Tears and Gears returns to its roots

Sept. 4 will be the seventh annual Fernie Tears and Gears, Fernie’s favourite mountain duathlon.

Simon Piney running Tears and Gears

Sept. 4 will be the seventh annual Fernie Tears and Gears, Fernie’s favourite mountain duathlon. Since 2010 the event has challenged the abilities, determination and strength of runners and cyclists. This year’s route will feature one distance for each discipline; an 11.5 kilometre run with 341 metres of elevation and the bike portion will be 14 kilometres with 428 metres of elevation. The solo and tag-team race will feature a speed trap section on both routes. The running speed trap will be the ascent from Queen V to Eco Terrorist and the bike speed trap will be the descent from Roots Extension.

Krista Turcasso, co-event organizer told The Free Press that the challenge will be pacing yourself.

“Because we went back to just offering the one distance, we added a bit of kilometres to both the run and bike. The routes are new this year – to avoid logging issues in Ridgemont, and like many races the difficulty will be pacing yourself. Also, the speed traps – testing runners uphill times and bikers downhill times, will add a fun challenge for everyone,” she said.

This year’s edition has been modeled to look more similar to the “classic” event.

“This year, we really streamlined the event to make it easier for us to organize and manage. Abi and I both work full time and volunteer with other organizations, and while Tears & Gears was becoming more demanding with the changes we had made,” said Turcasso. “We wanted to continue to offer it as it has become a Fernie staple and is a great way for people to be introduced to the sports of trail running and mountain biking. It has historically also been many people’s first experience with racing. The classic distance is still challenging and approachable, but cuts our time and volunteers in half which is a huge help.”

The streamlined event also offers a reduced price according to Turcasso, “Alongside returning to the classic distance, we also decided not to offer a post-race BBQ included in the entry fee. A simpler model means lower costs to competitors, and as we are non-profit these lower costs have been translated into the entry fee.”

The financial model of the event is for the entry price to cover all operating costs including a cash purse for first place in each category, explained Turcasso. “Anything above and beyond goes towards next year’s planning and our Winter Wheezer event. A portion of all entry fees goes towards the Fernie Trails Alliance, an organization that is not only supportive of our event but is also responsible for building, maintaining and managing all of the Fernie trails, the land use agreements in place, and user groups. In short, the FTA is awesome and deserves all support available.”

The organizers expect the event to have around 150 compeititors with 40 volunteers. Turcasso believes the best spots to cheer from are the start and finish line or at the speed traps set up along the course.