A pair of Williams Lake mountain bikers placed second in the Team 100-plus Open category at the Singletrack 6 event which took place July 26-31.
The six day mountain bike race featured six stages throughout various communities in the Rocky Mountains beginning in Canmore and ending in Revelstoke.
The duo finished the event in a combined time of 21:02:42 to finish runners up, 32:22 behind the winners.
Around 375 men and women from around the globe took part in the world renowned event.
“This is definitely a bucket list, feather in your cap type of ride. There were people from all over the world who come to Canada specifically for this race — we met a woman from Tokyo, Japan who came all the way there specifically for this event,” said Gordon.
The event was formerly known as the TransRockies Race which featured a format where cyclists had to ride to checkpoints along the Highway each day so you would go point A to point B.
Riders complained there was too much road riding and the logistics was a nightmare so they changed to the current format which includes almost entirely single track racing and a circuit around various locations.
“The new format organizers hand picked communities and then planned a loop through each community. Riders then get in their car and drive to the next stage location and book their own hotel,” said Gordon.
Riders can purchase a package which includes everything from registration to hotels to transportation but Gordon and McMahen elected to take care of their own lodging and transportation.
The race kicked off with stage one, a 40-kilometre trek with an 1,800 meter elevation gain through Bragg Creek near Canmore, Alta. on July 25. After finishing second after the initial stage it changed Gordon and McMahen’s approach to the race.
“Ivor and I went in to stage one thinking we’ll go hard today and see how we are on the leader board. If we’re near the top we’ll keep riding hard and if we’re down lower around fifth or sixth we’ll take it easier and enjoy the scenery more,” said Gordon.
The pair found themselves in second place in their category and decided they would go hard the rest of the way.
Both Gordon and McMahen’s favourite ride was stage two at Nipika Mountain Resort.
“This was our favourite day of the race but it was also the most taxing. It was a lot of single track and it was hell,” said Gordon.
Stage three took place at Radium Hot Springs and stages four and five took place near Golden. The race ended in Revelstoke for stage six, and the lakecity pair actually had a chance to overtake the lead group after they got a flat tire early in the race.
“The team that was ahead of us got a flat tire so we passed them on the final stage and we had hopes that if this flat tire really causes things to go sideways for them we might be able to make up the half hour or so we were behind them,” said Gordon.
McMahen and Gordon led for much of the final stage but were passed by a Quebec pair that had finished right behind them in third spot the previous five stages.
“The last five kilometres in Revelstoke are pavement and the Quebec guys bikes were better suited than ours and they passed us and beat us by only 18 seconds,” said Gordon.
Gordon and McMahen were baffled by an unsporting move their French competitors pulled off late in the race.
“We were riding downhill and we’d already told them we were going to concede the stage to them but around this sharp 90 degree corner they blatantly cut us off and forced us to hammer on the brakes and come to a complete stop.
“They then took off sprinting for the finish,” said Gordon. “We had been friendly with them the entire race but we asked them what that stunt was all about after the race.”
The previous lead group recovered from their flat tire to finish eight minutes behind the leaders, who comfortably won the overall title.
“It was an incredible experience and there was some incredible scenery. It was so beautiful there were times you want to stop and take a photo but you can’t because you’re racing,” said Gordon.
About five years ago Gordon and McMahen competed in a similar multi-day enduro race called the B.C. Bike Race which took them from North Vancouver, up Vancouver Island, along the Sunshine Coast, and then through Squamish and Whistler. Gordon now has his sights set on an event in Breckenridge, Colorado called the Breck-Epic which runs every August.
“I’d like to one of these types of races once every year or every second year,” said Gordon.