For Nelson’s Travis Hauck spending seven straight days on a bike saddle, riding single track, up and down mountain trails, is something he looks forward to all year.
That’s what he did at the TransRockies Challenge, a 330 kilometre cross-country mountain bike race from Fernie, BC, to Canmore, AB.
“It was epic,” he said, recalling the second half of the TR7, seven-stage ride, “I was out front with only a couple pros in front of me and hundreds of riders behind me.”
He said the remoteness of the ride is a huge attraction.
“You feel like you’re on a backcountry adventure, far away from any support,” he said. “The adrenaline really kicks in, you don’t want to make any mistakes, you don’t want to get a flat tire, you’re out in the wilderness, so you never know what to expect.”
Organizers provide aid stations where riders can fill their water and grab some food, but Hauck doesn’t like to take his feet off the pedals until he’s past the finish line.
“When the race starts, I just want to go full speed and try to win it,” he said, explaining he carries all his own water and nutrition to last him through the duration of the ride.
The TransRockies Challenge is actually two races that can be done back to back or individually. The TR4 is four days and the TR7 adds another three days to the route for a total of seven days.
To race in the TR7, you’re supposed to be part of a two person team. Because Hauck was racing solo his results for that section weren’t recorded, however, he said he finished third overall among the 15 people who had raced all seven days.
In the TR4 he finished 12th out of 45 racers in the open mens category, which is men under 40. He was about 54 minutes behind the top finisher in that section.
This was Hauck’s second year entering the TR7. Last year he entered the TR7 with Brian Cooke and the pair finished third, 20 minutes behind the top finishers.
“It’s definitely harder to do it solo,” he said, explaining he missed having somebody to draft off of in flat section, as well as just somebody to talk to. “It was definitely lonelier this year, not having anyone along even just for the moral support to keep you going.”
However he managed to keep within sight of the pro racer in front of him.
“I wasn’t going to let him out of my sight because I wanted to beat him and he was close to the same fitness as I was,” he said.
Hauck competes in about 10 cross country, mountain biking races per year, including other multi-stage rides in other countries. The next race on his calendar is a 100 kilometre ride at Kaslo Suffer Fest next month.