BC Bike Ride just concluded it's first tour of the year with six
lucky riders from Mountain Biking BC.
Mountain Biking BC wanted to showcase some of the diverse riding
around the province, so gave a few lucky contest winners from Utah
the chance to experience the best singletrack in the world!
The tour kicked off in Squamish, where the group started the
ride with some of the highlights from BC Bike Race's Day Six course
(Half Nelson, Psuedotsugas, etc). After a swim in the lake, they
hit up Whistler to watch the finals of Crankworx Slopestyle. An
awesome day - video.
Day Two was in Pemberton, where Johnny and Seb from the Bike Co
took the team out to shuttle Middle Earth. Wicked views and awesome
trails - video.
Day Three started
in Whistler, with the group splitting up to take advantage of all
the riding the area has to offer. Some hit the Bike Park, some the
Lost Lake Trails, and others rode Kill Me Thrill Me. After this,
Harbour Air flew the riders over to Victoria where they hopped on
some cruiser bikes and explored the city - video.
Day Four started in Victoria where the team explored Hartland,
had a quick swim in the lake, then drove up to Cowichan Bay to
enjoy a seafood feast and spend the night on the waterfront. It's
all about the road trip - video.
Day Five saw the
riders hooking up with Robin Dutton from Cowichan Cycles for a lap
of Mt Tzouhalem. More sweet riding, followed by some local
delicacies, then a drive up to Cumberland - video.
Day Six, the ride started from door of the Riding Fool Hostel and finished with lunch
at Tarbell's Bistro. The ride included Cumberland classics like
Teapot and Crafty Butcher, plus new favourites like Thirsty Beaver.
Later in the day, the group felt ambitious and shuttle Forbidden
Plateua, then barbequed up some dinner. Awesome riding with Martin
from Island Mountain Rides - video.
Day Seven, last
but least, was Hornby Island. After sailing with BC Ferries over to
Denman Island and dropping their bags at the cabin, the group rode
on to the ferry over to Hornby. Endless trails criss cross the
small island and the riders shredded up and down the mountain. A
stop at the beach, lunch in the village, then snacks at the pub and
a salmon barbeque at the cabin capped off the perfect week of
riding - video.
Gotta love mountain biking in BC!
Want to join us on our next trip? There's still space in our
August Coast Mountains and
What an incredible backdrop for the final stage of BC Bike Race
2011! With beautiful mountains reaching toward blue skies and the
Olympic rings watching over the finish line, the picturesque
Olympic Square in the heart of Whistler was the place to be.
Racers set off for their final stage, the Whistler 'victory lap'
at 10am to the cheers of a huge crowd of spectators. Course
Director Grant Lamont shared some final insights and anticipated
that the fastest racers would cross the finish line in
approximately 2 hours.
Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Bikes) had worn the yellow jersey
since Day One and had created a solid cushion from second place
Jason Sager (Jamis). Barring any unforeseen incidents, Sheppard was
likely to win BC Bike Race for the second year running. But would
he win the final stage?
The answer came much quicker than expected. Squamish rider Neal
Kindree (Republic Bike Shop / SRAM) astounded BC Bike Race
spectators and crew when he shot through the finish line in a
blistering 1:22:01, nearly 40 minutes earlier than anticipated. The
question of who would win the Whistler stage had been brewing since
the hard-fought battle for the win in Squamish. Kindree was one of
the prospects, as were Sheppard, Sager, and the Kona combo of Kris
Sneddon and Barry Wicks. Very strong performances all week saw
Kindree on the podium five times, three of which were stage
Kindree shared some of his Whistler-winning strategy with the
finish line crowd, "I've ridden these trails quite a bit and knew
that there were going to be some sharp rocks out there. So, I put
extra air in the tires and throttled through the descents. I just
kept telling myself, 'Ride smooth. Ride smooth'." A smooth ride it
was. Kindree rode into a 2.5-minute gap over the next closest
racers to cross the line: Brian Lopes (IBIS), Chris Sheppard and
Yes, Brian Lopes. After winning the Rock Mountain Bikes "Love
the Ride" timed sections in Squamish yesterday, Gravity legend
Brian Lopes put in an unbelievable effort to win second place in
Stage 7. BC Bike Race was Lopes' first crack at a mountain bike
stage race and he was clearly stoked, "This is way more than I'd
expected. My goal this week was a couple of top 20 finishes and I
had two or three top 10 before today. But I never thought in a
million years I would get in the top three!"
Lopes' performance-as well as the impressive 3rd
place finish (Stage 7 and Overall) for gravity diva Katrina Strand
(Troy Lee Designs/Oakley/Maxxis)-has shown that events like the BC
Bike Race are accessible to riders from a broad spectrum of
Sneddon and Wicks won Stage 7 in the Open Team category in
1:25:04, which gave them their seventh yellow jersey of the week.
Mitchell Hoke and Brady Kappius (Clif Bar) were second and Greg Day
and Colin Kerr (Rocky Mountain Bikes) took third.
Other highlights of the day include Trish Grajczyk winning Stage
7 in Master's Women category. Grajczyk, who clocked the fastest
female time of the day in 1:51:22, earned her seventh yellow jersey
at BC Bike Race 2011. "I loved the race," said Grajczyk, "I would
recommend it to anybody!"
In the Veterans 100+ Team category, Canadian Nordic and cycling
legend Pierre Harvey and his partner Daniel Auclair won Stage 7 and
also claimed the yellow jersey for the seventh time this week. "It
was a great journey. Every day was perfect," Harvey told the finish
line crowd, "It was the best week of my life, that's for sure!"
In essence, every single racer who crossed the line today was a
highlight of the BC Bike Race. Each finisher earned a BC Bike Race
belt buckle medal, a finisher's t-shirt, and bragging rights to
have completed more than 400km of West Coast singletrack in seven
days. All that remains is to celebrate the accomplishment, which
will happen at the final awards ceremony and banquet tonight in
Whistler. These riders have earned it!
Some racers had such an incredible experience at the
5th BC Bike Race this week that they already want more.
Several racers are hoping to return in 2012, including European pro
Thomas Dietsch (BULLS).
Registration for the 2012 event opens at 10am PDT at www.bcbikerace.com Limited early bird pricing is in
As the BC Bike Race has evolved to more and more singletrack
over the past five years, Stage Six in Squamish has quickly become
a favourite stop on the journey. With an unbelievable selection of
incredible singletrack, Stage Six is "The Crown Jewel" of BCBR.
This was a busy stage, with three separate races happening
throughout the day: the Stage Six course for Epic and Challenge,
the Rocky Mountain "Love the Ride" timed sections, and the Shimano
Stage Six Epic & Challenge
Coming into this stage there was considerable speculation as to
who would take the win for the day. From the hometown advantage,
Neal Kindree (Republic Bike Shop / SRAM) is a Squamish local with
intricate knowledge of these trails; while Colin Kerr and Greg Day
(Rocky Mountain Bikes) train and play on the Squamish trails
multiple times per week. Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Bikes) and
Jason Sager (Jamis) are sitting one and two for the GC; and Kris
Sneddon and Barry Wicks (Kona) are incredibly strong technically,
dominating their category, and posting times in line with the top
of the solo GC.
As it turned out, fans at the finish line witnessed the most
exciting sprint finish that BC Bike Race has seen. As Sneddon,
Sager, Wicks and Kindree hammered toward the finish in a tight
pack, Sneddon and Sager got into a tight spot at the last corner,
nudging and elbowing to jockey for position. Sager turned up the
heat and edged across the line just ahead of Sneddon, with Wicks
and Kindree on their wheels. For the second consecutive day, the
podium had European flavour as Thomas Dietsch (BULLS) claimed third
spot. Though Sheppard suffered a flat that kept him off the podium
for the stage, he still dons the yellow jersey going into the
seventh and final stage tomorrow.
Regardless of when riders crossed the line during Stage Six, a
common theme emerged: how much fun they had. Random racer quotes:
Jason Sager "Best stage. Best dirt. Most fun riding!"; Thomas
Dietsch "Really, really fun! It's a crazy race. I think I'll buy a
house now and stay here. One of the best places to ride in the
world"; Chris Sheppard "Squamish has the sickest trails in the
world"; Neal Kindree "I've done races all over the world and this
is by far the best race I've been to"; Pierre Harvey "This is my
first stage race and my first time at BCBR. It's great! It's the
best trails I've ever ridden in my life!"; Katrina Strand "Before
this race I don't know if I've ever gone for a 3hr ride and not
more than two days in a row. If I can do it anyone can do it!";
Manny Osbourne-Paradis "I knew I wasn't going to win. I'm having
fun, put some endurance on these legs"; Anon "These trails melt my
face off!" (yes, that is positive); Anon "This is the best week
I've ever had in my entire life!"
Rocky Mountain Bikes "Love the Ride" Timed Sections
BCBR introduced the first "Love the Ride" sections during Stage
2 in Campbell River and it quickly became the race within the race.
Timed sections pit racers against the clock regardless of their
category. Challenge or Epic, Open or Vet, racers are only grouped
by gender. Results are determined by the combined total of both
timed sections and leader's jerseys are awarded to the top male and
female. Andreas Hestler and Katrina Strand won the first jerseys
awarded in Campbell River.
The two timed sections for Stage Six in Squamish were on Pseudo
Tsuga and Half-Nelson. Both trails offered a different flavour and
the results for each varied. When this new race within the race was
introduced, eyes were on the gravity racers like Brian Lopes (IBIS)
to turn some fast times. While the top scores were tight within the
men's field, Brian Lopes came out on top and earned the leader's
jersey for the stage. Joining him from the women's side was Hannah
Thorne from New Zealand.
While the Rocky Mountain Bikes "Love the Ride" concept was new
for the 5th running of BCBR, next year, event organizers
plan to implement the "Love the Ride" sections during each stage of
Shimano Kids' Race
The 2nd annual Squamish Shimano Kids' Race took place
on a fully marked course staged outside the Brennan Park Leisure
Centre. The BC Bike Race Bear's Den, set up for prime viewing space
and the standard variety of amenities, was filled with racers and
Kids' Race spectators. Originally scheduled for a 2pm pistol, the
Kids' Race was delayed slightly in order to process the
overwhelming number of registrants for the event.
One hundred and fifty children brought their trusty steeds to
the start line for a chance to ride the course and earn a coveted
BC Bike Race Shimano Kids' Race medal. The children, ranging in age
from 2 to 11, were split into heats by age and rode the fully-taped
course with Team Flower People / Rocky Mountain Bikes Luli Cox and
Adriana Boccia. Excitement ran high as Drew Bragg announced the
play-by-play for each heat. From run bikes to pedal bikes and caped
crusaders to tutued ballerinas, the kids gave it their all. Even
with a few tumbles here and there on course (hey - that's racing!)
every single child crossed the line a winner and received a medal
from Shimano rep and former mountain bike racer Elladee Brown.
Next: What better place than Whistler to wind up a full week of
riding the best singletrack on the West Coast. Less than 30km of
singletrack remain in this epic adventure. It's the Whistler
victory lap! Finisher's medals, the banquet and subsequent
celebrations await racers after their final pass under the finish
line arch for BC Bike Race 2011.
The Stage 6 Rocky Mountain Bikes "Love the Ride" trail of the
day: Shimano Kids' Race Course
Stage 5 starting in Sechelt is the second of two consecutive
point-to-point days that flow south along the Sunshine Coast.
Due to a dangerously overflowing creek crossing that resulted
from prior rainfall, the first segment of Stage 5 was rerouted,
resulting in a 10km shorter course. Many racers seemed grateful for
the reprieve so they could save energy for the amazing 8km descent
on buff singletrack leading into the finish line at the Earl's Cove
ferry terminal. The grin-causing trail, called Highway 102, is
meticulously maintained by rider volunteers and is generally
identified with the sounds of thundering tires and endless hooting
and hollering. Today was no exception.
With such incredible trails allowing racers to 'let go and let
gravity' racers were posting fast finish times, especially at the
front of the pack, where Neal Kindree (Republic Bike Shop / SRAM)
jumped to the lead two-thirds of the way through the race and held
on for the stage jersey win. Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Bikes)
was second for the day and held onto his positioning as GC leader
for the 5th consecutive stage. Marzio Deho (Olympia)
claimed third place after winning a finish line sprint with Thomas
Dietsch (BULLS). After five stages, the Europeans found their
groove and claimed one spot on the podium; it seems that they are
shifting into the west coast way, complete with downhill blasts
like today's 8km on Hwy 102 in approximately 30 minutes. We are
very excited to see their newly shaping 'downcountry' riding styles
evolve over the remaining two days of racing!
In the Men's Open Team category, Kona's Kris Sneddon and Barry
Wicks once again owned the stage win, to make it five in a row.
Nativo/Devinci's Marty Lazarski and Rocky Mountain Bicycles' Colin
Kerr and Greg Day claimed numbers two and three spots in the stage
and overall team rankings.
While there may have been some shuffling in each category for
top stage spots, the GC jersey leaders remain the same at the end
of five days of racing. An interesting story developing in the GC
is that Trish Gracjzyck (Masters Solo Women) is battling for the
overall women's lead with Jennifer Schulz (Open Solo Women).
As of Stage 5, Gracjzyck holds a three-minute lead over
Schulz. This will be one to watch.
As racers rolled across the finish line at the Langdale ferry
terminal, they traded in their bikes for a change of clothes and
the last BC Ferries sailing of the BC Bike Race. The 40-minute
Langdale to Horseshoe Bay trip brought racers back to the mainland
for the final two stages of the week-Squamish and Whistler.
The highway that leads along the coastline from Vancouver to
Whistler is referred to as "The Sea to Sky Highway." Racers were
transported along the same picturesque route from Horseshoe Bay to
Squamish for their first of two nights in Canada's 'Outdoor
Squamish is a beautiful, small city nestled between the waters
of Howe Sound and the majestic face of the Stawamus Chief. And it
also just happens to have a stunning array of singletrack, which
racers including Dave Richardson and Pat Murphy will sample
heartily tomorrow during Stage 6.
Richardson and Murphy are two BC Bike Race participants with a
special goal-raising funds to support Team Diabetes Canada. "I know
three young guys, including my nephew, who have Type 1 diabetes,"
said Murphy when asked of his motivation to do BCBR as a
fundraiser. "Everyone does a little bit and the world becomes a
better place," added Richardson.
More than 3 million people in Canada have diabetes and
Richardson and Murphy are doing their part to help out-between them
the dynamic (and comedic) duo have already raised more than $12000
to support the cause.
"What I love about the BC Bike Race is the diversity of the
people from around the world," shared Richardson. "And it's great
to be able to combine doing this race, which is quite
self-oriented, with raising money for a meaningful cause." Murphy
agreed, "Even in the most down moments I wouldn't want to be
anywhere else but here." Support Richardson and Murphy's
fundraising effort, or inquire about participating in BC Bike Race
as a Team Diabetes contributor here.
Up next: A day of amazing and highly-anticipated singletrack
woven together from two of Squamish's renowned singletrack
races-Test of Metal and Gear Jammer. Racers will tour the entire
Squamish Valley and take another shot at the Rocky Mountain Bikes
"Love the Ride" timed singletrack sections. Andreas Hestler and
Katrina Strand dominated the first "Love the Ride" sections. Who
will claim the leader jerseys in Squamish?
The Stage 5 Rocky Mountain Bikes "Love the Ride" trail of the
day: Highway 103
Racers woke up this morning to the pastel palette
of a west coast sunrise at their beachfront Base Camp in Powell
River. It was a beautiful farewell as racers made their way to the
Saltery Bay ferry terminal for a sailing to Earls Cove, the start
line for Stage 4.
Twenty-four racers missed out on the morning's picturesque
sailing with BC Ferries. Instead, BC Bike Race founding sponsor
Harbour Air generously provided scenic floatplane flights from
Powell River to Earls Cove for those racers randomly selected the
night before. The two groups of 12 lucky winners were treated to
incredible panoramic views as they cruised the skies southbound
along the coastline to Earls Cove.
Harbour Air was also pivotal in helping a racer whose bike was
misplaced while being shipped to the BCBR last week. Obsession:
Bikes, the BC Bike Race bike tech provider, worked to track down
the wayward steed, build it, and, in partnership with Harbour Air,
transport it from North Vancouver to the Earls Cove start line
where it was reunited with an incredibly grateful racer.
And what perfect timing for a reunion with the bike! Today's
stage, the mid-point of the week and often referred to as "hump
day", was a test of endurance and willpower as racers made their
way from Earls Cove to Sechelt via plenty of hand-built singletrack
and double track trails including ACDC, Cabin Fever, Elevator,
Escalator, Brat, Over Easy, Desoto, Rockabilly, Bypass, Easy
Street, Skullduggery, Beaver Pond, Par Back, VFR, Adanac, and Lee's
Big Easy. Whew! Strategically integrated fire roads offered racers
the opportunity to refuel and replenish, which was a critical part
of the hot, sunny, dusty day that put the epic in Epic.
Fortunately for racers, Ryders Eyewear has been staged at aid
stations to provide a sunglass-cleaning service to everyone rolling
through, so the dust and sweat weren't permanent on their shades.
Every racer received a pair of custom BC Bike Race logoed Ryders
sunglasses at the start of the week Ryder's own Brent Martin, who
usually races BC Bike Race, wanted to support racers in a tangible
and unique way, as he's ridden many miles in their shoes. So Brent
devised the sunglass-cleaning service and is along for the week
with BC Bike Race, cleaning sunglasses at Aid Stations. And he
couldn't be happier. Feedback on the trail is that racers love the
Aid Station sunglass service. An original BC Bike Race sponsor,
Ryders is celebrating its 25th anniversary this
The action on the trail was intense and challenging all around
today. The Epic Solo Men category saw current yellow jersey leader
Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Bikes) and second place GC racer
Jason Sager (Jamis) wheel-to-wheel for the duration of the Stage.
European Thomas Dietsch (BULLS) was in the running with them in
early stages, but suffered a flat and mechanical that would drop
him back in the pack. Sheppard and Sager wound up in a sprint
finish, with Sager nipping Sheppard at the line by a mere second.
Sager took the stage win while Sheppard retains the "golden fleece"
for the 4th consecutive day and holds a commanding 14
minute lead over Sager in the GC. Kona's Corey Wallace hung on to
claim third place for the stage and GC. Yesterday's winner, Neal
Kindree, suffered a mechanical and was eighth for the day, fourth
in the GC.
Hometown boy Kris Sneddon and partner Barry Wicks (Kona) had
their sights set on a victory in today's stage as Sneddon grew up
riding these trails. "Of course we wanted to win the stage," said
Sneddon, "It's like a hockey team playing on their home rink."
Wicks decided he'd let his partner do what he does best, "Following
Kris downhill is super fun but really scary. I just have to put all
my trust in him. It's amazing how fast he descends."
The Kona boys retained the yellow jerseys for the 4th
consecutive stage and have created a 30-minute lead over
2nd place Marty Lazarski and Ricky Federau
(Nativo/Devinci). What had at one point been a hard fought
battle for 2nd and 3rd place has now spread
out. Colin Kerr and Greg Day (Rocky Mountain Bikes) are 15 minutes
behind in 3rd.
While some categories saw a reshuffling in the top ranks for
today's stage, the yellow jersey wearers remain the same as
Up next: Racers get to sleep in a little longer as the Day 5
Sechelt course had to be modified to due a creek crossing that's
running at a higher volume than normal. With approximately 10km
less to ride in the first half of the course, racers will have even
more in the tank to thoroughly enjoy the day's highlight: a close
to 12km flowing descent to finish at the Langdale ferry
Today's Rocky Mountain "Love the Ride" trail of the day:
Another beautiful, sunny day graced racers as they
left Campbell River behind and sailed from Vancouver Island to
Powell River with BC Ferries. The beachfront Stage Three Base Camp
in Powell River is one of the most picturesque of the week, with
the start/finish line arch and racer tents set up mere metres from
the ocean's edge.
The stage began with an Oceanside lead out winding
racers into an extensive trail network that's meticulously
maintained by local riders and includes singletrack affectionately
referred to as 'rolling thunder.' Trees were the theme of the day,
providing swoopy, slaloming trails and undulating rooty sections
that lent themselves to strong focus and flow. The reward at
the end of the trail was a return to the sun-drenched beachfront
finish line where sandy beaches and cool ocean waters beckoned.
Stage winner Neal Kindree (Republic Bike
Shop/SRAM) was less than 30 seconds ahead of GC leader Chris
Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Bikes) who still reigns with the yellow
jersey, carrying a 10-minute lead into Stage Four. Jason Sager
(Jamis) placed third for the stage while the European riders,
Thomas Dietsch (BULLS) and Marzio Deho (Olympia) both struggled
with some mechanical issues.
The Kona Factory Team of Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks won the
stage and continue to wear the leaders' jerseys for the third
consecutive day. While the focus often falls on the lead rider,
there's an intense battle shaping up in the Epic Team category.
Nativo/Devinci's Marty Lazarski and Ricky Federau, Clif Bar's
Mitchell Hoke and Brady Kappius, and Rocky Mountain Bikes Colin
Kerr and Greg Day are in a fierce battle for the remaining top
spots in the GC, with working within a 3 minute spread. This is
definitely becoming the race to watch.
Remaining Yellow Jersey Highlights:
Challenge Solo Men - Grant Fox
Challenge Solo Women - Tanya Berg
Challenge Mixed Team - Denver Poole & Derek
Epic Solo Women - Jennifer Schulz
Epic Solo Masters Men - Jeff Neilson
Epic Solo Masters Women - Trish Grajczyk
Epic Women's Team - Simone Mccallum & Claire
Epic Mixed Team - Mike Brown & Veronica
Epic Vets 80+ - Frank Wittmann & Axel Ruecker
Epic Vets 100+ - Daniel Auclair & Pierre Harvey
One international racer at BC Bike Race is here for more than
just an amazing singletrack adventure. North Shore mountain biking
legend, Paul Chetwynd, moved to Japan over 20 years ago for a
biking career, fell in love with the country and its people and
chose to make his life there. Paul was out of the country when the
Tsunami struck earlier this year, but the disastrous scene hit hard
when he returned two days following. While many people left Japan
in anticipation of higher taxes and the cost of recovering from the
devastation, Paul and his family opted to stay and do what they can
to help rebuild.
That brings Paul to BC Bike Race. He elected to ride the event
to create awareness and raise funds to support children who were
orphaned as a result of the Tsunami. "At last count, 201 children
were orphaned in one five minute wave. They're going to need a
little help for a long time and I want to do what I can," said
Paul. BC Bike Race is supporting Paul in his fundraising efforts
and has provided a link on their website for those who wish to
Stage Three wrapped up with an amazing evening
dinner and a host of local dignitaries welcoming BC Bike Race
participants and staff to Powell River. Most touching was a
blessing bestowed upon the group by Tla'Amin (Sliammon) First
Nations Elder Honourable Dr Elsie Paul, "This is a prayer that is
said whenever someone went on a journey by land or by sea. And I
understand that you've undertaken quite a journey to be here." In
the Tla'Amin language, Dr Paul connected the room full of BC Bike
Race participants and crew together through a warm and sincere
prayer for a safe continued journey.
Up next: BC Bike Race's first point-to-point stage begins at
Earl's Cove ferry terminal. Racers take another scenic BC Ferries
ride from Saltery Bay to Earl's Cove where they will walk off the
ferry and straight to their bikes for an 11am race start. Stage
Four is the first of two days focused on the Lower Sunshine Coast,
which introduce yet a different type of riding to the BC Bike Race
In almost Tour de France fashion, BC Bike Race has
introduced a new stage and consequently a new community each year.
In this 5th anniversary edition of the event, Stage Two
shone the spotlight on the ocean-side city of Campbell River. The
hometown of Stage Two course designer, Martin Ready, Campbell River
is the third-largest city on Vancouver Island and fast becoming
known for its exceptional mountain biking areas. BC Bike Race
racers were about to find out why, as both the Epic and Challenge
courses offered close to 33km of uninterrupted Campbell River
For the vast majority of today's riders, including current race
leader Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Bikes), the Campbell River
area trails were unexplored territory - would this level the
playing field for the top racers? A little more than two hours
after Campbell River Mayor Charlie Cornfield signaled the Stage Two
start, we found out as a small pack of Epic frontrunners blistered
across the finish line.
In a sprint finish, Jason Sager (Jamis) eked ahead of Chris
Sheppard to take the stage win in 2:13:24, while Sheppard retained
his GC leader status, and the 'golden fleece' for another day. Team
Kona's Barry Wicks and Kris Sneddon, rounding out the leaders pack,
took the Team of 2 stage win in 2:13:26 and also retain GC leader
status. Both categories saw a little shuffling in the top places
within the stage, but the times remain tight and there is still a
lot of singetrack to be covered over the next five days.
Currently the solo GC shows Sheppard with four minutes over
Thomas Dietsch (Team BULLS), and seven minutes over Sager and Neal
Kindree (Republic Bike Shop/SRAM). There is a huge battle
developing in the Team of 2 GC behind leaders Sneddon/Wicks who
have fifteen minutes over the next teams. Marty Lazarski and Ricky
Federau (Davinci/Jamis), Greg Day and Colin Kerr (Rocky Mountain
Bicycles), and Mitchell Hoke and Brady Kappius (Clif Bar) are all
separated by a less than 30 second spread and fighting hard for
The majority of the other Epic GC category leaders remain the
same after two days of racing. In the Challenge GC, Grant Fox leads
the men, Tanya Berg leads the women, and Denver Poole and
Derek Reynolds lead the mixed category.
And adding another twist to the day was the introduction of the
Rocky Mountain Bikes "Love the Ride" timed singletrack sections.
Two separate segments of singletrack were marked and timed
separately within the course to create a 'race within the race.' In
these sections all racers, regardless of Challenge or Epic, are
pitted against each other to find the fastest male and female
Andreas Hestler (Rocky Mountain Bikes) and Katrina Strand (Troy
Lee Designs/Oakley/Maxxis) each won both of the inaugural "Love the
Ride" sections in Stage Two. They were awarded leader's jerseys and
will have the chance to defend their titles on the next "Love the
Ride" stage, scheduled for Day 6 in Squamish.
The timed "hotspots" are a new feature in BC Bike Race and
introduce an element that allows, as Mark Weir
(WTB/Cannondale/Shimano) put it, "more heroes" to emerge within the
race. Weir feels that this might be the evolution of stage racing,
reflecting a move from "pinning it" style racers to bigger bikes
ridden by more relaxed racers looking to have more fun.
While the "Love the Ride" sections are a young category for BCBR
this year, the vision is to give more racers a shot at the podium.
"Some climb well, some descend well, some are built for speed and
some for distance," said BCBR's Andreas Hestler, "The Rocky
Mountain Bikes 'Love the Ride' section creates the opportunity for
a variety of racers to shine each day."
The sections also allows racers of all abilities to test their
riding skills against the pros in the pack. The first offering
seemed to be a hit with racers: Chris_McGregor on Twitter, "Epic
moment @ #the bcbikerace - I rode wheel 2 wheel Katrina Strand for
the 2nd times section + was only a few seconds off her
Thanks to the new "Love the Ride" section, an array of amazing
trails, and a warm and welcoming community Campbell River Stage Two
made its mark on BC Bike Race with style.
Next Up: A very picturesque sailing from Vancouver Island to the
Sunshine Coast with BC Ferries. Once the ferry docks in Powell
River, racers will walk off the ferry and down to the beachfront
Base Camp and Start/Finish line area.
The start line of any race is always alive with energy. But when
you bring 450 singletrack hungry mountain bikers to a singletrack
crazy town, line up the start chute down the centre of the main
drag, mix in a heavy percentage of cheering locals, and remind
riders that this is the first of seven straight days of singletrack
heaven, well, it's electric!
Enter BC Bike Race Stage One. This morning you could have
powered the entire village of Cumberland with the energy racers
exuded as host Drew Bragg counted down the launch of BCBR 2011.
More than 50km of incredible riding lay ahead for the Epic riders,
while the Challengers experienced 30km of the same.
The big question of the day was how would European riders Thomas
Dietsch (BULL) and Marzio Deho (Olympia) fare on these trails
against the defending champion Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain
Bikes). At yesterday's press conference, Dietsch pointed out that
the European races only see about 7% singletrack to BCBR's 70%. And
the technical levels are incomparable, so it was going to be an
Stage one didn't disappoint. Dietsch tailed Sheppard through the
initial singletrack and attacked on the long fire road ascent.
Sheppard regained the lead back in the singletrack with
Dietsch-rocking a hardtail this week-close behind. Close, but not
close enough to steal the yellow jersey from Sheppard for Stage
One. Shep, who is very familiar with this terrain, holds a 2+
minute lead over Dietsch going into Stage Two. The next four
category finishers, Neal Kindree (Republic Bike Shop / SRAM), Cory
Wallace (Kona), Jason Sager (Jamis) and Marzio Deho all crossed the
line within three minutes of each other. Gravity master Brian Lopes
(Oakley/Ibis/ENVE/Kenda) sits in 14th.
The Epic Team of 2 Men category promises some solid competition
as well this year, as champions Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks (Kona
Factory Team) defend their title against a strong field. A little
bottlenecking and some tough breaks set a few teams back during the
day. Sneddon and Wicks blasted through the finish in 2:28:12 to
claim the day's jersey with Mary Lazarski and Ricky Federau
(Nativo/Devinci) just over a minute behind. Five minutes later,
Mitchell Hoke and Brady Kappius (Clif Bar) came through with Greg
Day and Colin Kerr (Rocky Mountain Bikes) and Mark Weir and Jason
Moeschler (WTB/Cannondale/Shimano) less than a minute back. It's
still very early times and there are hundreds of kilometers of
singletrack that can see this race take any number of turns. No
matter what, it's shaping up to be hot competition!
Epic or Challenge, racers crossed the finish line today with
huge grins and exuding a serious sense of accomplishment. It's not
surprising as the Cumberland trails are hand-built beauties that
are guaranteed to delight every rider. Course Director Jeremy
Grasby knows almost every inch of the trail network and continues
to craft a Cumberland stage thrill-ride every year. Gravity girl
Katrina Strand (Troy Lee Designs/Oakley/Maxxis) was having so much
fun on course that she was accused of smiling too much!
Today's selected stage highlights:
Epic Solo Men - Chris Sheppard, Team Rocky Mountain Bikes
2:23:14; Thomas Dietsch, Team BULL 2:25:42; Neal Kindree, Team
Republic Bike Shop / SRAM 2:31:56
Epic Team of 2 Men - Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks, Kona Factory
Team 2:28:12; Marty Lazarski and Ricky Federau, Nativo/Devinci
2:29:30; Mitchell Hoke and Brady Kappius, Team Clif Bar 2:34:20
Epic Solo Masters Men - Patrick Jansen 2:39:49; Jeff Neilson
2:40:13; Craig Gillett 2:44:00
Epic Team of 2 Vets 100+ - Daniel Auclair and Pierre Harvey
3:00:09; Vince Haag and Steve Wright 3:14:23; Andy Aufschnaiter and
John Ramsden 3:19:45
Epic Solo Women - Jennifer Schulz 3:06:25; Wendy Lyall 3:15:50;
Hannah Thorne 3:20:19
Epic Team of 2 Women - Simone McCallum and Claire Garcia-Webb
3:47:12; Heide Saunders and Robyn Pickering 3:59:32; Luli Cox and
Dri Boccia, Rocky Mountain 4:59:40
Challenge Solo Men - Grant Fox 1:41:01; Brad
Jansen 1:53:53, Lawrence Colvin 1:55:26
Challenge Solo Women - Alice Pirard 1:54:02; Tanya Berg 1:55:56;
Wakana Heilman 2:17:21
Challenge Teams of 2 Open Mixed - Denver Poole and Derek
Reynolds 2:02:55; Melanie and Mark Foster 2:22:43; Brock Martin and
Suzanne Sheppy 2:23:27
We'll wrap up this edition with a brief racer story we've come
to call "Planes, Ferries and Automobiles." Epic racer
Anthony Alvarado hails from Costa Rica. He'd intended to join us
for registration on Day 0 but missed his flight. That led to a
panicked phone call and overnight stop at a friend's place, a
repeat trip to the airport, and a subsequent 7hr flight from Costa
Rica to Toronto on July 2nd. Anthony then landed in
Vancouver at 2am July 3rd, took a cab to the BC Ferries
terminal, caught a 5am sailing to Vancouver Island, and was met by
BCBR crew who shuttled him straight to the Cumberland start line…
with 50 minutes to spare. The Obsession: Bikes tech team assembled
and tuned Anthony's bike in record time and he was ready to roll
for a 9:30am Stage One start. 26 hours after leaving home.
Anthony finished in less than four hours and, despite being
exhausted and battling near-cramping through the course, could not
stop beaming with excitement: "I enjoyed it like I was a kid!"
And that seems to sum up the sentiments of many racers around
Base Camp at the end of Stage One. Seven days of super-fun
singletrack has begun!
Next Up: A quick morning trip up the highway brings racers to
the site of our brand new stage for 2011: Campbell River. With a
picturesque Base Camp set at the ocean's edge and 33km of
consecutive singletrack, Stage Two could become a new
PS - Campbell River trails will also be the launch point for the
Rocky Mountain Bikes "Love the Ride" chip-timed
sections. It's our race within a race that promises to bring a
whole new element to the BCBR!
While Canada celebrated its
144th birthday on July 1st, BC Bike Race
kicked off its 5th anniversary edition with a Kid's Race
celebration and an early racer registration opportunity in North
Vancouver. In roughly four hours, close to 300 racers picked up
swag, hooked up race plates and dropped off their gear at the Harry
Jerome Rec Centre in preparation for the seven-day stage race.
Kids' Race attracted an enthusiastic array of children aged 2-11
who conquered the mini course on bikes, training wheels, and
run-bikes. Every child received their own BC Bike Race plate, a
finisher's medal, and the glory of cheers from a crowd of family,
friends and BCBR supporters. A second Kid's Race will take place on
Day 6, July 8th, in Squamish.
This morning, July 2nd,
the sun shone brightly as BC Bike Race Day Zero got underway in
North Vancouver. Final registration saw the last of the bikes and
bags loaded up for the transition to the first Base Camp on
Before racers embarked on the first
of four ocean crossings with race sponsor BC Ferries, they were
treated to a press conference and Racer Welcome meeting at the
Centennial Theatre in North Van.
diverse array of athletic talent formed the panel for the media
launch, hosted by BC Bike Race Media Director Dave Howells. Racers
in the spotlight included champion European XC racers Thomas
Dietsch (Team BULLS) and Marzio Deho (Team Olympia); returning BCBR
winners Barry Wicks and Kris Sneddon (Team Kona); renowned champion
downhiller Brian Lopes (Team IBIS) returning BCBR winner Chris
Sheppard (Team Rocky Mountain Bikes); Canadian Olympic downhill
skier Manny Osbourne-Paradis; mountain bike luminary Mark Weir
(Team Cannondale/WTB); and strong Brazilian riders Luli Cox and Dri
Boccia (Team Rocky Mountain Bikes).
It was a panel of interesting contrasts, with Europeans Dietsch
and Deho making a first appearance at BC Bike Race next to seasoned
BCBR veterans like Sheppard, Sneddon and Wicks. Dietsch, fresh from
the World Cup, stated he felt ready for the race, but acknowledged
"BCBR is completely different than Europe. Here we will have 70%
singletrack over seven days. In Europe we'll have maybe 7%. I don't
have too much experience here, so I can't expect much. I hope to be
up with the fast racers, but I am going to be careful. It should be
a lot of fun this week."
Sheppard indicated that for him BC
Bike Race is about "enjoying amazing trails, scenery and
camaraderie. 70% singletrack over seven days is unheard of in bike
racing. Every day is the most fun and the trails are incredible."
Giving a nod to the European riders as being 'amazing, talented
athletes,' Sheppard pointed out that all the frontrunners have
their strengths on the trail. "At the end of the day we'll all walk
away with smiles on our faces," he said, "and hopefully I can walk
away with the 'golden fleece'!"
Wicks echoed the theme of fun
during BC Bike Race, but from a team perspective: "BCBR is unique
for having a team format. That's the magical thing about the event.
It's an adventure experience and I get to share it with someone.
When you go out riding for fun, you go with your buddies; it's cool
to have a race experience that offers that!" Wicks' teammate
Sneddon added, "Sure you have your blow-ups [as a team], but the
course is so cool that those blow ups fade away. It's nothing but
hi-fives at the finish line!'
Two names that have
drawn considerable attention BCBR followers are Brian Lopes and
Manny Osbourne-Paradis. Lopes, a known gravity racer, is making a
first appearance at BCBR. When asked about his preparation for a
multi-day stage race like BCBR, Lopes commented, "I rode my bike a
lot, more than normal for me…I'm not sure if it's enough!" And his
goals? "I've heard great things about the race and trails. I'm
going to try not to suffer too much. My goal is to have a smile on
my face and have fun."
Osbourne-Paradis is riding BC Bike Race as part of his rehab
program for a leg injury sustained during the last downhill race
season. Osbourne-Paradis, who crashed at approximately 125kmh on a
downhill run, is now four months post-op. "While rehabbing the
injury, I spent long hours on the stationary bike," said
Osbourne-Paradis, "and BC Bike Race was he light at the end of the
tunnel." He's partnered with longtime friend Greg McDougall, owner
of Harbour Air, the BC Bike Race founding sponsor. Osbourne-Paradis
grew up mountain biking but took a hiatus from the sport to ski
race. When asked, he confirmed that BC Bike Race might be his foray
into a new racing arena to complement the downhill focus.
Adding a splash of
colour to the stage, the Brazilian pairing of Cox and Boccia
showcased their newly acquired steeds for the week: a pair of pink,
custom-painted Rocky Mountain Bikes. The two, who have a love for
technical singletrack, will be hard to miss on the trails with the
bikes rounding out their head-to-toe pink race kit.
Director of Marketing, Andreas Hestler introduced a new twist in
the 2011 race format: the Rocky Mountain "Love the Ride" chip-timed
sections. On two days during race week riders will be timed on
short sections of singletrack to determine the fastest "hotspot"
rider of the day. "That's exciting!" interjected Mark Weir, who's
racing with partner Jason Moeschler. "There are more heroes that
way. It can really broaden your spectrum and this is a great
creative way to do that." Weir and Moeschler grew up together and
have been on the race circuit for years. They're excited for a
chance to race as a team and might give the Kona boys a run for
their money, though Weir gestured to Wicks and Sneddon saying,
"Keeping up with the tall guys will be t
Following a lively and entertaining Welcome Meeting, racers
boarded a convoy of busses headed to the first of four BC Ferries
scenic ocean crossings during the week-long event. A 90-minute
sailing brought the travelling show to Vancouver Island, the
location for the first two stages of the week. Many racers took
advantage of the sunny skies and caught some rays on the ship's
deck enroute to the Island.
Unique to this
version of the BC Bike Race is a two-night stay in the Village of
Cumberland - the first stop on the race agenda. Like all of the
communities through which BCBR travels, Cumberland rallies heartily
behind BCBR when it rolls into town. This year, racers arrived at
Base Camp, settled their gear into their tents and had the option
of attending an amazing fundraising dinner hosted by the Cumberland
Community Forest Society. The dinner was a huge success, with all
proceeds going to support the local trails.
Racers now tucked
into their tents for the night will wake up to see the impressive
inflatable BC Bike Race arch decorating the main drag in the heart
of Cumberland. Day One brings an amazing variety of the best trails
in the area, with a fast finish into the Base Camp area.
With such an
intriguing mix of top name athletes and riders from across the
globe, we're excited to see how the first day shakes out. Stay
North Vancouver was the hotspot
today as registration opened for the 5th edition of BC Bike Race.
Flagged on the agenda as Day -1, the first registration day was a
great opportunity for racers to get into the race week groove. A
large percentage of racers took advantage of the early registration
to pick up their swag, organize their gear and let the pre-race
The morning of Day 0 is the last opportunity for
racers to collect their race plates and jerseys before hopping the
ferry to Vancouver Island where they will spend the first night at
Base Camp in Cumberland. The starter's pistol will fire on Sunday,
July 3rd, right in the heart of Cumberland to see racers begin
their seven-day singletrack adventure.
Stay tuned right here in the BC
Bike Race Blog for daily updates and pics throughout the week.
For more frequent updates during
the day, check us out on Facebook and Twitter.
Interested in following some of the
racers throguhout the week? We've got links to their blogs as well.
BC Bike Race 2011 is in the