August 12th - 18th, 2007
THE WALL starts in Panorama, B.C. Canada
SEVEN DAYS - 360 MILES - 36,000 ft of CLIMBING
plus lots of crazy, fun mountain bike racers

Thursday, August 30, 2007


I wish I had another week to recover because I'd really like to race the Shenandoah Mountain 100. However, neither my bike nor I are ready for another race, even though I feel like we'd both be ready next week - maybe next year.
Let's cover Stage 6: 116km with almost 7,000ft of climbing - this wasn't the day to have mechanical issues but, I did manage to pull it off. First, after rolling through what I call root-drop-holes, my seat tilted skyward. I had to stop and fix it twice. And then on one of many steep rocky descents, I managed to bubble, a six inch bubble right down the middle of the tire, my Specialized Fast Trak tubeless tire. A very, very nice lady who was watching the race allowed me to use a tire off her bike, which was on the car's bike rack - lucky for me.
The day consisted of a 23km climb, a 6km steep and rocky descent, 20km rolling descent, 11km paved road, 11km=2100ft climb, 9km rocky & bushy descent, and then a run-around-town detour. We missed the cutoff time by 15 minutes and had our time changed from 8:15hr to 10:00 plus, an 1 hr plenty... I was not a happy camper and might have killed someone if given a little probable cause. I was definitely insane at the end off that stage.
Karen went and brought Peter and I the biggest burgers and fries she could find. That really was a great decision and my mood changed quickly.
Stage 7: 48km and fast rolling hills: Let's just say we finished in 2:35 and I'm not sure what time they published but, I can read a clock still. I think everyone was ready for it to be over however, I'd preferred some of stage 6's 116km have been put on stage 7. Stage 7 didn't take much out of us and stage 6 just wasted both us.
The End of another TransRockies Challenge 2007... I hope you enjoyed and I apologize for typos.
Pray for our troop to get their butts home safely. Ciao, V.B.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Now, there are photos for the 2007 event on the website.

I'm in one of the village shots, standing in bath line, outside a big trainer looking thing - red vest.

Ciao, V.B.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I'll review Stage 3: this stage is all off-road, which is a good thing and it's 90km long with 4566ft of climbing. Well, they get us wet early in the morning crossing a river system. We climb over the first mtn and into ATV single track through Miller pass - in deep back country - steep. Then we drop downhill for about 3000ft for another steep climb. We end with a 18km single track ride on the cliffs above the Kootenay River. It's the first of four long days and is taken in stride. By now we're getting a little use to the nasty stuff so, nothing really stuck out in my mind on this review.
I have more time so, here is the review of Stage 4: 113km long, with 4000ft of climbing. This stage starts out very fast on FSR (forrest service road) and was very dusty as are most rides on these types of roads. They really haven't had much rain in this area. There were a lot of creek crossings on this stage - probably more than on any other stage. We had a control station (check point) at an "outfitter's house" which was about as photogenic as the Kootenay Mountains get - very beautiful (two homes) views with two more creeks to cross...
There were lots of single track and FSR riding. My butt was really killing me on this stage - raw by now and nothing working. After the race I went by the medical tent and retrieved some of their magical butt butter - it has one of those caines in it.
Stage 5: 93km with 4600ft of climbing. We start with a quick FSR run and then another steep climb where we cross more creeks and debris torrents - from logging. We had a 24km run where a registered trapper allowed us to cross his land. So here comes another description from the race book - "note the dangerous rock garden just over the pass that has been the site of injuries in the previous years". A Velonews reporter rode this stage and there are photos of this garden - it looks a lot steeper in real life - we walked some and road where any dirt presented itself. The article is on Velonews under TransRockies. Peter crashed further down and was not hurt badly but, that was one crazy drop. I think this stage took the most out of me psychologically. I just remember being mentally exhausted at the end. At this point, I hadn't read the book for the next day and thought it was about 1/2 the actual length - imagine my surprise. We usually read the race book late in the day after recovering a bit and then started making preparations accordingly. I'm riding double shorts by now and it really made a difference with regard to comfort.
Take care and please continue praying for our troops, Ciao, V.B.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I'll cover Stage 2 - but, first let me say that in order to do well in a race like this, I've come to the following conclusions: (1) you probably need to live in the region because, (2) train like you want to race because you'll surely race like you trained, (3) if you have any health, physical and/or mechanical issues, you're screwed.

Stage 2 had the follow description for part of the stage and it pretty much described the craziness of the race - I went over the handlebars in this section and so did the guy in front of me - "hazardous downhill section, very primitive trail, perhaps only 50% or less rideable. Use caution."

I cannot begin to describe how horrible this section turned out to be but, I'll say that they only used the word "primitive" once but, there were more sections that fit the description. This section was only 5km and felt like 20km. It was full of downed trees, big,big roots & rocks everywhere, steep drops usually into a creek with a steep climb on the other side and/or a mud pit. This section was much more like an adventure race than a mtn bike race - we just happen to be carrying mtn bikes instead of backpacks.

Altitude uphill 4000 ft., Distance 60km. There was one climb to almost 6000ft in altitude.

Please pray for our troops, we lost 15 great men today, Ciao, V.B.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Let me correct something from the last post - the next day of racing was the longest and proved to be a true challenge. I hadn't looked at the course book until after I posted the last message so, to my surprise, the next leg - day 6 presented 116km of challenging mountain trails. Peter had developed chest congestion (from dust) and went on the antibiotics I brought. Needless to say, he wasn't feeling well on the longest day. I had two bike problems on this day, one with my seat falling backwards (hits deep holes) and a bubbled tire that obviously got a little over heated on the down hills (sometime sliding in every directions). We survived the day but missing the cutoff time limit by 15 minutes (8hrs 15mins)and received an 60 minute penalty - like we needed one. We bounced back on the last day which was a very fast 48km to the finish. We finished 9th in the 100+ age group the last day (not overall).
The TransRockies website has the results of every stage. We tried to change our team name to VB MAFIA but, 9 months ago they wanted a name that stuck, WHYNOT, and that's where you'll find our times - 100+ WHYNOT.
Once on the website, go to Transrockies Challenge 2007, where you'll see the day to day coverage. I think I read that there were 25 different country represented. I couldn't believe how international the racers were and how very fit 95% of them were - making me feel somewhat, maybe a little under-trained if you can believe it.
Now, I plan on covering each day with a little of the reality of this event, seeing as how the TRC coverage DOES NOT disclose the real picture. I'll do this a little at a time because it'll require some writing.
Stage 1 - 33km - short but, a huge hike-a-bike straight up a mountain. No one trains hiking straight up a mtn with a mtn-bike, unless you live in B.C. Canada and then only "maybe" train it. Both Peter and I got blisters from the hike (requiring nursing all week) and it was all I could do to get to the top. I was sunburned on the face where I failed to put block. I thought we'd be racing in places like where Peter and I have pre-rode the the days before - with trees and stuff. After getting over the top the downhill started with 32 switch-backs. Apparently after talking with many of the injured, this is where most of the big injuries occurred. Peter managed to almost break a leg and a jewel on this side of the mtn. He was icing that leg for the remaining days. We have pictures of his legs coming...
Continue praying for our troops, and I'll pick up here tomorrow, ciao, VB

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I've got just a couple of minutes after 5 days of racing. I wanted to tell all about the things I could NOT have imagined.

1 - B.C. Canada is very beautiful and very wild. A woman was killed a couple of days before the start of the race in Panorama by a bear. Peter and I rode the day before the race on Panorama trails and also saw a bear - we turned around immediately.

2- I feel like I'm at the Olympics - the people are truly international and we've met people from all over the world.

3- the people here are extremely friendly and glad to have the bike race and racers around.

4- Peter and I could NOT have done this without Mimi and Karen supporting us. We're pretty much good for nothing after racing.


Well, that is it for now but, I'll have plenty to tell when I return. The three longest days are over with two days remaining (60km and 30km days). My butt truly hurts but, they have the TRC butt butter that does help get you on the bike the next day.

Pray for our troop, forever on my mind - ciao, VB

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Day 4

Blair and Peter have many bruises, scrapes, and worst of all blisters on their feet from lots of "hike a bike". But spirits and energy are holding up. We're all still friends!!!

The country is rugged and the Kootneay River is a beautiful turquoise color, breathtaking, as well as the snow covered mountains.

The bike crowd is very international..Not many Americans. We've met people from Scotland, Germany, Austria, Costa Rica, AItaly, England, South Africa, and France.

There have been no RV hookups, water or stores where we camp, so it's very primitive. Every 2 days or so we move on to the next site and are able to "dump" our wastes, get more water, gas and ice and survive the elements.

Karen and I were able to get a shower at one of the natural Hotsprings en route . The guys shower in a mobile water truck unit provided at the campsite.

We've been eating gourmet, with efforts from both Karen and I: Salmon, chicken marsala, burgers, shrimp and past, etc. The word is the food is really bad that is provided for the racers. They are jealous of our good food!

Well, that's all for now. The guys remain in the top 10 in their age group. Their ride time was around 6 hrs. yesterday, and will be even longer today and tomorrow. Can you believe they love this stuff? You've got to to do it!

Ciao and love to all that read this and support us!