Thursday’s BC Bike Race route, the second one on the Sunshine Coast, was much anticipated by both BCBR staff and return riders simply because its notorious Hwy 102 trail brings riders to a slick and swoopy mountain bike nirvana. Not a bad way to wrap up a solid day of mountain biking.

Beneath endless bluebird skies, the almost 370 BCBR participants queued up for the start of their Sunshine Coast adventure—their fifth consecutive day of mountain biking in southwestern BC. During Stage 4 on Wednesday, many riders were cursing Course Designer Rod Camposano because of the relentless climbing he threw at them. However, by dinner-time, the conversation had turned to how much riders loved the trails.

Pumpkin Patch. Black Tower. White Knuckle Tight. Often, mountain bike trail names can be really good clues as to what’s in store before you commit to dropping in. After 5 days on the trail BCBR riders were catching on.

Home-field advantage proved valuable for the Kona team on Thursday’s singletrack-intensive course. While DCM Chrome’s Brandon Stewart and Max Knox had an early lead on the field, the technical singletrack skills that are second nature to the Sneddon and Wicks team outshone the South Africans’ pure hill strength.

As we’ve seen throughout the week, Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks (Kona) and Seamus McGrath and Chris Sheppard (Jamis/Santa Cruz) rode a hair’s breadth apart for the better part of the course. The finish times—2:37:47 (Kona) and 2:37:49 (Jamis/Santa Cruz)—reflect exactly how hard-fought this battle is for top spot in the Team of 2 Open Men category. With two more days to go, the competition is unbelievably tight—merely 53 seconds separate the yellow jersey-wearing Kona from Jamis/Santa Cruz.

In the Solo Open Men category, the experience of seasoned racer Ruedi Schnyder (Schnyder) earned him his second consecutive stage win with a time of 2:41:57. Schnyder crossed the line 15 seconds ahead of Colin Kerr, the current yellow jersey wearer. RMB-Different Bikes Kevin Calhoun came in third at 2:50:51.

Colin Kerr was a big fan of Day 5. "Yesterday was hard, I think it was mentally taxing just being up under the powerlines all day (with no shade) and then you have today (almost all climbs were shaded)," he said. "The singletrack is great and then the 10-kilometer flight in to the finish. It feels easy you know that it’s an effortless roll the finish."

Team of 2 Open Women has been a constant 1-2-3 shake out, with Catharine Pendrel & Katerina Nash (Luna Chix) holding a commanding lead over Rocky Mountain’s Alison Sydor and Lea Davison and Lisa Ludwig and Dawn Anderson (Oak Bay Bikes).

Solo Open Women changed leaders once again with Megan Rose, continuous yellow jersey wearer, staking claim on the stage win in 3:50.

There was little change in the remaining categories and overall standings for the rest of the groups.

Two more days of solid BCBR action lie ahead. Next stop: Squamish

Related Links:
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