By: Cary Smith
Day 4 of the Trans BC was a pretty sweet day. We awoke to clear skies in Golden, BC, after the smoke cleared overnight. The views are stunning from town, but so much better after a 4000’ gondola ride at Kicking Horse Resort.
Once again, the approach to stage 1 was amazing. Plenty of third and fourth class scrambling along a beautiful ridge took us out of the ski area for about 30 minutes. Then it was game time. I was pretty nervous for this stage after riding/hiking to the start. This trail promised to be rocky enough that the recommendation was to “ride it, don’t race it. It’s a bike eater.” There were plenty of snipers in and around the trail. When I hit the first really technical section, I didn’t have to fight my ego as I had just caught the guy who started in front of me and he was walking, forcing me to walk without having to make the decision. It probably saved me a bunch of time! After getting around him, I tried to ride smoothly and was thankful to get directions from a course marshal at a serious rock drop that was rideable if you knew where to go.
A short transfer took us to a short XC style stage. I knew this was a good stage for me to pin it, but that was relative after three days of racing. It was nice to give my hands a break from braking but my legs and lungs were screaming by the end.
Another fairly short transfer brought us to stage 3, which was definitely one of the coolest trails I’ve ridden. The trail had all sorts of flow, with several wooden features, roots and berms. Plenty of pumping the terrain and trying to stay off the brakes. The bottom half was super fast. Aaron G. said his Garmin read 40mph for a max speed, which is quite fast on a trail you’ve never seen. A short section of the trail hugged the edge of a cliff overlooking an incredible canyon with a glacial river running through the bottom of it. I took a quick peak but figured I shouldn’t stare too long.
Then it was time for a long, rolling transfer to the last stage. Another well built trail that meandered past several alpine lakes, one with a tempting rope swing. This trail brought us to the top of stage 4, a handbuilt flow trail with lots of small doubles and a bit of pedaling. I rode it pretty well, but blew one corner at the bottom of a short climb, which bummed me out. But I couldn’t dwell on it too much as I thought back to the day and how we were able to do four very different stages in a loop that required very little climbing. It was a very well thought out day to give our legs a rest before tomorrow.
In the morning, we get on the buses to go to Revelstoke for a big day. We have about 6000’ of climbing and 8000’ of descending waiting for us on the other side of Rogers Pass.