Steamboat Springs The end result wasn’t the desired one, but Honey Stinger riders Nate Bird and Dax Massey spent their drive back from Canada on Tuesday reflecting on a successful 2011 TransRockies race.
The two, who competed in the pro team division, finished fourth overall during the seven-stage race. The team was just 3 minutes, 59 seconds off the podium and 24:39 out of first place.
Still, the two were left to wonder what could have been, mostly because of things that were out of their hands.
In the second stage, a course marshal sent riders off course, but no time adjustment was made. Then, in the sixth stage, a lack of course markings sent the Honey Stinger team off course. They eventually found their way back but were penalized three minutes for taking a presumed shortcut.
“It was a bit confusing and a little disappointing,” Bird said. “It should have been purely about racing, but we can’t be disappointed. We left it all out there.”
The 231-mile ride that gains 37,238 feet elevation begins in Fernie, British Columbia, and ends in Canmore, Alberta.
The two-person duo teams ride together and cannot finish apart or they incur a time penalty. The pair make a good team because of Bird’s acumen on the uphill and Massey’s on the downhill.
Bird and Massey, who also finished fourth overall in the race last year, were primed for another podium finish this year. They raced to fourth in each of the event’s first three stages before finally finding a groove.
“Nothing really went wrong in the first couple of stages,” Bird said. “We’re the type of guys that get faster as we go.”
Go they did.
They won the fourth stage, were third in the fifth stage, won the sixth stage and were second in the seventh stage despite the penalty.
“I think we probably have the opportunity to go back,” Bird said. “We went this year with some unfinished business and missed out on the overall podium by a smaller margin. It’s still a year out and we’re not sure, but yes, we still have some unfinished business.”
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com