Well I am humbled. Having ridden single mountain track in Chamonix, Zermatt, Whistler, Colorado and Mt. Tremblant, I thought that I had encountered tough climbs before, but Fernie has some of the most technical climbs (and descents) that I have encountered anywhere. What differentiates it? Roots. They are everywhere. They almost seem to jump out at you, especially around switchbacks. Anyway, in keeping with TransRockies tradition, today’s stage was a time trail to basically “set the field” for the rest of the week. Everyone was self-seeded in one minute intervals with the pairs departing together. The start was in the middle of the town. I elected to start “mid-field” and moved out well with my I-am-riding-this-for-the-first-time tactic in mind that I was going to “ride” the course and not race it. Once the first rider passed me after 15 minutes along a first climb up a power line however, I had to supress the urge to chase him, and maintained my steady pace. The course quickly changed to an unrelently single-track ascent complete with more switch-backs than L’Alpe d’Huez (which I have also climbed on a road bike – but this was way different). I was off my bike a few times because of the steep and to just to adjust to the altitude (first summit at 1,579m from a start altitude of 1,002m). A very fast, and root covered downhill descent for 2km was followed by another short climb and downhill, before checkpoint #1. Three more climbs and descents each increasing in size followed through to checkpoint #2, finally ending in a winding downhill to the edge of Fernie then to the centre of town for the finish. With all my stops to fix a seat that kept slipping forward and a search for my Garmin that fell off in the downhill (was not successful – fortunately I have my Polar watch as a back-up) my riding time ended up as 3:35 at an average speed of 9.1km/h, with a total time of 4:09 which put me at the back of the +40 category (there is only an Open or +40 category). I asked about a +50 category, but since there are only five other riders over 50, we are all bundled with the group apparently. Oh, today was also my 54th birthday – one that I will remember. On to Day 2!