By Gavin Grobbelaar - Ultra Media
Photos by John Gibson
Stage 3 in Kalamalka Lake started on an overcast but warm morning that set the scene with showers temporarily sprinkling the riders as they left the start line in the valley of Coldstream. Ahead lay the relentless quad-burning climb which brought riders to the much-anticipated and feared Big Ed descent.
“Big E” as he is now affectionately known by riders who managed to maneuver their way down this juggernaut of a descent that induces fist pumps and back slapping once riders realize they have tamed the trail, dominated the topic of animated discussions at the finish line today.
“Big E” lived up to his reputation forcing wide eyes and tight knuckles. Once he was done with riders he spat them out onto some of the most amazing views of the event this far with Kalamalka Lake enticing riders to its shores.
Front-of-the-pack rider Jason Sager (CompetitiveCyclist.com) was overheard saying it was the most rowdy downhill he has ever ridden on a XC bike. Big respect to all who tamed the beast.
We prepared ourselves for an epic battle out there today and the sharp end of the field definitely did not disappoint as riders fought for the top step of the podium in ST6 and our top riders sealed the deal in the final stage of ST3.
Leader of ST6, Cory Wallace put the hammer down again today extending his lead over second position to just over 8 minutes in the General Classification. Tristan Uhl, recent winner of BC Bike Race, had a solid ride finishing in second place with Andreas Hartmann (Craft Rocky Mountain) in 3rd place.
We eagerly await the outcome of a stage that will subject riders to the real dry heat of the Okanagan prepared by Pace Sports Fitness.
In the women’s race Kate Aardal (Ridley’s Cycle) stamped her authority on the rest of the chasing pack opening up her lead further over 2nd place Carmen Labbe (Kicking Horse Coffee) and Nicole Muzechka (Deadgoat Racing) in 3rd Place.
The ST3 event wrapped up today and what a finish it proved to be as Kalamalka Lake was the perfect send off to riders after a challenging and beautiful 3 stages of riding.
Olympian and XC World Champion Catharine Pendrel (Luna) was an absolute gem and ambassador for the sport as she took the overall win in the same week she will be riding a UCI World Cup. Kris Sneddon (Kona) took the overall win in the men’s event, proving his professionalism and credentials.
Next up: Stage 4 - Myra Bellevue Provincial Park
Taking place in Myra Bellevue Provincial Park, Stage 4 offers up an incredible mix of terrain featuring loose rock, power climbs, exposed trail through burned out landscape and technical descents with rock drops of up to two feet. Oh, and some long climbs to amazing views.
Full results here.