The Triple Crown is a piece of NRG and Nelson cycling tradition. The route has been close to the same since its conception, until this year. Some less than friendly bear encounters in the zone for stage 1 prompted a last minute route change. Everyone who has done the Triple Crown in the past knows that it’s not a mellow ride in the park on your cruiser bike, so a route change was well-received. Will it be easier? Harder? More funner? Everyone had their preconceived expectations about how the day would go. Whether their expectations were met, or completely blown out of the water, everyone left with memories that will outlast the smiles on their faces. Here’s our take on the day:
2015 Triple Crown Stats:
– 66 people started and 64 finished. 97% finishing rate, a new Triple Crown record!
– 48kms total distance
– 2,400m of climbing
– 9 stamps to collect
– 6 cards to draw for the poker ride hand
– Best poker hand: a full house… two 10’s and 3 aces went to Bruce Gardave.
– Heaviest bike ridden: 42lbs.
Huge thanks to Oso Negro Coffee, Nelson Brewing Company, Nelson Safeway, and all the volunteers who made this event possible!
The crowds started forming by 6:30am to register, long before the sun showed itself in the cloudless sky. Temperatures were the coldest we had seen yet this fall so the warm fire and fresh Oso Negro coffee was well received! Nerves and excitement were at an all time high.
Oso Negro coffee, roasted right next door to NRG’s headquarters, is a key component to the Triple Crown’s success. The early morning start is much easier with some good black gold in your mug!
Fire always brings people together… especially with it’s 1°c out.
Another Triple Crown tradition is an award to the heaviest bike ridden that day. Gone are the days of 45lbs Kona Stinkys, but one rider’s bike tipped the scales at 42lbs! He made it up the entire 2,400 meters of climbing, and was rewarded with a plush ride on the descent.
Let’s see you try to ride this for 48kms. Props.
There is always a solid contingency of women that come out to suffer with the boys, and often putting the men in their place! These ladies are from the latter group.
The coolest mother/daughter combo out there.
“And then I got this much air!”
The riders meeting prepped everyone for the new course changes and raised the stoke-level even higher.
66 smiling faces, 132 thumbs up.
After the riders meeting, everyone slammed their coffees and hopped on their bikes. First stop was up to the Mountain Station trails above town.
This early morning grind had nothing to do with coffee beans. After the first and major climb, the riders re-grouped at the first Triple Crown stamp: top of The Vein. A classic Nelson trail starting with tech XC, and ending in gnarly but flowy steeps. Funny how no one stopped to take pictures on the climb…
After finishing The Vein, collecting the second stamp and high 5’ing everyone around, riders made their way towards Svoboda riding area to the East of town. The third stamp was located on a mandatory non-shortcut where riders found a short climb and wicked descent. Anything to stay on the singletrack all day! This was a big perk of the new route, less road and more trail. The aid station crew and sunshine was waiting for riders as they came through and drew their first two poker cards.
The Crown itself was on display providing some encouragement to push through and finish the day. Everyone who completes the event gets their name on the crown and is forever part of the tradition.
Riders heading off to start the grind up to stage 2 after indulging on fruit, candy, doughnuts, cheesies, and more. Junk food and that instant sugar fix is a must!
The second stage was the most controversial of the new route. This trail, Una Canuma, was a new addition to the Triple Crown and consists of punchy climbs, high speed middle-ring trail, and a flowy descent that will make anyone feel like a pro. Some loved it, some loathed it. After adding another stamp to their cards, riders re-grouped and dropped into the loamy forest.
The end of the second stage brought riders back to the aid station to draw 2 more cards and re-fuel.
Between trying to keep up with the rider in front and having way too much fun, stage 3 was photo-less. It brought riders up a similar climb to stage 2, but dropped into another classic Nelson trail, the Paper Bag. This has always been the final stage to the Triple Crown and did not disappoint. A combination of rock slabs, surfy steeps, and punchy mini-climbs makes this trail a perfect finale for the event. After collecting the final stamp at the bottom, riders made their way back along the rail trail to the aid station and drew their final two cards.
The completed stamp card serves as proof of a successful Triple Crown and simply a damn good day riding bicycles.
After a short pedal back to the NRG headquarters, riders were met with this appy spread..
…as well as this important recovery drink. Huge thanks to Nelson Brewing Company for providing the delicious beverages. These guys know how to brew quality beers!
It’s not a Triple Crown without the smell of BBQ in the air. Everyone was more than happy to help devour these burgers.
“Do you want one with cheese, or one with cheese?”
The late September sun was more than welcome and a perfect setting to reflect on the day.
Big smiles from everyone and many familiar faces. Another successful day to say the least.
Not-so-avid poker players discussing the winning card hand.
After everyone was fed and sore muscles were beginning to relax, Mike got down to business with awards and thank yous.
Bruce Gardave with the best poker hand and his earnings. Chromag BZA handlebar and some 7iDP protection gear!
After the keg was emptied and most went home, a few stragglers were left to watch the fire burn out. Those who stayed were rewarded with a view of the “supermoon eclipse” where the moon is at its largest of the year and eclipsed. A sight only seen every 30 years.
Another successful Triple Crown with prefect weather, epic trails, lots of smiles and plenty of good times. If you have not experienced this yet, it’s worth making a trip for. Keep the end of September open on your calendars for 2016 because this is a day on bicycles that will not disappoint!
For all of you who participated, your 2015 Triple Crown shirt is at the NRG office. Please contact us if you need it sent out and have not heard from us yet.
Big thank you again to all who helped out. Oso Negro, Nelson Brewing Company, Nelson Safeway, and all the volunteers who made this event flow seamlessly!
photos– Sean Cameron, Richard Hulton
NRG Enterprises Ltd.