Thule Stage 3 began today in the heart of Kimberley’s unique Platzl—a Bavarian-themed plaza complete with the world’s largest standing cuckoo clock.
Vital Statistics - Thule Stage 3 in Kimberley, BC
Elevation gain: 1,072m
Because it’s a transfer day (from Fernie), riders didn’t take to the start line until 10 am, and as a result, temperatures on the line were a little warmer than they had been for stages 1 and 2. Lying ahead for the racers were 30km of Kimberley’s most exciting singletrack, including a timed descent that would test everyone’s nerves.
Once the gun went off, racers rolled out on a neutral start that took them through the streets of Kimberley and on to the beginning of the “Ski Hill Climb”. And what a climb it was. Combined with “Mussers Plateau”, “Coral Route” and a number of other trails, this would make up a single, nearly continuous climb of roughly 650 vertical metres. And although it wasn’t the only time the terrain would pitched up today, it was by far the longest and most challenging.
All that climbing would be worth it though when racers reached the top and the standout trail of the day, “Mr. Toad.” Mr. Toad is not for the faint of heart. Riddled with rock rolls, ladder bridges and cobbled corners, it’s nothing short of a descender's dream. And with views that extend across the valley, racers would have to be extra focused on keeping their eyes on the trail. Nerves ran high for most as they crossed the threshold of the timed descent, but smiles, stoke and a well-deserved sense of accomplishment ruled at the finish.
No doubt relieved to have made it safely down Mr. Toad, riders were treated to more rolling terrain. The remainder of the route took them through a maze of trails with names like “Skid Road”, “Duck Pond'' and “Connie’s Way”. Then it was back onto the streets of Kimberley—this time with course marshals providing direction in place of a neutral start vehicle. As they crossed the finish line, racers could now bask in the accomplishment having officially finished half of Singletrack 6 2022.
Across the finish line first for the Open Men today—for the third stage in a row—was Carter Nieuwesteeg with a time of 1:49:05. And for the third day in a row, the second place finisher was Macky Franklin with a time of 1:51:23.
For the Open Women, the stage came down to the wire with Emma Maaranen finishing first with a time of 2:18:43 and Emily Williams less than a second behind. The race between these two will definitely be one to watch over the next 3 stages!
At 42km, tomorrow will be the longest stage of the race. We’re back in Kimberley, but this time racers will be starting and finishing from the beautiful Kimberley Alpine Resort. Now that we’re halfway through the race, podium positions for the GC seem to be taking shape. But as we all know, anything can happen in mountain bike racing.
What do the racers have to say?
“It was super technical with a lof shale rock, so you really have to stay focused. It was beautifu and challenging and I really dont think it should have been anything other than what it was. Every time I do this I get better because of those things that are really hard…It’s always fantastic with great people and great support.”
-Dan Lewark, 60+ Men (and 8-time TransRockies racer)
“You had to really be on top of things to ride it clean and protect yourself from flatting but lots of fun technical singletrack throughout the descents, and some of the ups and downs too. A really fun ride today
-Anonymous ST6 racer