Happy fourth. Long day here, but I got a little somethin’ to slap up on the blog. Feeling pretty wasted tonight, chamois butter is becoming a critical part of my existence.
The Bike Magazine team of Kip Mikler and Mark Sevenoff (a ringer from Moab) celebrated the Fourth of July by taking jabs from Canadians at Stage 4 of the B.C. Bike Race. Here’s Kip’s report from wherever he was able to poach a wireless internet connection.
Happy Fourth of July from the seaside town of Sechelt, our stop for the night after a long day of ferry riding and bike racing. Since I have some chamois washing to attend to and the bike needs a little love after a rough day in the B.C. singletrack (and I’m shot as usual at 10 p.m.), I’ll keep this one short.
By most accounts, the 60-kilometer stage four on the Sunshine Coast featured the best trails yet. For my teammate Sevy and I, it was a pretty steady day. I had my first mechanical: I gashed a tubeless front tire on a rocky, high-speed descent, but the tire change went fairly smoothly and we worked our way back into the group of riders we’re getting to know so well this week.
That’s the thing about this race. I was talking to Trek pro Chris Eatough last night (half of the leading duo, who won yet again on Wednesday to stretch their lead), and he said one of the coolest things about a seven-day race like this is that you get to know so many people. “You sort of miss it when it’s over and you go your separate ways,” Eatough said.
After a 4:30 wake-up call on Wednesday morning, a group of us piled into race director Dean Payne’s pimped out R.V., known as “The Executive,” grabbed some gas-station coffee, and headed to our first ride on a B.C. Ferry. The B.C. Ferries company is a sponsor of the B.C. Bike Race and super-supportive of the event. We had spectacular views of the snow-covered peaks as we crossed the water from Vancouver Island to the Sunshine Coast on two different ferry boats. The race then started right at the Earls Cove Sea Ferry Terminal. It was a long morning, and a cellophane-wrapped ham sammy might not have been the optimum race fuel.
After a few cool, rainy days, Wednesday was the first stage to test riders with hot conditions. The Canadians figured Sevy and I, being from Moab and SoCal respectively, would be right at home, and I must admit that after Tuesday’s misadventures in the slimy roots and mud of Cumberland, some dryer terrain was a welcome relief to me. The majority of riders here are Canadian, and for any Americans considering taking on the race next year, I can tell you that it truly does offer the type of gnarly trails you’d expect. We hit dozens of bridges today—the type that are straight out of the Bike magazine Buzz section—and the twisty, technical, purpose-built trails are unlike anything I’ve ridden in places like Colorado, Utah or California.
That’s it for now. Time to drink one Budweiser in honor of Independence Day, finish the laundry job, change some tires and get ready for a singletrack-heavy day on Thursday. Stage five is the shortest of the week (Hallelujah!), and the locals tell me we’re in for some sweet trails. Bike magazine publisher Derek DeJonge is due to ride on Thursday—I’ll try to get a post-race interview with him.