The Trans Rockies Gravel Royale 2022

Inaugural gravel race for the Trans Rockies Series

This is the video and blog recount of our experience in the Trans Rockies Gravel Royale 2022. From August 22 through to August 25 2022. We traversed sections of the rockies from Panorama BC, to Fernie BC riding on some pretty gnarly trails.

This is what it says on their website about the race:

Leave your comfort zone in the dust, and up the ante with us next season!

Life’s too short to add just another gravel race to your calendar. At 4 days, 400km and 7000m in elevation gain, the TransRockies Gravel Royale is truly in a league of its own.

The views are endless, and the hills are teeming with wildlife. It’s an unforgettable journey of adventure, camaraderie and of course, bragging rights! It’s a friendly competition that winds its way through terrain tailor-made for testing limits and leaving racers in awe of their own abilities.

Days are spent with friends, racing past rugged mountain peaks, and over high mountain passes. Evenings are a chance to make new friends, and trade stories with old ones. All while enjoying the unique character of our host communities.

Whether you’re playing for keeps, or just for the fun of it, on an adventure like this, everyone’s a winner!

 Check it out:

At the start line in Panorama Ski area

Day one began with a 26 km "Neutral zone". This allowed us to get spread out and then when the timed section began there was a lot of people spread out over large sections of the course. We began the timed section by taking a little fuel and washroom break and then began the climb to km 47 where the high point of the day would be in Teggart pass. It was a gradual up on the gravel road for the beginning of the ride, and then when we went onto the single track/narrow track path the climb really started. It became very evident very fast that no one would be able to ride this section the whole way. Angie and I began the process of pushing our bikes up to the summit of the pass.

hike a bike

There are some images of that push in the video above. Once we hit the top of the pass the downhill was very fast and began wiuth a Steep descent through some soft dirt to a Forestry Service Road (FSR).

Summit of Teggart Pass

Angie and I decided to walk that steep section, and then begin the FAST descent down to the check point near the end of the descent. We reached the Aid station and got some snacks and I even had a little bit of a near beer! It was great to see the smiling faces of the volunteers and they let us know that we still had 27km of mainly rolling FSR to go. As we began to ride again, we were feeling the effects of spending so much time in the saddle, and thougth we should try to draft from one another to get to Nipika faster. I mistakenly dropped a water bottle, just as we were abnout to catch a fellow competitor. This cost us time, and Angie kept going. I reclaimed the bottle and caught up to her as fast as I could. We then caught up to the rider, and said hi. He was having a hard time, so he just hopped onto our rear wheel. After a short period Angie was starting to lose her speed, so she started to drop back and ourt new friend decided to try to get onto my wheel and aid Angie at the same time. Shortly after that Angie started to fade a bit, so our friend said that we were dropping my partner. We both slowed, and I started to chat with our friend. Turns out he was the sponsor for the brewery that donated the beer to the event, and we heard some great stories about Toolshed beer!

We chatted and got to know each other, and eventuall the three of us finished the leg of the race (we let Tom Taylor go through the finish before us) almost together.

Final climb into Nipika with about 300 meters to go...

Our time was 4:36 which was good enough for 3rd in our category--over 80+ mixed (coed).

Our cozy Cabin--The Cross River Cabin

We had the foresight to rent a cabin with our friends so after we dropped our bikes with the mechanics, grabbed our bags and dropped them at the Cross Cabin trail, we proceeded to the pond to cool our boidies down before we hit the showers. It was a refreshing dip in the pond, and then time to go to the Chill zone to meet some new friends:)


It was great to re-meet a friend from back from my days in Banff, and he was riding solo in the 50-59 Category. I was glad that I was not riding solo, because that was a TOUGH category, and those guys were killing it! We also me some other folks we met from years past and some new people. It was great to hear how people had heard of the race, and how they ended up here.

After a great dinner that evening, and the awards ceremony, the organizers put up a great picture slideshow of the days event, and followed it with a movie of the day that was incredibly entertaining.
Off to bed and rest for day 2...

Getting ready for day 2

Day 2 was a circuit around Nipika resort and  it began with a mass start and a sprint to the natural bridge that has some incredible views. We had already done sections of this ride last year when the race was postponed due to Covid, so we did not need to stop for pictures there 😉

Last years pics from the same spot

We rode fairly fast along the Cross Country Ski trails that Nipika is famous for, and continued over to the Forestry service road that again was a gentle climb to where we would be turning around and through the mountains with a big pass in the middle. The views along this area were slightly fogged out from the smoke that was rising from a smouldering fire on the slope opposite to the road we rode on. I did not see any indication of the  live fire as we rode out, and the smoke disippated pretty quickly in the AM. The first Check point was at km 21, and today we had the fuel and the water to go past this aid station without using any of the offerings. We simply continued to ride the forestry service road towards the top of Mitchell pass.

Riding up to Mitchell pass

On the way up there was a creek crossing and it was ridable, so Angie and I went though fairly quickly. We got to the summit and went into an interesting trail that seemed like the entrance to the rabbit hole in the childrens book "Alice in Wonderland"! On the other side the trail was rough and overgrown, and there were many more water corossings and some off camber riding which was challenging. Angie and I made it through this section, and i picked up some lost bottles for folks ahead to drop them at the aid station ahead. Once we completed this section, we got to a Forestry Service Road, and it was like clay--it had large grooves from a heavy vehicle that went through there while it was wet. Since it was all dry now, as long as you selected the right area (no trough) the speed was like riding on a smooth road. WE tried to make up time...
At km 55 we hit the second aid station and loaded up with some goodies, and prepared for the 20km rolling FSR back to Nipika. Once again we tried to draft with each other, and we started to get the feel for it. One of the keys is to make sure you are wearing sunglasses (eye protection) and you are keeping your mouth shut so that none of the gravel can enter your body.

We rolled back fairly well without incident and were in time for another 3rd in our category. Pretty Consistent.

Angie after the ride--before massage

We again did our dip in the pond, and then a shower and then Angie had a massage lined up.

Our little haven in the rockies

While she was in there, the clouds POURED down on us, and I knoew she had no jacket there, so I put on my rain jacket and ran offver to the massage tent and handed them her jacket for return. My friends said it was very chivilrous, and Angie agreed, thanking me for thinking of her;) I then washed the bikes myself and lubricated them and put them on our deck at the Cross River Cabin.

Dinner, Awards, Photos, and video --Bed.

Bronze medal for Day 2

Rest for the Longest day to come thus far Nipika to Canal flats 107km --Day 3 tomorrow.

Day 3

Today’s route will take us from Nipika to Canal Flats with an extra loop for climbing and descending that was added to make the distance a bit longer. The total distance for this leg of the race was 107 km. The first loop where we did the bulk of our climbing was close to Nipika, and if you recall there was a major downfall or downpour the night before…

Because of the downpour when we turned up to start our climb there was a mudslide that covered the full road for quite a distance. We had to push the bike through the mud and I am sure that some people lost their shoes because the mud was so sticky! This lasted for about 600 m. Once we got past the mud area the views of the river were spectacular! We continue to climb and cross the river and then we started the real climb! At that point this was another hike a bike. We had to push the bike for about 20 to 25 minutes up the hill. At the summit, the fun began. The tracks that were in the mud had been gouged out by a quad or a motorcycle in a previous rainstorm, and it left the trail hard to navigate with multiple people on it. There were a number of crashes ahead of us. One of them was our good friends, and he broke his handlebars off! he had to stop and fix his rear derailer and his handlebar mounts for his brake and gear shifter, so we passed them. The rest of the downhill was tricky and Technical. And once we got to the main road the speeds back towards NIPA Kaur higher again. We were able to start a train of people nine people long, and we had a good peloton!

My only problem was I needed to go to the bathroom. After riding together for about 20 km, I said I needed to use the bathroom… And all seven people from our group continued on. We were never able to catch them again. Lesson learned – make sure you ask everyone if you can do a pitstop!

Angie and I continued alone for the next approximately 50 K. And just before the second checkpoint at 75K, our friend with the broken handlebar and his wife and one other writer came along and suggested that we ride together. Their speed was significantly higher than ours was… So we grabbed on and hung on until the checkpoint. We all stopped there. We got some Coca-Cola to fill our water bottles… In case of a bonk (foreshadowing). We all began together as a group of five, and stayed together until the first big hill. At that point it was evident that my fitness wasn’t as strong as theirs. The three of them broke away after saying goodbye, and Angie and I rode alone again. During that final 20 km of rolling gravel roads, I started to feel like I was about to bunk, so I drank a bunch of my Coca-Cola, and ate a few of my bars… And was able to get back to spinning fairly well. We rode along the river here for quite some time, and the weather was quite beautiful. Once we got to where the gravel pit and gravel road that led into Canal Flats we knew we were about 3 km from the end. The final descent into Canal Flats was a lot of fun, but we also knew that we’d have to ride up that the following morning. We finish the day again in third place for our category, and happy to be done for that day! Our tent was set up, so we dropped off our bikes with the mechanics. Grabbed our luggage and dragged it to a tent. Apparently the field was full of ants… and portions of our bags had some sugar in them, from our sport drink. My helmet also had something in it that the ants really liked. I’ll talk about that more for day four.

Once we were showered, and relaxed, we went to a local coffee shop and grab some great food! I am glad that we did it so quickly, because they closed right at 3 o’clock and there were still a lot of people wanting to get some food from there! At this point we were trying to figure out if it was possible to get a bed-and-breakfast or a hotel room for the night so we started looking around, and found nothing. Dinner was about to be served after some more relaxing so we went into the community centre for that. Unfortunately for Plant based people like ourselves, the only thing offered this Night was two different types of salads. I should’ve done a better job of grabbing some of the food that we had packed to eat, but I guess I was more focussed on the awards, photos and video again. 

After the festivities were done, Angie and I both had massages lined up for 8:30 PM. Post massage we went directly to our tent and went to bed. The one problem was the loud snoring that was on all sides of us, From all the other extremely tired competitors. And Angie kept thinking that it was me, but I let her know that it was not me. Sleep came gradually, and then at 2 am I had to use the bathroom, so I ventured out to find the closest one. As I came towards the lights I saw the mechanics hard at work trying to fix our friends bike, and I think they were up to at least 4am! Wow those guys worked hard. Back in the tent I slept till 6:30 and then we got ready for day 4… the last challenge. 

Day 4

This was the hardest day, and not because it was the longest (it was), but because we were not fueled correctly for it, and we knew it would be a LONG day in the saddle. We started out with the big group of riders in the front/middle of the pack, and continued to climb and get onto the road from yesterday's ride. once on the rolling section, there were some pacelines that were able to get going at a good clip! We did not want to burn too manyu candles, and I remember thinking that over and over in my head. Don't burn too many candles... to the point that I didnt even know what I was thinking! It was weird. we mad the turn to cross the river and begin the long steady climb to the top of the first big pass of the day.  It would be 67 km from the beginning to the top of Blackfoot-Quinn Pass. The Scenery today was amazing as the course took us up past white swan hotsprings, and then past WhiteSwan lake. I was very happy once we past the lake that the couse did not take the right turn to go to "the top of the world provincial park", as I thought the climbing we were doing was hard enough. We continued to climb steadily and we saw some amazing waterfalls and washouts that we had to cross, and most were ridable, but we did make certain that all in our group took time and did not damage either bike nor rider in those crossings.

Once at the top of the pass, the road on the way down was sketchy in points and I was amazed at how well Angie and our new friends rode it. It was like getting "free miles" and we let the bikes run as much as possible in this section. There were many more muddy and creek crossing sections and the road continued down the valley for a long ways untiol we crossed over another river, and then started a climb back up to the final Check point, and the final hard climb of the race.

At the 103km check point we all tried to get as many calories as we could (i filled my empty bottle with Coke so that I would not Bonk again...) and then Angie and I set out alone to ride the last 11km climb together. Angie was not feeling well at this point and she could not get any food down. She was having hard time getting the proper amount of electrolytes in and even Water was a chore for her. As a result she washaving a hard time making good decisions, so We decided to have her just stay on my rear whell as we climbed up. We were doing pretty well, and then with 2.5 km to go we hit a little flat area in the road which was transected by a puddle that could easily have passed for a full size swimming pool in most yards. I thought the correct way to go looked like the left side, so I started over there, and  as I got closer I saw a rock that was directly in the path of our cranks and pedals, and immediately as I passed it I realized that it was not the right way to have Angie go...

Too late

She was following close, and she was already at the rock when I turned to tell her to go the other way, and as she saw the rock, she thought she should just go into the bushes on the left side and gently get off the bike. Well those bushes were not soft, and they pushed her steering whell out fom under her, and she fell the full distance of the height of her bike plus the height of the lip of the pool and into the bottom of the shallow end too. It was enough to hurt anyone that made that fall, and it rocked us both. I ran back to disentangle her clipped in right side to get the bike off her, and help her to sit up. She was crying and in pain. She had road rash on her right arm below the elbow, and something was wrong with her shoulder. She originally thought somehthing was broken, and we took stock of our situation. We had 2.5 km of the climb to go , and then it was 18km down into Fernie and the finish line. What would we do?
just then another competitor came by whom we knew to be a massage therapist, and she mentioned that since her back pack was on and she was not screaming in pain, then likely the bones were not broken. This gave us her confidence to try to stand up and se about walking a bit of the way up the next hill. So we started walking. I was moving both bikes and trying to comfort Angie as we went. then Angie decided to try to get back on the bike. We started, and I got off my bike and pusher her to get her going. Once on the bikes, I started to help her with the punchy sections by pushing her  while I was on the bike. this was working! We got going and I helped her up the punchy sections for all of the remainning 2.5 km to the summit! Once at the end of the timed zone, Angie asked if we could get a ride down through the neutral zone to the medical tent? The volunteer said yes we will make it happen, and we then went to where another volunteer named Scott was at about 250 m down the road. We loaded the bikes in the back o the pick up and started the very rough ride down, with angie holding her arm and trying to keep the bloody portion from touching the inside of the back seat.
While attempting to keep Angies mind off her injuries, we asked about many diofferent things, and one of them was bears. So Scott told us about his run-in with 5 bears, and one of them was a youth Grizzly that would not get off the road we were on, while Scott was marking the course! Well just then a black bear ran onto the road for a bit and then jumped off the road and into the bushes! It wa a perfect sighting for us, as we were in the truck and not near enough to get close to it 🙂
After the rest of the ride down, we got into Fernie proper and it was  suggested that we may want to ride across the finish line to commemorate our epic journey. it did take a bit of convincing, abut with 2 blocks to go , we got out of the back of the pickup, got our bikes and began the ride to the finish line. Crodssing it was a bit of a blur as we were focussed on getting her medical attention, and so we just focussed on that. The paramedic said she would need to have an Xray done and that we would need to get her to wash out the wound on her right arm.
We went from there to our hotel room and then did our best to clean the wound with soap and water and put bandaids on it till we could see the medics at the dinner. We needed some food, so we went to the pub in the hotel, and luckily they had some vegan fare, and we were able to eat a bit before dinner/awards ceremony.

The ceremony was great, and as a result of finishing 3rd run each of the stages, we ended up in 3rd in our category (GC) overall. It was a truly one of the hardest things I have done, and I am very happy to mark it off my dreams list. I am unsure if I will attempt another stage race again.

Also big Props to being able to use my BEMER throughout the race! It helped me to recover, and allowed me to sleep well during the race. Fortunately we did not have any injuries during the race that needed the attention of this wonderful CLASS 2 (meaning it is safe AND it is effective in doing what it claims--to increase microcirculation) medical device, but we certainly used it afterwards to help Angie with her healing process for her shoulder. The BEMER is the only device of its kind and if you want to find out more about it here is a link:  The Volunteers were very cooperative with the transport of the bemer form location to location on the front seat of the transport truck, and I am very grateful to them!

Thank you for checking this out, and if you want to connect, try emailing me directly :



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