When most cyclists sign up for a mountain bike race, they can expect to climb on their bikes and ride either loops of a single circuit or a point-to-point course of trails. It’s doubtful whether they anticipate a scenic ferry crossing as part of the “warm-up.”
For the almost 400 BC Bike Race participants, an early wake up in North Vancouver precluded their voyage across the Georgia Straight to Vancouver Island.
Once on the island, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police led the controlled start that carried racers to the races first drop in of the day. From there until the first feed zone—anywhere from 80 minutes onward—riders gobbled up endless polished singletrack. Local riders, working with trail groups, hand-build and painstakingly maintain the trails, some of which were purpose-built for this second BC Bike Race stage. Their efforts were not lost on the pack.
Seamus McGrath and Chris Sheppard (Team Jamis-Santa Cruz) were new to the trails in this area. “We didn’t know what to expect, but it was honestly some of the best trail that we’ve seen. It was relentless, fast, flowing, tight and technical. A little of everything—drop offs, bridges—of what mountain biking is about. There were some great new sections. Whoever built it deserves a bunch of clapping!”
McGrath and Sheppard started out tight with the Kona team of Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks, but at the end of the day, Team Kona was the first to finish in 3:23:42, edging out yesterday’s leaders by a mere 3 seconds to claim the yellow jersey for tomorrow’s stage. Chris Eatough and Jeff Schalk (Trek/VW) rounded out the top three for the day.
Once again, Team Luna Chix—Catharine Pendrel and Katerina Nash—dominated the Women’s Open category with a 3:57:08 finish. Yesterday’s two and three spots stayed the same today with Alison Sydor and Lea Davidson (Rocky Mountain) in second and Lisa Ludwig and Dawn Anderson (Oak Bay Bikes) in third.
The remaining categories saw no change on this second day of racing.
This day’s technical singletrack bonanza produced much more weary riders at the finish. A few unfortunate racers experienced dehydration on course and found themselves hooked up to an I-V at the medical tent for a fast shot of fluids.
Much post-race chatter centred around the how many riders underestimated the fatiguing nature of the undulating technical singletrack. “I’ve got a new quote for you today,” said one local North Vancouver rider, “That f’in hurt! It really was unbelievable riding. Draw a chalk line around me, I’m done!”
The new solo category has attracted a broad range of riders from hardcore competitors to weekend warriors who lost their race partner for various reasons.
Dan, a solo rider from Colorado, rolled through the oceanside finish looking dusty and weary. “I’m wrecked, but that was unbelievable,” he said, wiping sweat and grit from his face. “I never imagined the riding would be like this. I think I might end up living here. I’m on a life changing journey and it might be starting here.”