STAGE 7 – Squamish

STAGE 7 – Squamish

Stage 7 - Squamish| Presented By: Harbour Air Seaplanes | Distance: 52.6 kms | Elevation Gain: 1681 meters Sunny skies broke over Squamish for the first time in three days along the BC coast. It was shaping up to be a perfect finale to a week of incredible racing. BCBR started with a quick tune-up Prologue on Vancouver’s North Shore. This lightning fast mini-stage seeded racers for the feast of single-track stage racing that would follow. From the North Shore, they traveled to North Cowichan on Vancouver Island for a two-mountain, one-stage opening day on some beautiful Mount Tzouhalem and Maple Mountain trail. Then it was off to the grit of Cumberland’s hand built singletrack, slick and spicy from some overnight rain that would raise the pucker factor. After two stages on the Cumberland network, it was over to the Sunshine Coast. Light rain would keep the three Sunshine Coast stages, with stunning trails winding through old growth forest, in super tack conditions. Today it was Squamish and its seriously sick stack of singletrack -the venue for stage 7. Yesterday there was drama on course. Crashes and some interesting shuffling of personalities on the podium at the top made for an interesting day. Felix Burke (Rocky Mountain) dropped the hammer mid-stage 6 and continued to push the pace, rolling across the Langdale finish line first and building up a 3 min-plus cumulative lead on his weeklong rival Geoff Kabush (Yeti-Maxxis.) Kabush was kept off the podium that day, while Benjamin Sontag (Clif Bar) suffered a crash on the final descent that left him with a broken arm and out...
STAGE 6 – Sechelt to Langdale

STAGE 6 – Sechelt to Langdale

Stage 6 - Sechelt to Langdale | Presented By: Shimano | Distance: 49.3 kms | Elevation Gain: 1403 meters After five stages, the trail starts to take its toll. Yesterday was a grinder, a boat load of up and down, with plenty of fast pedaling to make the legs beg for mercy. Racers woke to a grey but eerily calm sky dangling over Sechelt and the chicken, BCBR’s community alarm clock. It was a leg-stretching 10-minute stroll to another hearty and delicious Whistler Cooks breakfast for all 600 racers, many of them exhibiting a little wear and tear. Soon it was go time; time to get into the mental zone required to bite off a burly 50 km stage, with a grand finale 7-km descent to the ferry terminal at Langdale. In the Solo Men category, Lucky 13 was shaping up to be one of the most exciting contests in recent BCBR history. A battle of strategy and endurance, between the youthful power and exuberance of Felix Burke (Rocky Mountain) and the calm experience of BCBR defending champion Geoff Kabush (Yeti-Maxxis.) But there were others in the competitive mix. Benjamin Sontag (Clif Bar,) winner of the 2010 La Ruta de los Conquistsadores, is new to BCBR but has been nipping at the back tires of leaders all week. Payson McElveen (Orange Seal-Trek) another newcomer to this race, won the Powell River stage and rode a strong race yesterday, narrowly missing a podium finish. He was looking increasingly confident, and willing to apply heat to 1st and 2nd placers, Burke and Kabush. Kerry Werner (7mesh-Kona) is a BCBR alumnus who...
STAGE 5 – Earls Cove to Sechelt

STAGE 5 – Earls Cove to Sechelt

STAGE 5 - Earls Cove to Sechelt | Presented by: Ryders Eyewear | Distance: 57.8 kms | Elevation Gain: 1663 meters It’s Stage 5. Racers are in a relationship now - with BC singletrack. But the honeymoon is over. And like any relationship, this one’s going to take effort if its’ going to work. BCBR participants woke this morning to the sound of rain on the tent fly and nervous chatter about the 58 km point-to-point stage that would take riders from Earls Cove to Sechelt, by way of some sick sections of Sunshine Coast single track, like AC/DC, the crushed granite of Highway to Hell, the leg burner of a climb Frogger, the sinuously sumptuous Feature Trail Flying Squirrel, and the sting in the tail climb of VFR before the final descent to Sechelt. In between there would be some high speed pedaly sections of km-smashing double track that would be welcomed by some, dreaded by others. After breakfast in Powell River, racers were shuttled to Saltery Bay then boarded a BC Ferries vessel and Harbour Air floatplanes for the trip across the inlet to Earls Cove, where their bikes were waiting like well-fed horses ready to race for a casual 11 am start. But there was nothing casual about this beast of a stage. It was a brief spin uphill from the start line, before racers started sinking their teeth into a mid-morning appetizer of fast dirt and gravel. After yesterday’s Powell River single track tour de force, Payson McElveen (Team Orange Seal – Trek) seemed to be taking a liking to Sunshine Coast dirt, pedaling to a Stage...
BC Bike Race STAGE 4

BC Bike Race STAGE 4

STAGE 4 - Powell River | Presented by: Rocky Mountain | Distance: 49.4 kms | Elevation Gain: 1008 meters The heat is intensifying. Burke maintains a 3 second lead on Kabush but he’s far from comfortable. Red sky at night, mountain biker’s delight. Yesterday racers snapped Insta pix of a gorgeous evening as the sun set over the Strait of Georgia. Spirits were high, buoyed by a dry forecast. Call it the calm before the rainstorm that was forecasted for Wednesday. However Today presented ideal conditions for tackling Stage 4, Powell River’s pedal-intensive 50 km course. The road warriors were  going to be happy. For breakfast, they would gorge on nearly 10-plus km of road before diving into Stage 4’s first section of sustained singletrack - Suicide Creek Trail, a dreamy 8-km long XC masterpiece that slices a 8km-long horseshoe through electric green forest. A tad lower on the technical scale, this stage threatened to shake things up among the men at the top and perhaps play into the hands of a Paysen McElveen (Team Orange Seal – Trek,) a Benjamin Sontag (Team Clif Bar) or a Michael Van den Ham (Garneau – Easton Cycling,) all three of them monsters who can eat asphalt and gravel for breakfast, lunch and dinner, if they’re hungry enough. In Solo Women, Katerina Nash (Team Clif Bar) was proving equally punishing on the climbs as she is on technical descents. So far she was leaving little room for doubt, and less room for attacks. “I’ve been asking myself that question for the past two days,” said Bellingham-based Courtenay McFadden (Team Pivot-Maxxis,) who enjoyed...
BC Bike Race, STAGE 2 – Cumberland

BC Bike Race, STAGE 2 – Cumberland

BC Bike Race STAGE 2 - Cumberland | Presented by: Maxxis | Distance: 40.1 kms | Elevation Gain: 1183 meters Sometimes they like to serve it up greasy in Cumberland. For West Coast mountain bikers, a little drizzle puts a little dazzle into the trail. However, for BCBR’s guests from Spain, Mexico, the American Southwest and anywhere else where a drop of rain is enough to cancel a ride, they were left wondering who smeared bacon fat on the roots and rocks of the local trails. It was Stage 2, and racers lined up at the start along the village’s historic main street beneath grey skies, many of them oblivious to the lung-buster that awaited them - 10 km of steep gravel road ascending that would deliver them to the top of the Cumberland trail network and their first downhill singletrack snack of the day. It’s a doozy, Further Burger. Almost flowy when it’s dry but with a patina of rain, a blur of sidehill, off camber roots and rocks, and tight trees that seem to reach out and grab your handlebars. Yesterday’s stage left us wondering if Katerina Nash (Team Clif Bar) would maintain her headlock on the yellow jersey and fend of challenges from Courtenay McFadden (Team Pivot-Maxxis) and Jenna Greaser (Rocky Mountain.) In Solo Men, nothing could be taken for granted. Felix Burke (Rocky Mountain) clearly has his focus trained on the yellow jersey. So too does Kerry Werner (Team Kona-Maxxis-Shimano.) But Geoff Kabush (Team Yeti-Maxxis) would not be easy to dethrone, least of all in Cumberland, which is basically home turf for this Comox Valley-raised...
BC Bike Race, STAGE 1 – Cowichan Valley

BC Bike Race, STAGE 1 – Cowichan Valley

Presented by: Clif Bar | Distance: 40.7 kms | Elevation Gain: 962 meters It was business time this morning as elite men and women rolled up to the start line hoping to put Katerina Nash (Team Clif Bar) and Geoff Kabush (Team Yeti-Maxxis) on notice that this year the BCBR story will unfold in a different fashion. One the menu: the incredible two-mountain, tidal wave of fun that is Stage 1, in the beautiful Cowichan Valley. 2018 BCBR participants will remember hot temps, sweat in the eyeballs, dust, baby heads and marbles under the tires. This year, you couldn’t have dreamed up a better scenario for Stage 1; light rain and a moderate 20 C on the thermometer made for tack-a-licious trail conditions. Chalk it up to Lucky 13. And racers were indeed lucky as they dove into Grand Traverse, the definition of an uphill flow trail switchbacking through cool Douglas fir forest. Benjamin Sonntag and Payson McElveen Katerina Nash The Prologue had set the stage for some interesting single track battles in the week ahead. Would the experience and power of Kabush prevail over young gun Felix Burke (Rocky Mountain)? In Solo Women, would Nash’s string of BCBR stage wins continue unchallenged? Cyclocross hammerhead Courtenay McFadden (Team Pivot-Maxxis,) Emile Shields (Team ADF) and Jenna Greaser (Rocky Mountain) hoped to change that narrative. McKay Vezina After a lung crushing 40 minute singletrack ascent of Tzouhalem, the lead pack tackled the rock-tech of Rocky Mountain Ridge. When they hit Tzouhalem’s feature trail, the burm and turn deliciousness of Double D, a perky charge by enduro EWS racer, McKay Vezina had him leading, followed closely by Ottawa shredder Davis Ross. But these pretenders to the throne would...