UnTapped Athlete: Peter Ostroski – 2017 Trans BC Enduro Race Report

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UnTapped athlete and enduro slayer, Peter Ostroski has been full-throttle as of late, racing around the world. Most recently he was in British Columbia at the Trans BC Enduro. Look on for his photo-journal detailing the challenges and highlights of this grueling six-day event. Make sure to click the links for video clips from each day. All video was taken by Ben Duke Media and the photos were taken by Noah Wetzel, Riley Seebeck, and Dane Cronin.

The 2017 edition of the Trans BC Enduro race was held during the second week of July, in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada. The 6-day event covered terrain in Fernie, Panorama, Golden, and Revelstoke, showcasing some of the best trails each area has to offer. Being the middle of summer, the lush British Columbia forests we tend to imagine, had seen a transformation from loamy carpets to dusty single tracks. Each day we were treated to a mix of trails, ranging from ribbons of perfect alpine singletrack to technical, skill testing steep shoots. This was a supported race, meaning food was supplied each day, but I had brought a healthy supply of Untapped, maple packets which I consumed 2-3 a day to keep me going.   

 

First, let’s make sure folks know what the mountain bike discipline of Enduro is. Race time is made up of special “stages” that descend over various lengths of vertical drop and time. The stages typically consist of mostly descending trail, sometimes with climbing and flat sections that require pedaling. Technicality varies from venue to venue, and trail to trail. Stages can be anywhere from 1-25min for the fastest riders, and the number of stages depends on each event and organizers determination. A transition is an untimed liaison that gets you to the start of the stage. The climb to the start of the stage is an untimed transition, yet you may have an assigned stage start time which you would need to plan your pace accordingly for. Some transitions are lift assist or shuttle assist depending on the event and location. Some events have an allocated practice time to ride the stages you will race prior to the race itself, but in this instance, the Trans BC event is an adventure style race, where all the stages are unannounced until the morning of the day. This is dubbed “blind” racing.      

 

Our adventure began in Fernie, nestled on the eastern edge of British Columbia, about a 3-hour drive from Calgary. Day one had 4 stages with 5,300ft total of timed descending. Starting at Fernie Mountain Resort for the opening stage, we had an easy uplift by chair, then raced down resort trails before transitioning to the other side of the valley to race a few of the local standout trails. The stage highlight of the day was a local favorite called “Big Money”, descending 2,000ft in 1.5 miles. After climbing the equivalent in the transition, the stage started on an alpine ridge, perched above the small town and dropped through beautiful old growth forest with steep flowing turns, and bench cut singletrack. After the first day and four stages, I was sitting in 2nd place overall, behind 2013 Enduro Series World Champion, Jerome Clementz of France.

 

Day one –

 

Day two began with a 3hr drive north, from Fernie to Invermere and the resort of Panorama. We were treated to two lift rides followed by an hour hike-a-bike/pedal, outside the resort to gain the start of the first stage 4,500ft above the village. High in the alpine, riding on a moon-like surface, we started stage one through tricky-to-navigate terrain. It was a “fend for yourself” type of stage as the markings for the stage were few and far between, it had you guessing which talus pile the trail went through. It wasn’t the longest stage of the day but, strangely, the most fun. The following four stages were a mix of two established resorttrails andd two trails outside the resort, with fast bench-cut singletrack flowing alongside the contours of the mountainside. I had a bit of technical trouble in the last stage and ended up fifth on the day and slipping to fourth in the overall.

 

Day two-

 

The next morning, our journey brought us to the town of Golden. Golden has a prolific zone, famous for some of the steepest sustained tracks in BC, called Mount Seven. Along the Eastern edge of Golden, Mount Seven has been around for a number of years, hosting events and video-shoots familiar to the MTB community. To be able and ride, let alone race, down some of these trails was something special. We had four stages to complete this day, and the famous “dead-dog” run, with a slope kicked back to 50 degrees was the crown stage in the middle of the day. The organizer had given competitors a choice to ride the steep run or offer a safer, go-around option. Most of the pro-field accepted the challenge and went for the expert line. This stage was certainly the most exciting and one of the most challenging we faced all week. Once you had passed the steepest section of trail and realized you’ve met your goal of self-preservation, you still had about 2 miles of track to race which was mentally challenging. Once at the bottom safely, riders came through the finish stoked on their accomplishments and set off to finish the day. Day three was a challenge physically and offered a mental test, for those willing to push the boundaries. After the day, I had finished third and moved up to third in the overall classification.   

 

Day three-

 

We had made it past the midpoint of the race and day four was termed a more “mellow” day, by the event organizer. We again rode in Golden, this time at the ski resort in town, Kicking Horse. We went by chairlift to the peak of the resort high in the alpine, then transitioned 40mins across ridgeline to some local gems on the far shoulder of the mountain. The 5,000ft drop back to town was split into 4 stages. Stage three was called “LSD”, and proved to be the trip riders were expecting. A solid mix of steep technical trail, fast singletrack through the rich forest and high speed “moto-like” double track along a cliffside made up the roughly 12min stage. An easy transition on singletrack in the local trail network dumped us to the last stage of the day. It was an interesting result for the day, I had tied my follow Rocky Mountain Bicycles teammate (Remi Gauvin) on almost every stage and we were tied for second after 27 minutes of racing! This helped secure the third overall position, with two race days to go.

 

Day four-

 

Day five, we woke up and drove from Golden to Revelstoke, about a 2hr drive through beautiful Rogers pass. We had five stages in front of us for the day and being the hometown of the event organizer, Megan, it was going to be a big challenge. Hot, dry and dusty conditions greeted us on the trails, but they proved to be as fun as described. The first two stages were fast, not as steep, but fun singletrack through beautiful ferns and spruce trees. We then had a near 2,000ft climb up to the top of stage 3, “Boondocker”. With steeps, jumps and fast technical terrain, this was one of the best stages of the day. It gave us a look at what some of the locals like to ride on a daily basis, which sets the bar pretty high for any of the mountain towns I have been to! Two more stages with the same sort of flavor rounded out the day, and with near 5,600ft of descending and 95degree temps, we were relieved to find a glacier fed river near the feed station at the end of the race. Unfortunately, Remi who had been at the sharp end of the results all week, took a nasty crash on a stage that put him out of the overall chase. We never like to see this as competitors and are glad no serious injury happened from the crash. After 5 stages and 25min of racing, I ended up winning the day and moving into second overall due to Remi’s dnf.

 

Day five/six-

 

The final day of competition was on the resort side of Revelstoke, the ski area known for the most vertical skiing in North America. With only three stages penciled, it was going to offer a manageable length for the last day of the week. Encouragingly, more challenging steep technical terrain greeted us, and anyone who was expecting an easy finish was quickly set straight. All three stages were certainly involved and didn’t let off early to the dismay of a few competitors. A quick taste of a local distilleries cocktail prior to dropping into the final stage of the event, and then a final taste of BC’s steep and gnarly trails down the resort village. The feeling of accomplishment set in for all the competitors who finished the race in one piece, and celebration, bbq, and awards followed at the midway lodge on Revelstoke, backlight by one of the best sunsets, we had seen all week.

 

Once all the racing had wrapped, and after 2hrs, 26min of race time I ended the week finishing in second overall 2min 46sec behind the winner, Jerome Clementz of France. I was super stoked with how the week went and think it was one of the best mountain bike events I have ever been a part of. The trails, organization, length, locations, and people were all top-notch. I would highly recommend this, to folks looking for amazing trails to ride and a good adventure exploring British Columbia.   

 

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