How’s this for the start of the fourth day of epic mountain biking? A 4:30am wake-up call as pre-cursor to watching the remnants of a beautiful sunrise over the Georgia Strait while waiting to board the first BC Ferries crossing of the day.
With racers seeded in the starting chute, course director Rod Camposano shared trail insights and highlights. It would be a relentlessly hilly day. All were on Open Men local favorite Kris Sneddon and his partner Barry Wicks (Team Kona) as well as the remaining top 3 teams, Jamis/Santa Cruz, DCM and Trek.
Through the first three days of racing, the competition between these teams has generated considerable buzz. However, the real focal point of today’s battle was the fact that Sneddon grew up in this area and even helped to build some of the trails. It was time to find out how much advantage knowing the trails actually can bring.
For the majority of the race, Team Kona lead the group through all of the singletrack but always had Seamus McGrath and Chris Sheppard (Jamis/Santa Cruz) stuck on their rear wheels. In the end, Team Kona would take the stage in 3:27:46 and retain their GC lead, with Team Jamis/Santa Cruz right behind in 3:28:04.
Appropriately, the homegrown Canadian wins the stage on Canada Day.
South Africa’s Team DCM, in the process of securing their third-place position over Trek, is proving to be incredibly strong on the climbs, but less technically.
The big question at the finish line was what happened that allowed Kona to gap out McGrath and Sheppard in the very last ten minutes of the race.
Sneddon recappped the competition, "Well it was mostly just givin’er as fast as we could in the singletrack. There are also a couple of corners where if you don’t really know the course, then you are afraid to go too fast around. It’s just too scary. We just got a little bit of a gap, and I think they probably hit their brakes a little bit on stuff like that and we slowly spread it out a little bit. But trust me, we were going scary fast. It was sort of a chance we took and it would be pretty easy to go off the bike. We were full out, full throttle and you don’t want to be breaking the bike. We don’t really want to do it."
The Solo Men’s category is heating up right now, too, as current GC leader, Colin Kerr, blasted across the Sechelt finish line in 3:43:13. But that was only good for second place. Unbeknownst to Colin, until nearly the finish, Ruedi Schnyer had closed the gap and attacked in the final feet, crossing line in 3:43:11. Next across was Kevin Calhoun, in 3:49:20, and early stage winner, Tony Hogg, crossed approximately seven minutes later. This will be a close contest throughout the remaining three stages.
BC Bike Race: Day 4 Photos
BC Bike Race: Day 3 Results BC Bike Race: Day 3 Photos
BC Bike Race: Day 2 Results
BC Bike Race: Day 2 Photos
BC Bike Race: Day 1 Results
BC Bike Race: Day 1 Photos