Terminal Fitness

10:55pm - The phone rings. It's Ken. We decide on "Terminal Fitness" as our team name, we discuss the registration specifics (i.e. which package, whether we need an extra tent or not, official souveniers), and we open our web browsers and begin mashing the F5 key.

11:01pm - The registration link becomes active. The sounds of each of us furiously typing away can be heard echoing through the phonelines until I reach the payment section, complete the credit card info, and hit "Submit". We're in. I'm team leader.

11:04pm - Ken backs through the process and changes his entry to that of "Team Member" and I walk him through the remaining steps. You can sense the excitement in our voices. I begin to feel nauseus.

11:08pm - I receive the confirmation email and print it out. I've since hung up with Ken, thanking him again for asking me to be his teammate on the incredible challenge that awaits. I tell him that I'd rather he email the BBTC listserve about our plans, as I frankly haven't the foggiest idea what to say.

11:10pm - I go into the bedroom, wake up my dozing wife and tell her the good news. We're in. She's happy for me and tells me she knows I can do this, and I shouldn't worry. She must see the fright on my face. Even half asleep she knows exactly what to say.

11:20pm - Back at the computer, I begin this blog post. Not knowing what to write, I decide on a play-by-play of the past 20 minutes. And here I am, having written a lot but saying nothing. Time to spill the beans.

I know after I finished Mountains to Sound I said I was through with racing. Well, I guess you really shouldn't ever say never. Here you go, straight from the event's website...

The TransRockies Challenge is an epic mountain bike race through the heart of the wild and rugged Canadian Rocky Mountains. Held for the first time in 2002, the TransRockies has proven to be an adventure and experience like no other.

In its short history, the TransRockies Challenge has quickly earned the reputation as being the toughest and most rugged of the epic endurance mountain bike races. Hundreds of competitors from all over the World -- Olympians to amateurs -- come every year to spend seven days deep in the Canadian Rockies taking on the trails, the elements and themselves. It is truly the Challenge of a Lifetime.

Several key elements including format, terrain, organization, and riding go into making the TransRockies Challenge a unique test with a singular reward for finishing.

The two-person team format, though driven by the added safety element in the backcountry, adds an element of camaraderie and bonding not seen in solo races. When combined with the remoteness of the surroundings and the moving athlete village it means that that riders, staff and volunteers spend a full week immersed in a tight, multi-national community. During the week, they face challenges together, forging friendships and memories which will last a lifetime.

Though the race is held in early August--the height of Canadian summer--competitors face everything aspect of high mountain weather from heat in the 100s to snow, hail and driving rain. With an emphasis on quality organization and seamless operation, the TransRockies Challenge allows participants to focus on the experience and overcoming the challenges. In fact, an overall satisfaction rating of 96% was recorded in 2006 participant surveys.

Then, of course, there’s the riding. The Canadian Rocky Mountains are one of the birthplaces of the sport of mountain biking and they still have a unique combination of challenging singletrack, epic climbs and raw beauty. Though other events may win the statistical battle to be longer, or have more vertical metres climbed, the TransRockies is the true mountain bikers’ epic choice.

The 2007 Edition will take place from August 12-18.Registration opens every year on November 1st, and the 275 available team spots are expected to sell out quickly.

In short, it's a 7-day mountain bike stage race that criss-crosses the Continental Divide in the Canadian Rockies. The race covers roughly 350 miles and contains over 37,000 feet of elevation gain. Teams of two riders work together to navigate the course and overcome the elements while never straying more than 2 minutes apart. Amateur riders like myself typically spend between 7 and 11 hours a day on the bike, each day.

To put it lightly, it's not something one can do without spending the majority of the year preparing for it. It will be a huge undertaking both in tems of time spent training as well as monetarily for the expense of the event, the travel to and from Fernie, British Columbia, and all of the gear and clothing we'll need. The good news is that I have a bike that is essentially perfect for this type of event and the even better news is that I don't have to begin training in earnest until early 2007. In the meantime I can continue to ride as normal, enjoy myself, and not worry about a specific training regimen for a couple months. Also, I should add that Ken and I may not have the most in common, but we have ridden together a number of times and get a long very well. I wouldn't sign on for a team-based event such as this with someone I didn't believe would be supportive and take the event as seriously as it needs to be. We're going to be fine. I hope.

For more information, check out http://www.transrockies.com.


Ash Scott said...

Great to read that someone else went through similar to me today. See my blog http://transrockies2007.spaces.live.com.

I'm really looking forward to the event. Unlike you I still need a partner. Hope to see you there. Ash.

Anonymous said...

Kudo's to you and Ken for getting in. That is one tough race, but an experience of a life time!!

Criscipline said...

I'm really happy you're doing this and I feel nothing but excitement because I know you'll have a great time and be just fine! This is worth going back on your word about not racing anymore.

Doug Walsh said...

Thanks everyone! I'm sure you'll be hearing an awful lot about training for this race on the blog in the coming months. I'm going back through my old training notes for when I was prepping for that off-road IM I was supposed to do. Trying to get the mojo back.