alberta.
"It wasn't the choicest mountain bike parts because they had to do their best just to get us a race," said Zeglinksi once she was settled back at home in Whistler.
She said the participants included many of the familiar faces on the B.C. racing circuit.
"It was a down-home party kind of atmosphere," Zeglinski said.
Her Northlands Live Giant team placed eighth overall amongst the team entries.
"We raced hard but we had a big margin halfway through," said Zeglinski.
"My teammate, Jodie (Willet), is one of the top women from Australia and has been for years. She's been third at national championships several times and second at their marathon championships several times and she wins a lot of races there."
Willet came from Australia specifically to team up with Zeglinski in the seven-stage event.
Tlamkova won two stages on her way to the podium at the end of the race. She and Zeglinski both said the talent level at the TransRockies race was very high calibre.
"I didn't expect that (two stage wins) because I wasn't training like the (other) girls were," said Tlamkova of her first crack at a stage race. "I wasn't training like a pro."
The Whistler racer from the Czech Republic got into a bind soon after the start of the race. She said the temperatures on the first day were too hot for her after travelling from Whistler and arriving just ahead of the start time. She had no other option as commitments back in Whistler prevented her from leaving any earlier.
"My legs were just totally flat on the first stage," said Tlamkova.
She put the first stage behind her and pressed ahead after the bad start.
"I felt terrible after day one," she explained. "It was just 30km – the elevation was 1,500 metres – so I was just up and down and it was over 30 degrees, too warm and I couldn't breathe and felt terrible. Then I just had a rest, lots of sleep and told myself I'm going to win the next day."
She did win the stage the next day.
Routley also got off to a rough start. Another rider crashed into him in the first two minutes of the first stage.
"I was down on the deck," said Routley. "Bent derailleur hanger, scraped up and actually kind of sore for the rest of the race."
He straightened his derailleur, jumped back on his bike and carried on.
"Day two was a sprint finish with a guy in my category," Routley said. "I won it by less than one second."
Routley had raced in Bend, Oregon the weekend before. He said it was hotter in Bend than it was in Fernie.
Stage three had Routley looking over his shoulder the whole race but he crossed the finish line with a 24-minute lead over the racer who sprinted with him to the finish the day before.
"It was quite successful for the Whistler contingent that was there," Zeglinksi said.
The three podium finishers from Whistler were all given certificates to race the revamped version of the event next year. All three said they plan to return and take part in Singletrack 6, an event that will feature more singletrack riding and an enduro event.