Posted by Editoress on 07/30/12
Stage 3: Fernie to Island Lake Lodge, 31.1 km, 1800 m climbing
Day three of the 2012 TransRockies Challenge began in a similar fashion to the previous two. Exceptional weather blessed the field and the riders enjoyed a quick spin from Fernie proper up to the starting at line at Fernie Alpine Resort. Stage 3 would take the masses 31km from this renowned mountain bike playground to the finish at luxurious Island Lake Lodge. Today would be another day of epic climbs with the high alpine views offering a reward that riders would never forget.
The starter pistol sounded and the usual suspects sped quickly to the front. By midpoint the boys from Team Specialized, Neal Kindree and Evan McNeely along with Chris Sheppard of Rocky Mountain Factory Team, built a solid 5 minute lead on the rest of the field. Sheppard started the day down 5:21 to Kindree in the TR3 category and dropped the hammer on the final climb in an effort to close the gap. The lead built by Kindree over the first two days proved too much to overcome and, while Sheppard took the stage win by 1:46, Kindree would take the TR3 Open Men’s title. Mical Dyck continued her domination of the Women’s Open field and captured the overall with a third straight stage win. The 40+ TR3 field podium and overall remained unchanged as Ian Auld, Jeff Neilson and John O’Shannassy retained the same 1,2,3 positions of the previous two stages.
With two days down and 3 to go, the TR7 field was just starting to warm up. The effort of 1800 metres of climbing would pale in comparison to the reward of unending views. Women’s Open team of Jean Anne Berkenpas and Sandra Walter continued to widen the gap over their 2nd place competitors. Today Berkenpas and Walter would clock in at 2:47:45, over 35 minutes ahead Alana Heise and Nicole Muzechka of Terrascape Racing. The Men’s Open offered up a similar story as team Planetfoods/Honey stinger stretched their lead to 12:35 with a 4:37 victory over Greg Day and Colin Kerr. Normon Thibault and Wendy Simms continued to lead the Open Mixed category with a 3rd straight win pulling in 56 seconds ahead of Tristan Rawlence and Anja McDonald.
After a shake up in the standings on stage two, the team of Pat Doyle and Craig Bartlett, captured a 2nd straight win and padded their overall lead in the 80+ Men’s. The duo now leads 2nd place team Milan Spolc and Jiri Benes by nearly 56 minutes. Swiss husband and wife duo Marco and Eva Carrer came screaming down Mt. Baldy to stretch their 80+ lead to a substantial 3:20. Harry Johnson and Andrew Seessel were able to retain the lead they picked up on Stage 2 in the 100+ Open category with a 2nd victory in a row.
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