June 30, 2009 (Vancouver, BC) – 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 BC Ferries morning voyage across the Georgia Straight to Vancouver Island. The sun shone overhead as many riders relaxed on the upper deck to map out their race strategy for the day.
Once the vessel docked in Nanaimo, racers donned their day’s kit and traded their street clothes for their mountain bikes. Close to 400 riders toed the start line in the shadow of the looming Bear-On-Bike crowned arch for the countdown to the 10:45am start.
With the start horn, two Royal Canadian Mounted Police members on bicycles led the controlled start that carried racers to their first drop in of the day. From there until the first feed zone — anywhere from 80 minutes onward — riders gobbled up endless polished singletrack. The inside scoop on this area is that the passionate riders in the local mountain bike club 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 technical. A little of everything — drop offs, bridges — everything 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. No surprises in this category.
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.
Interestingly, the satellite finish line for timing made for a more mellow Base Camp finish line arch as racers got to spin out their tired legs before hanging up their bikes for the day. After yesterday’s short bursts of technical downhill and punchy uphill climbs, an early “go fast, go hard” mindset may have caught some racers off guard with this much longer heavily-singletrack focused day.
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.”
Another solo rider from Las Vegas who just celebrated his 40th birthday, decided that the BC Bike Race would mark the transition to a new decade. No family, no friends, no teammate…just the man, his bike and a whole lot of singletrack. Some would argue that turning 40 is challenge enough, let alone adding in a seven day epic. Happy birthday to him!
After a stunning sunset, the oceanfront tented Base Camp was quiet by 10pm as racers maximize their recovery time to recharge for tomorrow’s 60-65km stage in Cumberland.
1. Barry Wicks, Kris Sneddon (Team Kona) 3:23:39
2. Seamus McGrath, Chris Sheppard (Jamis / Santa Cruz) 3:23:42
3. Chris Eatough, Jeff Schalk (Trek VW Mountain Bike Team) 3:31:20
1. Katerina Nash, Catharine Pendrel (Luna Chix) 3:57:08
2. Alison Sydor, Lea Davison (Rocky Mountain) 4:05:11
3. Lisa Ludwig, Dawn Anderson (Oak Bay Bikes) 4:37:29
1. Ryan Trebone, Georgia Gould (Gould) 3:51:32
2. Jeff Neilson, Mical Dyck (Terrascape/Trek Toronto) 3:58:14
3. Sandra Walter, Steven Devantier (Local Ride / Pedal Mag) 4:21:21
GC after Stage 2
1. Seamus McGrath, Chris Sheppard (Jamis / Santa Cruz) 4:58:56
1. Barry Wicks, Kris Sneddon (Team Kona) 5:00:08
3. Chris Eatough, Jeff Schalk (Trek VW Mountain Bike Team) 5:10:17
1. Katerina Nash, Catharine Pendrel (Luna Chix) 5:47:15
2. Alison Sydor, Lea Davison (Rocky Mountain) 6:03:13
3. Lisa Ludwig, Dawn Anderson (Oak Bay Bikes) 6:48:40
1. Ryan Trebone, Georgia Gould (Gould) 5:42:18
2. Jeff Neilson, Mical Dyck (Terrascape/Trek Toronto) 5:57:01
3. Sandra Walter, Steven Devantier (Local Ride / Pedal Mag) 6:23:51