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Aug 30, 2022

This week we take a virtual trip to the Canadian rockies with rider accounts from the TransRockies Gravel Royal. We hear from eventual winners, Rob Britton and Rach McBride among others to explore this 4 day gravel stage race.

Episode sponsor: Trek Travel -- Come join me in Girona on Nov 6th.

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Automated Transcription, please excuse the typos:

TransRockies Gravel Royale

[00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello, and welcome to the gravel ride podcast, where we go deep on the sport of gravel cycling through in-depth interviews with product designers, event organizers and athletes. Who are pioneering the sport

I'm your host, Craig Dalton, a lifelong cyclist who discovered gravel cycling back in 2016 and made all the mistakes you don't need to make. I approach each episode as a beginner down, unlock all the knowledge you need to become a great gravel cyclist.

This week on the podcast, I'm bringing you coverage directly from the trans Rockies gravel Royale. You might've heard me mentioned trans Rockies, gravel rail a few times over the years. It's one of those unfortunate events with regards to COVID timing. That got scheduled right at the beginning of the pandemic and had to get postponed on a couple of occasions.

But they finally got it off the ground this year. And it is such a great event. Trans Rockies organization has been producing races for over 20 years. I actually participated in a mountain bike stage race a seven day race. That they put on, gosh, probably about 10 years ago. And it was really quite an amazing experience. There's something to be said for being out there in the wilderness.

traversing some amazing terrain. And then camping with everybody who just did the same thing as you that day, they do great highlight reel videos. Every night, they've got sort of a. Dining tent, and they prepare all the meals. It's an all exclusive experience. So when I heard they were doing a gravel version, I was super excited to go ultimately and do it, unfortunately that wasn't in the cards for me this year. But I did have my friend Marissa from Verde brand communications up there.

Doing some interviews with some of the athletes as they were crossing the line. We were fortunate to talk to many of the stage winners and both of the ultimate winners of the event. So you'll see, during this episode, we'll go through each stage to give you a little bit of a flavor. For what transpired during the race, I'll give you a bit of an overview and then we've got a couple of just general commentaries from participants at the end of the podcast.

So I hope you enjoy learning a little bit more about the trans Rockies. And with that i do need to stop and thank this week sponsor.

This week we're once again, sponsored by our friends over at Trek travel and the discover Girona gravel trip. That I personally am going to be participating in on November 6th through 10th this year. And I encourage you to join me.

You may recall. We did an entire episode on Jarana gravel last year. And learned a lot about this historic city. And what has become. A hub for professional cycling in Girona across the road and gravel spectrums. The city is surrounded by amazing gravel routes. And the Trek infrastructure in Girona is just top notch. It's a location of one of their service courses. So they've got a number of bikes and included in this trip.

Is a bicycle rental from track. So you don't even have to travel with your bikes. As we talked about in the intro, I love the idea of multi-day gravel experiences. So whether it was the trans Rockies, gravel Royale. Or even better. A trip like this, where you can design your own experience. If you want to ride your bike from dusk till Dawn, the team attract travel can create routes for you.

Or if you want to have more of a city experience and do shorter rides. And enjoy the cafes and the historic surroundings of the community of Girona. You can do that too. I am looking forward to bathing in it all, frankly, I've been dreaming about this trip for a few years, ever since I first found out about it from the group of Trek travel, and I want you to join me. So if you can.

The. Trip I'll be participating in and starts on November 6th. If you register for the trip by visiting Trek, and search for that. Girona gravel bike tour. If you mentioned the podcast or the ridership, they're going to throw in a free handlebar bag. For your trip there and something you can take home with you it will be a small Momento of the time we'll share together. So I hope you'll join me there again. Simply visit Trek, and search Jarana gravel bike tour. And you'll see that November six. Trip amongst the other dates that they have available this year. And remember to mention the gravel ride podcast during your booking process.

Without behind us, let's jump right into the overview of the trans Rockies gravel Royale. And hear from a number of the participants.

All right. Stage one, the trans Rockies gravel Royale, Tigger pass Panorama to the, to the community of Becca it's 50 miles and 6,900 feet of climbing. We're joined today by women's race winner, Rachel McBride. And men's race winner, corey wallace from stage one

[00:05:00] Rach McBride: This is Rach McBride, professional triathlete, and I guess gravel racer and mountain bike. Gracer this year. I am here at trans rocks, gravel, Royal, and just finished stage one. It was. A pretty awesome day. We started out with a nice neutral descent and Down into, from Panorama into, in Vermer and then started on the big climb up to about, I don't even know what, I don't know how high we went today.

It was a really great day for me. I felt pretty strong all day. I saw, you know, there was kind of a pack of folks who went off the front and I did not stay with them. And so I was kind of on my own for most of the day back and forth with a couple of folks.

And it was you know, this was probably one of the most technical. Gravel race days that I have ever done, we climbed and climbed and climbed on some gravel roads, but then it quickly went into double track that was not super rideable and there was a lot of walking and then it went into. Basically a trail that was a hiking trail and everyone was walking.

I just tried to use some of my tri triathlete skills to jog a little bit up those walking sections. And it was pretty fun to just feel like you were out in the middle of with your gravel bike. And then once you reach the top of the. Of the climb and I knew I just needed to push it to the top of this climb because the rest of the ride was gonna be downhill and pretty flat.

And so tactically, it was gonna pay off to spend a lot of matches on that first climb and Coming down the single track on the way down was very exciting. It was definitely quite technical didn't. I stayed on my bike for the most part, had to crash myself once when it got super, super steep and I couldn't stop myself and just need to work on some technical skills to actually.

Feel comfortable riding down that in the future. And then yeah, was just like on my own got passed on the downhill by some really speedy downhill mountain bike types, but caught up with them on the flats and yeah, ended up finishing strong. There was I think everyone today is complaining about the.

Final turn and the final climb because we're on a beautiful gravel road. And then turn onto basically what looks like. You're just riding into the forest and there's no trail at all and you just keep climbing up, but it was super fun. It was really exciting. And yeah, I don't know. I've never done you know, a four day stage race before, and especially with stages that are this long.

So I hope I haven't burned a lot of matches. Today. I know I still have three more days to race and hope I can just keep pushing it and I may be totally dying by day four. We'll get there when we come to it. And this is why I do this sport is to just challenge myself and see how far I can go with it.

[00:08:13] Cory Wallace: I'm Corey Wallace, the Kona Factory team, and we're here at day one in the trans Rockies, gravel Royal. Yeah, I finished up epic on Friday and then started the drive up here Saturday and got here last night, around eight o'clock woke up, threw some stuff in a bag and we went off bike racing.

I was pretty grateful for the one hour rollout from Panora down to in Vermer before the race started, gave me a chance to woke up and then. Yeah, the race is on. Yeah, typical trans rock up a pretty gnarly climb bit. A hike, a bike is Rob my an American myself kind of, battling it out and they would drop me towards the top of the climb.

And then I went pretty hard through the single track and caught 'em on the descent and attacked right away. And Rob came with me and we would work together to the finish. And I kind of knew the finish from 10 years going. We did trans Rockies here, so I did a little effort with about one K out and yeah, took the, took the win and now we're just hanging out and getting ready for day two.

[00:09:10] Craig Dalton: All right onto stage two, which is Becca to Knippa CTCA highlighted by Miller pass. It's a 51 mile stage with 4,900 feet of climbing. Once again, we're joined by rich McBride. Who successfully got first place in this stage for the women? And we're also joined by second place finisher in the men's category. Rob britain

[00:09:33] Rach McBride: All right. Stage two. We left Nica and came back to beautiful Nica. It has been amazing to be here in this beautiful place. My race was super fun. I just like was determined to make the battle Royal. This time around and yeah, just rode strong all day and finished with a bunch of guys, two guys who I made work with me and had a really, really fun time and made some new friends and that, and then immediately went and jumped in the pond to cool off Is the, I've just been like super impressed with NA NCA here and just the like camp atmosphere is really fun and really means that like, you get to meet new people and like, see everybody coming in and you know, Kind of get to know each other and chill, like the afternoons have been so awesome to just like, hang out and sit in the sun or sit in the pond go for a little walk.

I went for a little jog this afternoon and yeah, it was pretty amazing. Yeah. I love it. And. Yeah, food's great too. good. Good evening entertainment as well with the like evening of photos and videos. So you also like get to see like what other people doing on race day and on course, which is pretty cool.

Cool. How are you feeling for two more days? Two more days, man. I mean, they're gonna be longer. And I'm definitely feeling tired. And I know that like for me, the longer, the better I'm really excited about the upcoming about tomorrow. And we get to move to a new place. So that'll be cool though.

I think we got really spoiled here. totally. Yeah.

[00:11:22] Rob Britton: . Hi, my name's Rob Briton. I race professionally for east Overland slash felt bicycles. And right now we are on stage two of the trans Rockies gravel Royal. Currently I am in first, overall and finished second on yesterday's first stage and third on today's stage.

So it's going pretty well so far. A little bit different experience than my past life, where we would sleep in hotels and have toilets. And this is more of a roughen it experience. Yeah, camping. So yeah, just hanging out in the tent at night with about 300 folks. and yeah, early starts, which is sort of the, the jam with gravel.

I don't really tell you that in the gravel brochure, but yeah, most most stages start before 8:00 AM. So these ones start right around eight and they're relatively short for the races we've done this year around 80 K or. For any Americans listening about 50 miles. So that's give or take three hours and you're done before noon.

So the rest of the day is just spent relaxing, which where we are right now. Looking at a pretty incredible view of we've got the cutey mountains on one side and the Rocky mountains on the other side of the valley we've got a pretty incredible. Pond or it's pond little swing hole here from a Creek, which is quite refreshing considering it's about 26, 27 degrees, or I guess 35, 80 degrees.

So yeah, just taking it all in it's my first year doing this gravel gig. it's quite a bit more fun than my past life racing on the road, especially kind of the last couple years in Europe when things went from hard to much harder. So yeah, this is, this is nice. You have hamburgers for lunch and beef brisket for dinner and beer is kind of in between.

So yeah, it's it's a pretty good gig, but otherwise yeah, running my felt breed carbon right now with. GX D I two, we've got a classified rear wheel on there. So it gives me kind of the option of my standard 48 with an 1134 cassette or the virtual second ring is close to a 32. So pretty killer climbing gear Schwabe G one RS tires and 45 C, which is pretty sweet for traction.

And then I kinda made the last minute switch to the Fox taper cast 32 fork. So I've got just a little bit of little bit of cushion to the front end for those descend switch so far has paid off quite a bit. I don't mind carrying it up the climbs for the yeah, the mortal relaxed ASC descending.

And yeah, we got two stages left. I think it's about. Tomorrow's 110 K giver take. And then the final day is kind of there at queen stage. And that's about 130 K. So I think that's around 87 miles and yeah, finishing fornia and, and call it a week and then onto whatever my next thing is, which at this point I actually don't even know, but I know I'm busy for the next month, but Yeah, all and all it's been pretty awesome being out here in BC.

It's nice to race, relatively close to home. You don't get that opportunity. And certainly haven't had that for a number of years, so I'm stoked to be here.

[00:14:33] Craig Dalton: The stage three, this is where the writers are really starting to feel the first two days of effort. This day's stages from Nica to canal flats. I'll actually be moving camp today and it features little ALK pass. 67 miles, 4,900 feet of climbing. We're going to be joined again by Rachel McBride who managed to successfully.

When this stage as well. And then on the men's side we're joined by caleb swartz from missoula montana who came in third place on stage three

[00:15:07] Rach McBride: All right. Day three, trans Rockies gravel Royal. Today was a more of an epic day than we had experienced in the past couple of days, just because it was a little bit longer and started off. Pretty much right off the bat with the Q O M climb, which was pretty challenging and still involved some walking at the top, which I think everybody was not fond of.

And and then quite, I mean, for me, it was a technical descent. I was pretty, I was scared shitless going down the descent, cuz it was super fast yet. There were some technical bits. And and ended up getting up out onto the main road, the drag that was hours and hours long initially on my own.

And then thankfully got caught by two guys and we then eventually. Reeled in another two guys. And there were five of us working together for a long time. And that was one of the interesting things about this course today was that it really, your success kind of depended a little bit on who you ran into and what kind of a group you had and if you were working together or not, and I really got pushed by the.

Folks that I was riding with, which was awesome. And eventually we got rid of most of them except for one person. And then that guy rode me into the ground and I B I really baed at the end of the, at the start of the last climb, that was just like, you were so many hours in and then had to do this.

Climb that looked like forever, even though I think it was only a minute or so. But I definitely felt a lot more tired on day three and a little bit more cracked at the end. And yeah, we landed in canal flats and had an maing dinner. The food is so fantastic here. And what else am I talking about?

I was Just about gravel, gravel. Yeah. Yeah, I mean, for me this year racing, the lifetime grand Prix has meant that I have put, put triathlon on the back burner a bit though, still raced here and there. And what has kind of ended up happening? I mean, this is like my fifth weekend or fifth week in a row racing between gravel mountain bike and triathlon.

And I have. Kind of felt like I've been racing into shape. And I mean, the GRA the, the punchiness and the dynamics of gravel racing and the mountain bike racing like Leadville 100 and the Leadville stage race that I did has really reminded me of just how. Much you can push in these shorter races and how much stamina my body has.

And to be able to like in between all of these races, still show up and like win Boulder, 70.3 was kind of insane for me and really has meant that Yeah, that, you know, my gravel racing this year has really upped my triathlon game, which is really exciting. It's very cool to feel like still in the mix at the age of 44 in this career and being like racing in this totally new dynamic.

World of gravel racing. It's a new crowd. It's a new scene. It is new competition. It is different courses a different community and yeah, just a really awesome vibe and I'm loving it.

[00:18:34] Caleb Swartz: Alrighty. My name is Caleb Swartz. I'm from Madison, Wisconsin, and I live in Missoula, Montana. And I ride for giant envy, which is my own program that I put together. Cool. So tell me about your stage today. It was, it was really hard and then it was not so hard and then it was really hard again. Yeah, we hit the first major climb about, you know, less than 10 minutes in.

And I immediately attacked as soon as we got there and got away a little bit and started going, then we got into like a mudslide. It was like riding through wet concrete. So then we ended up doing some running then Corey, who had some issues yesterday came through with just vengeance and just absolutely started smashing up the climb.

That was quote, mostly rideable which was actually some running. Then we got into a pretty technical descent or not well, could be technical depending how fast you go. A lot of. What they call stitch up here in Canada, which we would call water bars in the states. And so I almost got dropped, but I knew if I got dropped there, I'd be in trouble for the next like 50 miles of flat draft essential riding.

So then I attacked into the downhill and got a couple minutes gap. And made him chase me and we all regrouped and then basically all stayed together until we dropped one guy Josiah. And then I got dropped within the last climb and they sprinted it out. So, yeah, cool. How are you enjoying doing a stage race and camp antics and hanging out with the guys and all of that?

It's really fun. I did one other stage race earlier this year. That was a similar style called trans or Sylvania epic. Similar trans. And that was a mountain bike stage race in Pennsylvania. Similar thing, like five days of racing there, camping, like similar, no, not quite this level of production, but greats too.

And it's super fun to be doing point to point. And yeah, I really enjoy the, I don't. I ride my bike to be outside and getting to camp and race and be in super gorgeous areas. Like this is just as everything I love. The sport and why I raised professionally. Cool. How is your bike setup? A lot of people have had flats or mechanicals.

How's your bike been doing this week? My bike setup is not quite ideal, but it's, it's going strong. No issues yet. Yeah. Knock on wood. Yeah, I. I didn't really change my gearing or anything. It's my cycle cross bike. And that's what I, I'm primarily a side cross mountain bike racer. And so my, my like gearing is I have a 42 chain ring and a 30, 10 36 cassette, which is far from ideal for like 25% chunky, like rock gardens.

But so far is so good. And I'm running 42 mill tires. Well, 42, 38, cause I destroyed a tire in my race last Sunday, too. So I'm running a, running a black and tan mullet set up here. It's doing the trick and yeah, it's holding together strong and taking care of it and trying to ride smooth and minimize, minimize mistakes while going fast.

Cool. What are you looking forward in last stage tomorrow? Looking forward to this big climb. I love to climb. And it'll be interesting to see how everyone else is feeling and how I'm feeling. See if I can get some time back on second place in GC. And yeah, try and, you know, anything can happen or, you know, be tough to get the overall here, but I'd love to get another stage win and really I'd love a good mountaintop finish.

[00:21:55] Craig Dalton: And now on the stage four, which is the queen stage and the final stage of this year's 2022. Therese Rocky, gravel Royale. They're going from canal flats to the town of Fernie going over. Hartley pass. It's an

84 mile ride. With 7,900 feet of climbing, boy, that's going to hurt. At this stage in the game.

I've I've written in Fernie and around that area during the trans Rockies. Mountain bike stage race. Absolutely stunning to rain, incredible single track and dual track. Coming into Fernie. We're joined by rich McBride again, who managed to win the stage as well as the overall title.

On the men's side, we're joined by Rob Britton who won the overall title for the men. So excited to have you hear from them. And then we'll conclude by hearing from a few other athletes. Who participated in the event

[00:22:50] Rob Britton: well we're here at the finish of stage four final stage of the trans Rockies gravel L in traditional fashion of my experience infer any it's raining and the temperature is dropping.

Step as the final stage. Finally got my stage win searching for that for a few days now. Yeah. First stage race in gravel, done dusted kind of a bunch of first. I haven't done a capping stage race before and never done gravel stage Jason before. So certainly continues to be more different than my past life, but fun, nonetheless.

I mean, The group from trans Rockies did a heck of a job, you know, taking care of us, great food every night, nice breakfast in the morning. Some of the most incredible scenery you can imagine the Kenn Rockies obviously never disappoint, but yeah it was. All said and done ended up first on the final stage.

And first overall, which I'm super happy about because this was an important race with three quarters of my sponsors between felt Easton and chiro all taking part as major supporters of this stage race. So. Yeah, I'm really happy to get a win at this race and kind of, I think my first real win is a gravel pro or whatever my title is now, but yeah, definitely be back in the future and hopefully one of these days I'll finish in the sunshine for any and life will be good.

[00:24:15] Rach McBride: Day four, trans Rockies, gravel, Royal. This one was a beast. If I thought that I dug deep yesterday I really went into the pain cave today. It started off I started off feeling pretty ragged and finally got a bit of a second wind or first wind, maybe about halfway.

Through and suffered up the final 13 kilometer climb to the finish. I had an awesome group though, to ride with a bunch of really strong guys who we all just pushed each other and we were. Like egging each other on and coaxing each other on to stay together. It was super supportive and that was a really, really cool experience.

And I don't think I would've pushed as hard had I not had such great riders and folks to be racing with my thoughts on this whole week are, I mean, Race is definitely like, unlike anything I've ever experienced in my gravel racing days, for sure. From the courses to the multi-day aspect, to the The tent, camping and the evening awards and support and awesome food and everything.

It's just been a really fantastic experience to, I mean, if you want to like feel in the gravel community, this is a pretty awesome way to experience it because you're all stuck together for four days. And so you make new friends and you meet people from all over. The world really, who are doing this race.

And it's a fun, little, like, You know, little town that you're in for, for a couple of days, for folks who are interested in doing this, maybe even for their first gravel race. I mean, first of all, I would say that if you are going to do this race for your first gravel race, any other race that you do will likely be seem a lot easier than anything else than anything that you would do this week.

The I would definitely recommend when you're training for it to do some multiple big days in a row, because, or just do some training when you are fatigued, because you know, really doing the bigger days in the days three and four takes a lot out of you and you definitely need some stamina. And you want to.

I think some of the biggest things is like you can't deplete yourself on every day, so you really need to be fueling and hydrating during your race prepping for the next days, as well as afterwards, eat a lot at dinner, eat a lot at breakfast. And what else would I say? . Yeah. Be prepared. Another tip I would give is be prepared to walk a lot with your bike because there are some technical aspects and some super steep climbs that everybody is walking.

And some technical aspects that if you're not a mountain biker, you probably will be Walking with your bike, which is totally fine. I definitely walked some of the more technical sections myself. And

maybe that's it. Yeah. What was your favorite moment of the week? Oh, my favorite moment of the week was definitely, you know, over because I was riding with a few guys for over the, the whole course of the race. You know, we got to know each other a little bit and there was a bit of a rivalry going on and it was just really fun to be like, I think the, the best moment for me was just.

Like being out there with like new friends and pushing each other I think just that community side of things and that like new friends sort of thing was pretty awesome.

[00:28:21] Jacob Paul: Hi, my name is Jacob Paul. I'm from west colon BC, and I competed in the 30 to 39 men's category of trans Rockies this week. The week went really well. Had a lot of fun out racing with everyone. I have not done a whole lot of racing, so a whole new experience riding in a group and yeah, working with other people, the course had a great mix of everything.

A lot of gravel roads, a lot of single track and some pretty cool views. And yeah, I would strongly recommend this race to anyone who's interested in mountain biking and gravel biking. What was your favorite moment from the week? Hm, my favorite moment from the week was on day three when we were rolling into canal flats.

And you could see all the jagged mountains above the clouds. Awesome. Sweet. Well, thank you super all.

[00:29:15] Zoe Roy: . My name's Zoe. Roy, do you want me to spell it? No, that's okay. And I'm from bend Oregon, originally, Ontario, Canada, but live in bend Oregon. Awesome. What did you do for the last four days? I rode my bike over a lot of up and down. And through the woods and around mountains and hung out with a lot, a lot of really fun people.

Cool. Yeah. So you're not a gravel biker, but you did a gravel event. Yeah. How was the gravel community and everyone that you met? Oh, man, your week, like, great. It was so fun. It, it was my first gravel event, gravel race ever. But I really didn't expect anything. Like for the community to be as great as they were.

Yeah. I assume they would be. cool. And you're queen of the mountain Royal attempts. How were those? Oh yeah. They were fun. They were really fun. I was on, I think I had a little bit easier gearing cuz I had mountain bike gears in the. On my bike. I was on a gravel bike with flat bars and mountain bikers.

So the steep uphills were to my advantage. Yeah. But they were they're, they were really fun. We thought we might as well. I thought I might as well try and see what happened. Totally. And it worked out the last two days. Awesome. What was your favorite moment of the week? Favorite moment of the week.

The downhill yesterday was really fun. Yeah. If I was picking a moment during the, during the stages. Yeah. Through the creeks, it was just really fun and fast and it kept going through fun Creek crossings. Yeah. Yeah. So that good. What about your favorite camp moment? Favorite camp moment? Staying in Nico is pretty fun, was really fun cuz everyone just stuck there.

Internet or wifi. Yeah. And so you're just kind of forced to hang out with each other. Yeah. So that's great. Have you been in this area? Much biking? I have a little bit around here and I did trans Rocky's the classic, the mountain bike one mm-hmm in 2019. So I have been, and I think the stage, the first stages were similar or the same.

Yeah. So I have done, I've been in this area and I also work at a lodge that we rode really close to a back country, ski and hiking lodge. So we were probably within 10 K of. On the same gravel roads we take to get to the lodge. Yeah. Barry, do you wanna make a cameo? This recording? Sure. Hello? Can introduce yourself.

[00:31:20] Barry Wicks: My name is Barry Wix. How was your week? Oh, it was excellent. Yeah, super fun. You know, another awesome stage race experience. Just spending four days out in the woods. Riding bikes doesn't get much better. Cool. What are you guys doing next? Where are you? This we're actually adding cam more to do a 24 hour race tomorrow, which is probably a bad idea.

but I'm sure this day of rest will be very helpful, feel super fresh tomorrow. Cool. What was your favorite moment from. I think probably my favorite moment was watching Zoe go up hill really fast. That was quite impressive. I was struggling to keep up. It was inspiring to watch her just zooming up the hill, passing everybody.

It was also pretty fun having the Spanish people here, the whole crew with the media team and we rode. Rael yesterday from like at least half, maybe three quarters of it. And then we were on Spanish TV afterwards. yeah, yeah. Highlight. We got be on TV potentially. We don't know actually, if we made the cut, but yeah, that's true.

We might get cut out. You never know, but we were interviewed. That might might been a highlight. Good. do you need to speak Spanish? No, zero Spanish. I'm sure the subtitles be excellent. Subtitles. Cool.

[00:32:32] Marisa Dobrot: Hi there. This is Marissa with trans rocks. You might have heard my voice throughout this podcast, just in the background asking some of the athletes questions. And before I sign off, Craig just wanted me to give you all a little recap of how the week went from my perspective and how the event was overall.

Obviously you heard from a lot of the athletes, how they were racing and. The camp was and everything like that. So just a little bit more background where the four stages of the race were, were just amazing, beautiful mountains and terrain. Really unlike anything we obviously have in the United States which is where I'm from from Colorado.

so it was just a great opportunity to get athletes out on these magnificent gravel roads. Even if some of the time the athletes might have complained a little bit, that it was a little more technical than they were probably used to in a gravel race. Having to even the pros, having to get off their bike and walk some portions.

Which I think just makes the event so unique and interesting. And you really get a perspective of back country gravel over the four days. So. As you know, the, the race started out in Panorama which is a really cute little ski town ski resort and looked like it had some great downhill mountain biking for the summer.

So that's where night one was. And they started right at the base of the ski hill and took off from there. And it was a neutral start. So everyone. Kind of got a chance to just chill for the morning. For that little first bit probably have some conversations with fellow writers before they really took off once they got down to town and on their way to Tager pass which that first day, and that first pass was sounded pretty challenging for a lot of the athletes.

And definitely from the videos that we got from the video team. On course it was technical and a lot of people took some spills or walked down some of the technical technical sections. But overall was still super gorgeous. And can't really be going on some of that terrain on two wheels.

And then ending that day out at ni PICA, which was a super beautiful place. The, the trans Rockies team had been setting up the tents and obviously getting everything set. We were in ni PICA for two days which was really cool to kind of spend a good amount of time there, like totally you cell service surrounded 360 by mountains.

Really gorgeous. And Niah as a whole is is what they consider an eco resort. So a lot of the buildings that had been made were from various recycled materials and wood that they had found and things like that. And the, the creator of Niah Lyle was talked to the, to the athletes a couple times and just his vision for the resort really plays into what trans Rockies is all about, which is super cool.

And definitely a place I wanna go back in the winter. Seems really beautiful for CrossCountry skiing or, or fat biking, but was in, was very enjoyable for the summer. And so that day too going out in Nico was actually a loop. So they started out from camp. Did a loop around around some mountains there did a pass called Miller pass and then looped back on some great mining, gravel roads back to camp.

So I think that was a great day for everyone to just kind of explore more. The parts of the course that I was able to get out on in the morning were just beautiful. Super gorgeous, like glacier rivers going through Really have no complaints on that one. And then later that afternoon was a little stormy.

It had poured down rain and everyone went hiding under like the dining tent or in their tents. We were in the media RV, which was nice. So everything got a little soaked, but I think it helped it cool it down. In the afternoon before we had dinner And I think what's super cool about having these stage races is often in one day races, you kind of are in your own zone and you get to the start line and you do your race.

And. Talk to people on the course and you have a great time and you have great interactions. And then, and then the race is over and you're with your family or you're onto your next thing. Versus stage race. It's you have all of this time to really know the community and the people that you're with and really have that super cool experience making friends, and we were really lucky to have people from all over the world, come out for the inaugural.

I had a group from Spain, obviously a lot of people from the us and obviously a lot of people from Canada on all over the the country, which was really awesome. So people got the chance to meet so many different kinds of people. We were grateful to also have some, some pros come out. So some people got to talk to some really fast bikers which is really awesome to have.

And each night just, if you're not familiar with kind of how trans Rockies runs, they do awards for the stage. And they have a ton of categories. They have age group and the pro category. You can do it in a team. So things like that. So awards, and then we also put together some fun, little slideshow of all of the shots that we get from the media team.

And then the video team puts together a pretty funny little recap video of the day which is great for the athletes to just see how the day was for everyone else and see some cool, some cool spots and things like that. And just a fun way to end the night. And then. Pretty much wraps it up and people go to bed.

They're thankfully not super early mornings. Start times at 8:00 AM, but we have breakfast open at six. So people start kind of rolling around, getting ready for the day each morning, pretty early. And so day two, starting at Nica. We went out of there and we were making our way down to canal flats.

That day was a less technical horse, but definitely a little bit longer. But I think people enjoyed the break of it not being quite as technical . Because the last day of the event is definitely a long, the longest day with the biggest climbing ending in fie. So the village of canal flat was awesome.

And it was just like a really tiny little town nestled in the mountains, close to a lake. We were just kind of right in, in the town, which was really cool. We were, the, the tents were set up on a baseball field and we had plumbing, which was, which was a change from Nica where we just had porta potties.

So I think that was a nice change for everyone going to that last day. And then on Thursday morning, took off from canal flats and head down to F. Unfortunately I was driving a truck, so I didn't get to see any of that course. Just the course footage that came back from the media team. And it looked gorgeous.

That's definitely a unique course in that route pretty much the only road there, the reason that we, we couldn't really go in to the courses because there was no other way, it was kind of in between two mountains. This one mining road that they Rodee on So it was super gorgeous. The footage that the media team came back with was unreal.

So gonna have to figure out how to get myself on a bike next time to cover social and do these interviews which will be exciting. And then ending in the town of fie which is another really awesome little mountain town. There's a ski hill, great hiking. Just full 360 views of just incredibly big mountains.

And super dramatic a little bit different than Colorado. And so cool. And the town was super inviting. Trans Rockies has had a number of events come through fie. They'll actually be starting out in fie again in about a week for their single track six mountain bike event. So their, their team will be working hard again for a six stage stage race for those mountain bikers.

And at the end, it was unfortunately a little rainy. So , people hung out for a little bit, but then they went and got some, some dry clothes and met back up again for the final banquet, which is how all trans Rock's events end. We had at the community center. infer. And we do final awards and the final video and just thank yous to the full crew and obviously all the athletes and support and the host communities and things like that.

And then we say farewell. So it goes by fast for sure. Those four days But an amazing experience for myself kind of being on the outside and not fully participating, but getting to see the athletes and just be around the trans Rockies community and this new gravel community that trans Rockies is putting together on this stage.

Race is really awesome. So we hope to see returning faces next year. And we also hope to, to see some new ones as well. Wanna enjoy four days of amazing gravel. That they might not necessarily do if they weren't gonna do an event like trans Rockies. So, grateful to be a part of it. And we hope you enjoyed this recap.

And I wanna thank Craig for putting it together. My first adventure into doing podcasts and recording. So hope you all enjoy and we'll hopefully see you a trans Rocky's event soon. Thanks so much.

[00:40:47] Craig Dalton: That's going to do it for this week's edition of the gravel ride podcast. I hope you enjoyed hearing from those athletes from the trans Rockies gravel Royale certainly does look like an amazing event. And I can personally attest to how awesome the terrain is up there in that region of Canada. Huge. Thanks to our friends. Attract travel, please consider joining me this November 6th on the Girona gravel tour trip. Just visit Trek, and search for that. Jarana gravel bike tour. And mentioned your listener of the podcast. For that free handlebar bag I look forward to spending some time and spinning some miles with you over in Girona. If you're interested in connecting with me. I encourage you to join the ridership. That's It's a free global cycling community where you can connect with over 1500 athletes from around the world and discuss anything to do with gravel cycling. If you're able to support the podcast, please visit buy me a Slash the gravel ride. Or ratings and reviews are hugely appreciated. Until next time here's to finding some dirt under your wheels