|Sneddon and Wicks - rumoured to be|
jumping from Team Kona to the Potlickers
On one particularly gnarly descent known as “Dem Bones” in the Fernie Provincial Park area and about the halfway point of the day I began hearing a very disconcerting grinding coming from my rear wheel. At the bottom it seemed to be worked out and I chalked it up to the banging my bike received from the rooty downhill.
About a third of the way up the next climb my rear hub completely locked up leaving me and my partner staring at the problem of riding the next 20km with only one working bike.
I began to walk with a very quiet and concerned partner slowly riding behind me. I thought of my brother (the White Whale) one year ago who ran nearly half of stage 3 with his partner’s bike which experienced the same problem and began to run myself. I quickly realized I am not freakishly fit like my brother, nor is my partner (who at no point offered to run my bike anywhere, not even off a cliff). All I could think of was, “Get to the next aid station, then we’ll figure it out.”
My partner was thinking, “We’re fu$#ed.”
After some lube and cursing the hub began to turn freely but the pedals and the rear wheel were no longer talking to each other. It did allow me to ride downhill though. After about a 5km walk/run and a 2km downhill section my partner and I ran our bikes across a creek crossing when we saw our wives and supporters cheering us on right before reaching aid station #2.
Their cheers quickly stopped when they heard me shout “I need a new back wheel! My hub’s blown!”
Unbeknownst to me, taking refreshing dip in the creek at that same moment were pro Kona team riders Barry Wicks and Chris Sneddon, and the rest of the Kona support team. As I ran up to the road I had a surreal moment where Kona mechanics were asking a barrage of questions:
What size of wheel? 9 speed or 10? Quick release?
A few short answers from me and next thing I knew by bike was upside down and I was instructed to jump into the back of the truck and grab a wheel. No less than 5 minutes later I was riding on a Stan’s ZTR Arch wheel with XTR hub and Maxxis Crossmark tire. Yes, I was riding on Barry Wicks’ wheel. Not just the same type of wheel, his actual wheel!
We finished stage 3 and when I caught up with the Kona team the next day they told me to keep the wheel until I could get mine fixed.
Only in the TransRockies can you randomly shout into the woods you need a wheel and it actually shows up and only in mountain biking would it be delivered by two of the sports' top riders.