2018 Trans BC

Scott Countryman’s 2018 Trans BC Diary

Day one – Rossland
Today turned out to be a repeat from the last time I did the Trans BC two years ago. I wanted to go all in since I had some familiarity with the trail, but know I need to play the long game if I want to win the race. So I turned it back a touch and got through today clean. The trails were quite the variety; first was a long rugged raw hiking trail, the second was a short loaner, third was fast and flowy, fourth was a super steep DH track, and the fifth was a blue-bike-parky-flow-jump trail. All in all nothing too crazy or technical but all very fun. Stoked to end the day in second. If I can stay clean and mechanical free for the rest of the race I’ll be sitting pretty.

Day two – Rossland
It rained a lot this morning which really set the tone. It was dark wet and drizzly for most of the day, which I was actually excited about. When I think of riding in BC, that is what I think of. Hero dirt, dripping wet trees, slippery roots and foggy goggles. And that is what we got. The trails we raced were also absolutely top notch. At the finish of every stage, I was literally saying to myself “holy shit that was amazing!” Unfortunately, I blew up my rear wheel on the drop in of stage four. I stopped, put a tube in (because it wouldn’t seal anymore) and finished the stage but lost enormous time. Then on the fifth and final stage, the rim gave out completely and the tire blew off. My only option from there was to finish on the rim. I’m super bummed to be out of the race but that won’t keep me from continuing to have an incredible time here.

Day three – Castlegar
All new zone for day three in Castlegar. Two giant stages and two short stages were on the menu with only one transfer climb. The two big stages both descended almost 3000ft in just a few miles and did not skimp on the tech and gnar. That one climb was about 3000ft. Now out of race contention, I had a hard time getting myself stoked to really give’r on the first stage still I cruised and had fun. After that I was able to muster some harder efforts and rounded out the day in sixth which also took me from 44th place to 30th. I’ll just keep chugging along doing the best I can and see what happens.

Day four – Kokanee
The word of the day is Jank: a descriptor for a trail that has awkward features which require excessive effort and make it difficult to find flow. That is how I would describe most of the trails we rode today. The first two trails had more jank that the other two; lots of flat rocky section that you had to smash and pump through, making you feel like a squid on the bike. All the energy I was expending seemed like it was in vain as I bounced through the rock seemingly hitting every square edge. Fortunately, I got some of my stoke back and was able to get into the racing mindset right away. If I had tried to cruise through the jank, I would have been much worse off. The second two stages were much less awkward and had a lot of cool rock slab features. The course marshals warned us things could get really bad if we came in with too much speed so I played it on the safe side and got through them clean. Rounding out the day fifth I moved up to 25th overall.

Day five – East Shore
Day five took us to a small town that hardly gets any attention for riding and only had a handful of locals that mountain bike. But those few riders (who are in their 60s) love to build insanely steep and raw trails. The first two stages, which could have been linked together as one, descended over 4000ft in less than three miles! I’ve ridden trails with lots of steeps before but nothing that was sustained like this. Brakes were put to the test. Rear tires were dragged to their death. And it was the most blissful racing of the week so far! But the transfers were maybe the most grueling. Not because they were especially steep or long but because they were completely exposed, the temps reached into the 90’s, and the humidity was high. One more day to go and I am actually starting to feel better on the bike; legs, arms, and hands are coming around nicely. Fourth on the day and now 20th overall.

Day six – Nelson
It was hard realizing today was the last day of the race; I really wanted to keep racing a few more days. Again, the fitness and strength felt great so I kept doing my thing. The trails were all on point with all the tech, gnar, and flow I could ask for. Lots of amazing views. Pretty much the best way to end the week; riding heavenly trails with some of the most rad people on mountain bikes. Finished the day fourth and ended the week 17th overall. Not bad after my 64th on Day two.

Looking back on the even as a whole, I am happy with how things went. Obviously, the mechanical issue is a big bummer and it is hard not to wonder how things would have ended up otherwise. But compared to when I did this race two years ago I felt much better. My legs were able to pedal most of the climbs instead of walking. My upper body strength has massively improved allowing me to ride aggressively all week and not become a passenger. Looking at the positives and negatives, there really are not many negatives. Actually, there was only the one negative so I’ll count this as a win in my book. Maybe next year I can count it as a win in everyone’s book!

Photos: Noah Wetzel