Wednesday, August 18, 2010

TransRockies - The Ugly

Really, there were only two ugly things about TransRockies - the weather and the terrain. And it was the weather that made the terrain ugly, so maybe there was only one problem with the race.

As I mentioned in the post that summarized my TransRockies experience, I am still struggling to find the right words to describe what it was like out there. To say that it was "muddy" sounds ridiculous - of course it was muddy. We were mountain biking. But the mud that we experienced - on days 1, 4, 5, and 6 - was serious stuff. It inhibited my ability to ride and at times made it nearly impossible to even walk. It was *super* frustrating. Perhaps the mud would have been okay - humourous even - if it hadn't been usually accompanied by rain, hail, and temperatures in the single digits.

I am a prodigious taker of photographs but when the going got really tough in this race, I actually took fewer photos. That said, here are a few images of the weather and the trails.

This is from stage 1 in Fernie on the Coal Discovery Trail. The mud here was sort of buttery in its consistency. Going down was okay, but going up was a challenge. Add roots and I was wiping out all over the place.


This lovely mud trail on stage 4 continued for 17km and took us close to 4 hours to get through. Can you see Sierra on the left in the bushes? You really should click on the image to see the awesome "trail."


More stage 4 mud. Sometimes I would try and ride through this, but it only took a couple of falls to convince me that I was better off walking.


This is the only photo I took of my bike and it was after I had wiped huge hunks of mud and horse poop off my wheel to help it turn.

Here we are on stage 4 when it started to hail. Sierra and I had taken cover under some trees but when it wouldn't stop we figured we had to just keep on pushing through. We finished that day in less than 1 second under official cut off time: 8:59:52!

This is Ryan (rode in the Open Mixed category) at the second checkpoint on stage 5. It was the second day that we experienced hail. Doesn't he look warm and dry?!


It's tough, in retrospect, to complain about the weather though. I mean, if it had been 40C and humid it would have killed me too. I doubt that I will make it back to Alberta to try my wheels on the TransRockies route next year... but part of me wants to.

4 comments:

Maven said...

Congratulations--on all of it. I would have laid down in the mud and cried. Have you heard the Radiolab podcast on Limits? You will dig it if you haven't. It's so interesting, and you will relate to the segments about physical limits.

Jennoit said...

Thanks so much, maven. I'll check out those podcasts, too.

And in the land of weird, get this: after the first couple of days riding, I started having weird, vidid dreams at night. One of them involved me going to the "beach" along a river in an industrial area in Minnesota with you. Yeah, weird, but at the risk of sounding like a total weirdo, I had to tell you.

Meandering Michael said...

Cool! Are you entering the Yukon Adventure Challenge Mini? It's on August 28th. If you can do the TR, you can definitely do the YAC-Mini.

Maven said...

That's crazy (but not weird--I have had many dreams involving other bloggers)! I do live just two miles from the Mississippi, you know.

Here's the link to the podcast: http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/episodes/2010/04/16

I liked this one so much I listened to it twice.