Rossland and the West Kootenay will host the SingleTrack 6 cross-country mountain bike race July 29 to Aug. 3. John Gibson photo

Rossland to host epic mountain bike race

Singletrack 6 rides into Rossland for three stages of a six-day cross-country mountain bike race.

A cross-country mountain bike race that showcases the best riding in mountain biking communities in Western Canada is coming to Rossland and the West Kootenay next month.

Singletrack Six is an annual six-stage race with a new route every year. It started as an event called the Trans Rockies Challenge, which ran from 2002 to 2013, with a route from Fernie to Canmore.

“It was quite a tough race, with a lot of backcountry, and super long days, and we decided to try something a little bit different with Singletrack Six,” explains Aaron McConnell, president of the Trans Rockies Race Series. “We wanted to change up the format and really highlight the communities that support mountain biking and the trail networks that have been developed in different communities.”

This year Singletrack Six will take place between July 29 and Aug. 3, with the first three stages bringing riders to Rossland.

McConnell says that when it comes to selecting the stages, it’s about how much riding they can find in each community that would be interesting to Singletrack Six participants.

“And Rossland’s actually the first community that’s been able to host a full three stages,” he says.

The stages are expected to take between three and five hours for most riders, with leaders taking about two hours and the back of the pack taking closer to seven.

Stage one is “Rossland South.” It begins at Queen Street on Columbia Avenue, taking riders on some of Rossland’s southern trails, and ends near the Rossland Advanced Mountain Bike Skills Park. The total distance is approximately 40.3 kilometers with about 1,844 meters of climbing.

Stage two, “Rossland Mountain and Rossland North,” starts and ends at Red Mountain Resort and takes riders onto some of the trails north of the city. The total distance is about 30.6 km with 1,785 m of climbing.

The final Rossland stage is “Seven Summits” and for any mountain bikers who haven’t previously had the chance, this will be their introduction to one of Rossland’s most famous trails. The route starts at the north end of the trail and ends on Dewdney Trail for an approximate total distance of 35.2 km and 1,477 of climbing.

For stage four, riders are off to Taghum to access the Smallwood trail network from Sproule Creek Road. They’ll travel 45.1 km and climb 2,076 m.

Next, it’s off to Kaslo with a start and end point not far from downtown, on the shores of Kootenay Lake. Riders will cover 40.1 km and climb 2,066 m.

And finally, stage six brings the riders to Nelson’s Railtown. They’ll cover 41.4 km and climb 1,886 m on trails southwest of the city before finishing in Rosemont.

Overall awards for the three-stage event (ST3) will be awarded at the end of the third day, and overall awards for the six-stage event (ST6) will be awarded at the very end. Overall rankings are determined by a solo rider’s cumulative times, while a team’s overall ranking is based on the cumulative time of the last rider from each team to cross the finish line on any given stage.

Participants from Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates have registered.

To register or to volunteer, visit singletrack6.com.

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