Presented by 3T
Location – Kelowna and Crawford Trails
Distance – 44 km
Vertical – 1081 m
Results of the fourth stage

Our trip to the mountains yesterday from Penticton to Kelowna set us up for another amazing tour today, around and on the Crawford Trails. Once again, we come back to the BCBR Gravel Explorer manifesto “wherever a gravel bike can go”!

“Everyone is going to feel some discomfort and find a place to challenge themselves, absolutely fantastic, the variety is good – go for it” !!
Tristen Chernove – Paralympian – 13 rainbow jerseys and 4 Olympic medals

Today’s route started at the local Mission Creek Biking Skills Park and slowly meandered through the orchards and vineyards of east Kelowna, towards the massive hills of the Crawford Trails. As the dark black sidewalk soared, covered in the most contrasting yellow hues of fall, runners found their way to the top of the course and from there the fun began.

Crawford Trails have a bit of it all, and the course, designed by local gravel runner, Trent Marshall, included that “a bit of everything” formula. As the riders began the first descent through small pines and magnificent ponderosas, the trails were as varied as the flora; from smooth and fluid, to bumpy and rough and everything in between. Small, exhausting climbs were punctuated with long, rapid descents, giving all runners the chance to fly along corridors of yellow aspen and dense evergreen forests that are still green. The final descent on a spectacular double track named Pink Hwy and including parts of the Lost Lake trail totaled 6.5 miles of face chipping speed!

The guns fired predictably as the slope increased and just before the peloton moved from pavement to gravel, Alexander Fraser-Mauran (Red Truck Racing, Mosaic Homes) took off forward in an effort to reduce Cory Wallace ‘(Kona Endurance Team) is leading and maybe creating a gap he could keep in the singletrack. It was short lived as Cory closed it just above and long before things got hectic.

The chase was on, once again Karsten Madsen (Clif Bar, Oakley, Enve, Ryzon) was on the back foot and chasing hard, but his methodical approach to all things sporting ensures consistent precision and patience. While he finished the day in second position and consolidated that step on the podium, barring any incidents on the last day, he will come away with a lot of experience to add to an already full arsenal, let’s keep an eye on this guy over the next few years.

The women’s race was turned upside down and upside down today as Sammi Runnels (CNCPT Team) suffered a mechanic and lost the lead in the overall standings. Amity Rockwell (Easton Cycling) who loves the rush technique, doing what she loves the most. Sammi Runnels (CNCPT Team) is now 1 minute and 19 seconds from the lead that she has so patiently spent 3 days building herself, and the coveted green leader’s jersey is still up for grabs.

“So amazing to be back in our local and national cycling community. Everyone is here for their own reasons, but we come together as a big group, do it together as a big group, it is long overdue ”.
Tristen Chernove – Paralympian – 13 rainbow jerseys and 4 Olympic medals

Further in the men’s peloton, Lucas Strain (CNCPT team) had a great day on the bike and embraced the variety available to him. He has now made his way to third overall with Alexander Fraser-Maraun (Red Truck Racing, Mosaic Homes) dropping to 4th place. With 1 day of racing remaining, there isn’t much time left to finalize a medal position.

In the 30+ women, Holly Shellenberg has been strong all week and appears to have a lock on the leader’s jersey, as Jesse Scholtes in the 30+ men is apparently poised to take home honors. It’s great to see these athletes take on the challenges of the very first BCBR Gravel Explorer.

There is a strong field of over 60 men here and it is owned by a young man named Mark Bennett who loves the fit of his green jersey and apparently wants to keep them all. On the women’s side, Heide Saunders is 60, but because none of her peers wanted to participate, so she was forced to play in a lower category, she is currently 3rd overall for women 50+!

Paul Moffat runs away with the 40+ men category, obviously he has his work cut out for him in all departments, but the peloton behind does not give up and is rather stacked! I’m not sure they’re that focused on racing or just – having a good time on these amazing tracks – we see a lot of high fives, friends helping friends and other processes going on.

RJ Sauer rides his bike all week, went to town to run and / or ride, then cycled back to camp, over and over again. I think at the end of the day like Tristan said “it’s high time” that we get together and do what we all love, ride bikes together!

“You see that smile, you see this (gestures to his face), another beautiful day !!”
Charles Creighton – a newcomer to the race – love it!

Photo credit: Chris Stenberg

Key details

  • Everyone will find some discomfort and find a place to push themselves
  • Holly Shellenberg has been riding hard all week and appears to have a lock on the leaders’ jersey
  • Paul Moffat fled with the 40+ men category
  • Amazing to be back in our local and national cycling community.
  • It’s great to see these athletes take on the challenges of the very first BCBR Gravel Explorer

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