Welcome to TransRockies: population 1100. With 1100 riders and support staff; a mobile shower and kitchen; a fully-equipped trauma hospital and a helicopter landing pad, TransRockies is like a mobile village-cum-army base.
One of the elements which makes the TransRockies Challenge unique is the raw and remote of the country though which the course passes. In many cases, the riders of the TransRockies Challenge will be the only people all year who ride on the trails and roads which make up the route. The flipside of taking the riders into such pristine and spectacular scenery is that the facilities needed to support the riders must be brought event essentially creating a moving village which moves from place to place throughout the event.
When the race headed out of Invermere on Day 2 east into the wilderness of the Rockies, the race caravan packed up and drove to the finish to set up the accommodation, dining, showers, mechanical, medical and administrative facilities that would greet the 600 riders as they emerged from the trails.
The finish line on day 2 was at Nipika Mountain Resort, a family run facility with a world-class trail system, a number of self-contained lodges, a glacier-fed swimming pond and acres of meadows which are used for camping. When the TransRockies village moved in, the meadows were filled with hundreds of tents for riders and volunteers, over 100 RVs of every shape size and description, a similar number of staff and team support cars and pickup trucks, along with mobile shower and kitchen facilities, a fully equipped trauma hospital and a helicopter landing area for the emergency chopper which accompanies the race. (Incidentally, the TransRockies organization buys carbon credits to offset the emissions of the race caravan.)
In order to get to Nipika, this convoy had to travel down busy gravel roads used by logging and mining trucks. Normally the combination of loaded trucks and recreational vehicles on logging roads is a disastrous scenario, but the drivers and managers of CanFor, the forestry company in the area, are very supportive of the event and made special arrangements and efforts to reduce the risk for everyone involved.
One of the changes that the race has made in the last couple of years as registration has grown has been contracting EventCorp, a highly specialized company which supplies industrial level support facilities for the logging, movie and sports businesses. Event Services brings in a mobile shower unit and mobile kitchen which provide all the comforts of civilization regardless of the location. The shower unit is a wonder, with two large boilers and 24 shower stalls, there’s always a hot shower available for the riders to clean up once the ride is done.
Here are a few snapshots from the village. We’ll fill in a few more details of the picture as the race moves along.