Frequently Asked Questions
The BC Bike Race is massive undertaking. We now you will have a lot of questions as you prepare for your race. Hopefully this section will clarify some details.
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. Stick to your training program and don’t cut corners. To give yourself the best chance at success, get comfortable riding in all weather conditions. It is important for you to know how you, your clothing, and your gear will perform in a variety of conditions that you may 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 cut-off times reasonable?
A: For our inaugural event we had an overall 96% completion rate for riders with success rates staying consistent over the past 13 years. Very few racers do not make cut-off 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 Basecamp. Missing a cut-off time does not mean you must drop out of the race; it only means that you will not be awarded a Finisher belt buckle. We strongly encourage you to ride out the remaining stages of the race to make the most of your BC Bike Race experience.
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 appropriate solo category. 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 in this new category. Overall winners in each category must start and finish in the same category for the week.
Q: Will we be able to have our own food and water bottles at the Aid Stations during each Stage?
A: No, racers will not be able to stage your own personal items anywhere on the course. You will have to carry everything that you need for the day. The Aid Stations will have a variety of food, snacks, water and hydration products available.
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 well to protect the bikes during transportation. Our packers are sensitive to the challenges of packing high-end bicycles and all precautions are 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 racer check-in. You will not be permitted to strap anything to the outside of your bag. BCBR will provide a “mini-bag” which you will take with you on bus/ferries transfers. 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 0 or +5C (Celsius) sleeping bag would be fine. We highly recommend that you bring a good quality sleeping mat, to ensure the best possible recovery between stages. BCBR does provide a 10mm insulated foam pad for each racer, but if you wish to have the most fun, best time and enjoy the overall experience - please, please bring your own “Quality Sleeping Mat.”!
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 have three different serving times and can accommodate everyone.
Q: What if I have food allergies or special meal requirements?
A: While we can accommodate most dietary requirements, racers with food allergies should make their own preparations for special food.
Q: Will there be any options for me to purchase other menu items or eat elsewhere?
A: Not from BCBR, but we encourage racers to support local businesses in the communities hosting each stage. In some cases, we will have local food vendors set up at our Basecamps.
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: Why are you limiting registration?
A: Simple: we want to ensure that we execute a world-class event, to this end, each racers enjoyment of the singletrack is taken into consideration via the prologue and seeding. The quality and integrity of the trails and the their maintenance also mandate careful consideration of the routes and the volume of ridership we put out onto the trails. These considerations and certainly a few others are why the number of racers per year is capped
Q: Can I race solo?
A: Absolutely! BC Bike Race has both teams of two and solo categories available. Year to year the numbers within each category change, but on the whole we average 75% solo. What we have found is that most racers will find a group that rides the same speed and your week will be fueled by the shared experience with those riders.
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 on Day 1 of racing.
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 racers traveling from outside 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, or extracted by helicopter 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 which determines their position within their category and the Overall General Classification (GC). 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 a short prologue on day 1, followed by 6 days, some days with multiple 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 to the top racers’ time 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 complexity of creating a truly great course, it takes balance, like baking a cake. We have arrived at this recipe over the last 14 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 range from Vancouver to Squamish are rocky, rooty and retain the rainforests moisture, while the Fraser Valley is drier and has more rocky outcroppings with slightly different vegetation. During BC Bike Race, you will traverse unique forests, trails and a vast array of singletracks, ranging from duffy, lush and manicured to wild rooty and rocky.
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, most of these will be at the start or finish and assist with getting riders out on course or bringing them home. Roads between singletracks are some of the only places to consume food and water along the journey, please take advantage of these breaks to recover and refuel. These epic cycling events are by nature about travel, distance and experience, 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 racer should carry a jacket with them on course. We also recommend bringing warm clothes to wear around Basecamp at night, as the temperature can drop rapidly at the end of the day.