Mountain biking in the Yukon will prepare you for any terrain. Just ask Whitehorse’s Tamara Goeppel.
The three-time Yukon mountain biking champ raced in the Trans Schwarswald in Germany just over a week ago.
The event is a five-day stage race through Germany’s Black Forest, spanning 395 kilometres and climbing 10,000 metres in altitude.
“A mountain biking friend of mine said it’s deemed the best mountain bike stage race in Germany, so that caught my attention,” said Goeppel. “I brought way too much bike there. I brought a full suspension, heavy tank that you’d want to ride in the B.C. Bike Race, but not that race. A nice hardtail would have done the job.”
Goeppel cycled in the solo women’s category, placing third in her category and 14th overall with a total time of 21 hours, 31 minutes and 39 seconds.
While she enjoyed the race, she didn’t find the terrain to be very challenging, at least not compared to the Yukon.
“There wasn’t a lot of technical riding,” said Goeppel. “The first day was difficult mentally because we didn’t see trail at all. It was asphalt or very groomed quad trails. So I was thinking, ‘What am I doing here? I don’t belong here.’ I thought if there’s going to be four more days of that kind of riding, it’s going to be hard to finish. Physically it was very demanding, high speed and quite a bit of depth in the race because it is one of the best stage races in Germany.
“On days two and three I saw some mud so I was happy again. We got out to some trails, but nothing I would tell a fellow Yukon mountain biker that is technical.”
Goeppel is not new to long mountain bike races. She and partner Thomas Tetz have competed in the Absa Cape Epic in South Africa, an eight-day race spanning 800 kilometres and climbing 16,000 metres. She and Tetz placed ninth this year in March and 14th the year before.
Goeppel excels in road cycling as well. She holds the women’s record in VeloNorth Cycling Club’s Skagway Hill Climb, the 19-kilometre time trial race from Skagway to the White Pass Summit, climbing roughly 1,000-metres in altitude.
She set the record in 2011, breaking her own record set in 2010. She won the race for a third-consecutive time in May.
Goeppel was on the winning four-person team at the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay last year and the winning four-person team at the 24 Hours of Light Mountain Bike Festival.
“I hope Yukoners can appreciate what we have in our backyard,” said Goeppel. “We have such amazing trails and such easy access…
“When I landed I went in behind Grey Mountain on the trails and it felt so much better. We really have something special here.”
Contact Tom Patrick at