BC Bike Race 2018: Day 7 – Squamish

BC Bike Race 2018: Day 7 – Squamish

Stage 7 Presented by Shimano: Squamish Distance: 56km Climbing: 1681m Featured Trail: Half Nelson Results Morning temps for the burly 56 km final stage of BC Bike Race in Squamish were expected to be in the mid 20s soaring to the low 30s in the afternoon. Some of BCBR’s 90 Mexican participants might consider it a chilly spring day. On the coast we call it hot. Perennially a people’s choice favorite, the Squamish course was about to serve up a veritable smorgasbord of sumptuous singletrack. After a 5km warm up on asphalt to wake legs fatigued from six days in the saddle, tires hit dirt on Lumberjack, a swift XC beauty that traverses over to the dense Alice Lake zone. Once again overnight dew made the morning dirt super tacky. After Lumberjack, racers settled into ascending mode on the perfectly graded 50 Shades of Grey, followed by the techy, power move and rock slab playground. “I came here for two reasons, to have fun and to finish it,” said Texan James Childre, as he granny geared up 50 Shades of Grey in a line of racers as long as a coal train. Meanwhile among the leaders, a battle royale was underway. The always analytical Jeremiah Bishop was hoping once again to leverage his climbing strength to gain time on the faster descenders. But finding weaknesses in Geoff Kabush’s game is like finding fault in a saint; the defending BCBR champ and yellow jersey holder shreds as fast down as he pedals up and has the technical chops of someone who grew up riding West Coast singletrack. And Francois Bailly-Maitre...
BC Bike Race 2018: Day 6 – North Vancouver

BC Bike Race 2018: Day 6 – North Vancouver

Stage 6 Presented by Lululemon: North Vancouver Distance: 19km Climbing: 962m Featured Trail: John Deere A male rider racing in the top 30 and flying a foreign flag stops midway down Dale’s to adjust his seat height with an allan key. Wrong! You’re obviously not from around here boy. It’s day 6. Welcome to the North Store. Time to bust out the baggy shorts and activate the dropper post. During the mostly road ascent to the top of the first descent, any delusions about this 18km stage being a smooth and easy day were shattered the second rubber touched dirt and granite on Corkscrew. Minutes later, Pingu closed the deal. Sunlight filtered through the rainforest; a thread of North Shore gnar weaved among the coastal giants. Morning dew left a glaze of grease on the rocks and boulders. The dirt was as tacky as 60 grit sandpaper. Conditions - perfect. That is, for those who cut their teeth on steep, rooty, singletrack. For those who have only heard tales of the North Shore, it might be the ultimate singletrack test. They say mountain biking was born in Marin County; that may be so, but it came of age on the North Shore. Ya, I know, it’s been said before. Who cares? It’s true. Todays stage included a timed section, RedBull Downtime - a chance for all the participants to show their DH skills against the clock. Forever After is a classic Mt. Seymour favorite that allow riders to pump and flow at speed, not without some pedaling it represents a true taste of North Shore gnar. “This is our...
BC Bike Race 2018: Day 5 – Sechelt to Langdale

BC Bike Race 2018: Day 5 – Sechelt to Langdale

Stage 5 Presented by Shimano: Sechelt to Langdale Distance: 49km Climbing: 1403m Featured Trail: Rio Grande Specialized’s Hannah Barnes has ridden in stage races from the Andes to southern France. Some are simply a series of soul crushing climbs followed by equally soul crushing gravel road descents. Lumps of coal when you were expecting diamonds. Not the BC Bike Race. Yes the climbs are tough, but at the top of each ascent lies a diamond - a tasty ribbon of singletrack to sink the knobby tires into. “The days are shorter at BCBR but they’re way more fun,” said the Fort William, Scotland based Lululemon athlete and first time BCBR participant. The takeaway? Longer isn’t necessarily better. The BCBR team works closely with the host mountain biking communities to ensure that racers sample the best trail in each stage. At the same time, local mountain biking advocates are keen to the show the world the best of BC singletrack. That is the essence of BCBR - the Ultimate Singletrack Experience, and it’s the reason the event pumps money back into trail work and maintenance in the towns they visit every year. It’s day 5, the Sechelt to Gibson stage. If this point-to-point was a rainbow, then Route 102 would be the pot of gold at the end. This uninterrupted 9km winding, bermed singletrack slice of deliciousness drops from the final grueling road climb after Aid Station 2 and spits riders into Gibson’s Landing and the BC Ferries Langdale terminal. But there was work do first. The morning broke bluebird clear - heat was going to be a factor. Yesterday...
BC Bike Race 2018: Day 4 – Earls Cove to Sechelt

BC Bike Race 2018: Day 4 – Earls Cove to Sechelt

Stage 4 Presented by Ryders Eyewear: Earls Cove to Sechelt Distance: 62km Climbing: 1758m Featured Trail: VFR   “After that trail, if there’s one game I’ll never play again it’s Frogger,” said an American rider, between laboured breaths. He was in the middle of a multinational chain of BC Bike Racers that included a Chilean, Frenchman, Guatemalan and a Canadian. Forty kilometers into a 62-km day, climbs like the Sechelt classic Frogger can feel like salt on an open wound. That’s when camaraderie is forged on the trail though - the unspoken language of mutual, dig-deep suffering. But there is always a reward. At the top of this ascent lies, well, another ascent, but eventually there’s the loamy deliciousness of the stage’s feature trail, VFR. This international cast of riders were deep in the pocket. You won’t recognize their names. They’re not sponsored, their faces don’t appear in bike magazines, and battling for a podium position isn’t even on the radar. Pre-race registration in North Vancouver now seems like a distant memory as riders try to sort out and catalogue the path behind them. Maple Syrup, Vanilla, Cream Soda - the list goes on like a sumptuous menu of singletrack cocktails. They’re here because they’ve heard tales of epic BC singletrack and the legend of the BC Bike Race. It’s day 4 - the Queen stage, an off road odyssey between Earl’s Cove and Sechelt on BC’s stunning Sunshine Coast. With nearly 1800m of ascending on the day’s menu and after more than 130km of trail already covered in three days, leg muscles will be barking. The day began...
BC Bike Race 2018: Day 3 – Powell River

BC Bike Race 2018: Day 3 – Powell River

From full-on to flow Karl Platt (Team Bulls) steals the Day 3 podium from Kabush on the smooth rolling XC trails of Powell River before a burly day tomorrow. Stage 3 Presented by Rocky Mountain: Powell River Distance: 52km Climbing: 1046m Featured Trail: Death Rattle and Sweetwater Creek Last night as BC Bike Racers enjoyed a classic Powell River sunset an eagle flew overhead with a freshly caught salmon in its talons with two jet black ravens giving chase. Was it simply another Beautiful BC moment or a portent of things to come? Following the second stage in Cumberland, Geoff Kabush had a firm grip on the yellow jersey. However BCBR vets Sam Schultz and Cory Wallace, both with unfinished business from 2017, along with Frenchman Francois Bailley-Maitre and Quinn Moberg, had Kabush in their sights. After two days of rooty and rocky Vancouver Island tech singletrack, a little respite was in store as racers awoke at the beautiful Willingdon Beach campground to face a 52km course - no soul crushing climbs but plenty of loamy cross country trails and road spinning rests in between. Powell River has embraced the BC Bike Race with wide open arms since it became a regular stage back in 2010. It shows in the enthusiastic Powell River citizens, some avid mountain bikers but many not, who show up to cheer racers, serve shots of virgin pina coladas at the now legendary Tiki Bar, or even dress up in a devil costume and shout “Welcome to the darkness!” as racers entered an underpass. It takes commitment to stay in devil character for six hours...
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