Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How difficult will the race be physically?
A: This will probably be one of the more challenging accomplishments of your life - both physically and mentally. To ensure you can do it, you should have experience riding in cold, wet, hot, dry, dusty and muddy conditions. It is important for you to know how you, your clothing, and your bike will perform in a variety of conditions that you will find on the West Coast trails. It is also recommended that you consult a physician to be sure you are physically fit enough to do the BC Bike Race.
Q: What’s the overall success rate for riders? Are your cutoff times reasonable?
A: For our inaugural race in 2007, we had an overall 96% completion rate for riders. The last few years have yielded similar success rates. Very few racers did not make cutoff times, except in instances of mechanical failures or medical issues.
Q: What happens if my team doesn’t make the cut off time one day?
A: We will assist you in getting off the course and back to Base Camp. Missing a cutoff time does not mean you must dropout of the race; it only means that you will not be awarded a Finisher medal. And we strongly encourage you to ride out the remaining stages of the race, as you will still receive a Participant medal and are eligible for stage wins!
Q: What if one of the members of the team cannot continue?
A: If your partner is unable to continue, we will switch you to the solo category and issue you a new racer number and bike plate. You will be able to finish as an official Finisher and will be eligible for stage wins in your new category, however you will not be eligible for an overall award.
Q: Will we be able to have our own food and water bottles at the Aid Stations during each Stage?
A: You will have to carry everything that you need for the day. The Aid Stations will have a variety of snacks and water but you will not be able to have your own personal items staged there.
Q: How will bikes be transported and loaded/unloaded? How will they be stored? What is the system for protecting bikes at night?
A: The security and protection of your bike is of the utmost importance to us at BC Bike Race. Your bikes will be moved in transport truck trailers and will be packed tightly to limit any movement during transportation. Our packers are sensitive to the challenges of clustering expensive bicycles and all precautions will be taken to ensure no damage is done to the bikes. After each ride you will be able to store your bike in our bike security area or a transport trailer until you need it the next day.
Q: How big is the bag for all my gear?
A: 30″ x 16.5″ x 12″ - 85L capacity
Q: Am I allowed to have an extra bag for my daily gear?
A: No. You will be able to fit everything you need into the Racer Bag provided at package pick-up. You will not be permitted to strap anything to the outside of your bag. BCBR will provide a designated “mini-bag” which you will take with you on bus/ferries transport days. This means you can bring a jacket or warm clothes for the crossings and then drop it all with us at the start line.
Q: Do I need to bring a sleeping bag and Therm-a-rest?
A: Yes. A +5C bag would be fine. We provide a 1cm insulated foam pad for each racer, but it is highly recommended that you bring your own sleeping pad/Therm-a-rest.
Q: Does my sleeping bag have to fit in my gear bag?
A: Yes – compression sacks work wonders!
Q: What if I am really late finishing one day, will there still be food left?
A: Absolutely! We are scheduling multiple set serving times or rolling dinners for participants.
Q: What if I have food allergies or special meal requirements?
A: Racers with food allergies should make their own preparations for special food - BCBR cannot take responsibility for customizing racer meals.
Q: Will there be any options for me to purchase other menu items or eat elsewhere?
A: Not from BCBR, but certainly from the communities hosting each stage. In some cases, we will have local food vendors set up at our Base Camps.
Q: Do I need a support team for this race?
A: No, your all-inclusive race entry covers everything you need to get from the start line on Day 1 to the finish line on Day 7.
Q: Can I tow my partner?
A: Towing will be permitted in emergencies only. It is not a viable option as a regular part of the race.
Q: Can I drive to the Start Line each day?
A: No. On many days, we will be starting and finishing in different communities, so you cannot drive yourself.
Q: Can I stay in a hotel on some nights and in a tent on others?
A: Yes, but all means! You can stay in hotels every night, or at our basecamp in tents every night, or whatever combination you choose. If you’d like to be in a hotel, we recommend the ones listed on our Accommodation Page. If you choose to stay in hotels, you should consider our Hotel Shuttle Upgrade, providing transportation services between the hotels and Base Camp multiple times daily. Remember that tenting will NOT be provided on Day Seven.
Q: Why are you limiting registration?
A: Simple: we want to ensure that we execute a world-class event.
Q: Can I race solo?
A: Absolutely! In 2009 we opened up solo entries for BC Bike Race! Racers asked and we listened.
Q: Is there a minimum age requirement to enter BC Bike Race?
A: To compete in BC Bike Race you must be at least 19 years old.
Q: You’ve mentioned that insurance is strongly recommended for all racers outside of Canada, what should our insurance cover?
A: We highly recommend travel medical insurance for all of our racers coming from outside of Canada. It should cover all potential medical expenses you may incur, including any additional non-medical costs incurred during treatment. In the event that you need to be transported to hospital, you should have coverage for these costs (including the costs of extraction in the event you need to be pulled off trail). If you need to return to your home immediately, your insurance should also cover any repatriation costs. Any future rehabilitation costs should also be covered. If you do not have ample insurance coverage, BC Bike Race will not be responsible for covering anything not covered by your insurance.
Q: What exactly is a mountain bike “stage” race?
A: In a multi-day stage race, such as BC Bike Race, competitors start each day in a wave start, working their way against the clock and through the course to the daily finish line. Racers’ finish times are recorded at the end of each day completed. At the end of the race, each of the stage race times is added up to calculate the overall winners in each category. In BC Bike Race, we have 7 days, or 7 stages, of incredible singletrack mountain bike racing.
Q: How long is each stage of the race?
A: In general, the daily distance will be from 25-50 km, with a completion time in the range of 4 hours for the average rider. Here are some insights from Andreas Hestler, “Because single track and fire road have different average speeds we will attempt to create stages between 3- 6 hours. The winners’ finish times will be on the shorter side, so an average rider can expect to add 1-2 hours on to each day. As a side note, the intention is to vary both the terrain and the completion times. If we did 6-8 hours each day for 7 days we would be dead tired and unable to enjoy the beauty of this region; if we did fire road for 7 days we would be bored silly; and, if we did singletrack for 7 days for longer than 6 hours each, again we would be completely blown. So you see the difficulty of creating a truly great course, it takes balance, like baking a cake. We have arrived at this recipe over the last 9 years and have a satisfaction rate of 95%, enjoy!”
Q: What sort of terrain will the course cover?
A: The terrain here on the West Coast is very diverse. The Coastal Mountains that form the North Shore are pretty formidable obstacles. Vancouver Island, the home of Canada’s National Cycling Centre, is also unique in its coastal properties. During BC Bike Race, you will traverse unique picturesque places ranging from duffy, lush, west coast rain forest to high alpine mountain passes.
Q: What’s the overall course elevation and profile?
A: Please view each individual Stage page for specifics.
Q: Will there be a lot of road riding?
A: There will not be a lot of road riding, but during some stages to get from A to B we will spend some limited time on pavement, doubletrack, or gravel fire roads. Some people will find the interaction and group riding combined with singletrack to be very exhilarating. These epic cycling events are by nature about travel and distance, and our goal is to offer more user-friendly singletrack than any other race in its category. Given that we are in British Columbia, the mecca of mountain biking, that won’t be a problem.
Q: What sort of weather should we expect during the race?
A: BC Bike Race occurs during one of our warmest times of the year, but we are still on the coast and in the mountains, so the weather can change quickly and drastically. To give you an idea though, here’s a brief look at the Race Week weather data for the last couple of years. Average Max Temp: 25 degrees C Average Min Temp: 9 degrees C Highest Temp: 33 degrees C Lowest Temp: 7 degrees C 20% chance of rain What does this mean? Come prepared for anything. Even when a day starts out sunny and warm, you could be finishing in the rain and cold. For this reason, every rider must carry a jacket with them while racing. We also recommend bringing warm clothes to wear around Base Camp at night, as the temperature can drop rapidly at the end of the day.