Devon resident or local yokel Trish Holt (aka Sherpa Trish) has been prepping for more than a year.
The B.C. Epic 1000 is a 1066km off-road, completely self supported bike "ride/race" across south central B.C,. The plotted route is estimated to be about 80% off-road, utilizing mostly the Trans-Canada Trail and decommissioned railgrades (more commonly known as the Kettle Valley Railway). The course can be ridden in either direction and the rider can chose if they wish to start in Merritt and finish in Fernie or visa-versa. The rest of the route is made up of single track, rough gravel roads and a measly 100km of pavement. There's no aid stations and no broomwagon. The event website is even clear to indicate that its an unofficial event and yet, on June 30th at 7am this will be the "3rd grand start" (B.C Epic 1000 website) of this individual contest.
Sherpa-Trish had her sights set on this event in the 2017 season, but an early non-cycling related ankle fracture forced her to plan for the following year. Not one to let a set-back get her down, she utilized the extra time to put in a full years worth of training and prep for the event. This genre of riding is more affectionately referred to as bike-packing and requires great attention to detail. From a fitness perspective there's a need to be prepared for long days in the saddle, pedaling a bike that is loaded down with gear and riding over terrain that is predominately off-road and subject to unknown conditions and challenges.
The B.C. Epic is aptly named. In it's inaugural year only a handful of participants actually finished (read 7 people) and last year it took most of the participants 4 or 5 days to complete. The current record holder for the women's field is 4 days 1hr and 51 minutes. That means she was riding over 260km/day. Do you think there was much stopping or sleeping? Unlikely. This is a clear example of the physical and mental demand of the event. Even dialing in how to fuel and eat along the way comes down to a science. From getting enough calories, to planning re-supply stops, to being hyper aware of how much your food weighs as an added logistic of being self supported.
In addition to physical and mental preparation, there's also the gear component. Trish's bike of choice for this bike-packing excursion is a aluminum 9.zero.7 fatbike that's been equipped with plus-sized tires. She's modified the cockpit position of the bike to be comfortable for long duration's and equipped it with mounts and frame-bags to carry all her supplies. She's done dozens of smaller test rides and trips to figure out what works best.
These kind of events are certainly not for everyone. A quick look at this years registration list shows approximately 78 people have committed to starting and four are from the Devon/Edmonton area. The whole event concept is rather fascinating and if you're interested about finding out more, head to the website and take a look. https://www.bcepic1000.com/about
In less than two weeks, Sherpa-Trish will pedal her way through 1066km and 11,600m of elevation with a loaded down bike in a week or less. It's been a privilege to witness all the incredible work and focus she's put into preparing for this event. We are all extremely excited for her and cannot wait to cheer her along.