Roughly 125 competitors set out in the rain on Sept. 5 for the sixth annual Tears and Gears duathlon. The event tests competitors endurance with a 10-kilometre trail run followed by a 12-kilometre bike through the woods. The Enduro distances are doubled, featuring a 22-kilometre run and a 25-kilometre bike ride. The Kids race is a four-kilometre loop catering specifically for kids aged 10 to 12.
Despite the wet weather, event co-organizer Krista Turcasso says that the event was their smoothest one to date.
“Everyone was covered in mud but I think everyone had a really good time. I think some people were worried about biking in the weather, in the trails, but everyone rode well. We had no injuries or anything like that,” said Turcasso.
Even though the participant numbers slightly decreased from last year, most likely due to weather conditions or prior engagements, Turcasso is happy that the event is starting to attract out-of-town competitors. “40 per cent of the people in the race this year were actually from out of town. It’s actually our highest out of town contingent to date, so that’s pretty cool to think about,” said Turcasso. Of that 40 per cent, about half hailed from Calgary, with the other participants coming from the US, Edmonton, Lethbridge and elsewhere in B.C.
Along with Abi Moore, Turcasso has been curating the event for six years, and says that they have no plans to stop the event in the near future. The event might move to the weekend following Labour Day, as more people might be able to participate.
“I think that there is so much going on that weekend though I don’t know if we would do it that weekend again,” said Turcasso. “I think we will go back to after the Labour Day weekend, which is what we traditionally did.”
Turcassso and Moore operate Tears and Gears as a non-profit organization, and produce the race with the help of roughly 50 volunteers. “Competitors routinely say that the volunteers are awesome, and it’s because we have the same volunteers year in and year out. We are so fortunate and grateful to the community of residents and businesses for helping us keep this event running,” said Turcasso. This year’s title sponsor were Evolution and Elevation Showcase, with many local businesses providing prizes and support to the race. The Fernie Trails Alliance also supports the race, and the trails are provided with permission from Montane Developments, Jemi Fibre and Ridgemont Holdings.
Ben Scott won in the Men Classic Solo category with a time of 1:56:21. Haley Wright took the top spot in the women’s field, crossing the finish line with a time of 2:16:04. In the Enduro division, Aaron Glover won with a total time of 3:36:30. Ewan Carter won the Boy’s Solo category with a new course record of 39:02, and Abby Bridger won the Girl’s Solo category at 46:39.