At 8 am this morning, racers lined up just metres from Kimberley Alpine Resort’s Northstar Express chairlift.
Vital Statistics - Gu Energy Labs Stage 4 at the Kimberley Alpine Resort
Elevation gain: 1,160m
Temperatures were cool, hovering around 6 degrees Celsius and the field had been reduced somewhat as those who competed in the ST3 over the first three stages had wrapped up their race the previous day. At 42km, today’s stage was—and will be—the longest racers will encounter during their time at Singletrack 6 2022, and it all played out on the slopes of the Resort.
When the gun went off, racers made their way toward the Resort’s nordic ski area along paved, winding roads that—as in previous days—served to spread out the field before entering the singletrack. The racer’s time on pavement came abruptly to an end at the “Around the Mountain” trail, which took them—you guessed it—around the mountain in a counter-clockwise direction. At roughly 11km, Around the Mountain climbs gently, then descends, and at the end, racers forked right onto the short but sweet “Tora Bora Ridge” trail.
As racers reached the end of Tora Bora Ridge, they found themselves near the beginning of the stage 3 timed descent “Mr. Toad”. But the Kimberley Alpine resort is teeming with great singletrack, and so just metres past the start of Mr. Toad lay the stage 4 Timed Descent on the one and only “Upper Thunder Turkey”! While not the steepest or most technical trail on the mountain, the intermediate-rated Upper Thunder Turkey is definitely all fun. The first male and female into the descent were Carter Nieuwesteeg of Fernie, BC and Jena Greaser of Fernie, BC.
Once through the Timed Descent, the route wound its way along “Army Road”, “SW Passage”, “Romantic Ridge”, “Magic Line” and others, before turning onto one of, if not, the most difficult descent of the day. A new trail built by Kimblerley Alpine Resort, “Electrify ML3 South Descent” is rocky steep, and in spots very loose. It’s never easy, but after more than 35km of riding, the descent took on a whole new level of difficulty for weary racers.
From the bottom of the descent, it was a relatively straightforward ride back into the finish on short sections of nordic ski trail and the “Happy Hans Loop”, among other trails. Judging by what riders had to say at the finish—and along the route—today was either a love it or a hate it kind of day on the bike!
Across the finish line first for the Open Men today—now for the fourth stage in a row—was Carter Nieuwesteeg, with a time of 2:22:40. And for the fourth stage in a row, the second place finisher was Macky Franklin, with a time of 2:31:11.
For the Open Women, Emily Williams crossed the line first to take her third stage win, with a time of 2:54:37 and Emma Maaranen crossed second, with a time of 2:59:49.
Tomorrow, racers will move on to Rossland, BC for stages 5 and 6. Beginning and finishing in town, stage 5 will be the first where the start line and finish line are in different places. Dubbed the “Mountain BIke Capital of Canada”, Rossland is home to some incredible riding, and will no doubt make for an inspiring end to an already inspiring four days of racing.
What do the racers have to say?
“Today was a good day for me. It was a true blue! I’m from Vernon [BC] so I just really like the flow and just a little bit of rock, not too much rock…I really like these kinds of days and I think I’m getting a little bit stronger as the week goes on.”
“[Stage 4] was lovely. It was long…the best timed descent yet…just nice fast and flowy—the type of riding I like!”