July 09, 2011 (Squamish, BC) – As the BC Bike Race has evolved to more and more singletrack over the past five years, Stage Six in Squamish has quickly become a favourite stop on the journey. With an unbelievable selection of incredible singletrack, Stage Six is “The Crown Jewel” of BCBR.
This was a busy stage, with three separate races happening throughout the day: the Stage Six course for Epic and Challenge, the Rocky Mountain “Love the Ride” timed sections, and the Shimano Kids’ Race.
Stage Six Epic & Challenge
Coming into this stage there was considerable speculation as to who would take the win for the day. From the hometown advantage, Neal Kindree (Republic Bike Shop / SRAM) is a Squamish local with intricate knowledge of these trails; while Colin Kerr and Greg Day (Rocky Mountain Bikes) train and play on the Squamish trails multiple times per week. Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Bikes) and Jason Sager (Jamis) are sitting one and two for the GC; and Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks (Kona) are incredibly strong technically, dominating their category, and posting times in line with the top of the solo GC.
As it turned out, fans at the finish line witnessed the most exciting sprint finish that BC Bike Race has seen. As Sneddon, Segar, Wicks and Kindree hammered toward the finish in a tight pack, Sneddon and Segar got into a tight spot at the last corner, nudging and elbowing to jockey for position. Sager turned up the heat and edged across the line just ahead of Sneddon, with Wicks and Kindree on their wheels. For the second consecutive day, the podium had European flavour as Thomas Dietsch (BULLS) claimed third spot. Though Sheppard suffered a flat that kept him off the podium for the stage, he still dons the yellow jersey going into the seventh and final stage tomorrow.
Regardless of when riders crossed the line during Stage Six, a common theme emerged: how much fun they had. Random racer quotes: Jason Sager, “Best stage. Best dirt. Most fun riding!”; Thomas Dietsch, “Really, really fun! It’s a crazy race. I think I’ll buy a house now and stay here. One of the best places to ride in the world”; Chris Sheppard “Squamish has the sickest trails in the world”; Neal Kindree, “I’ve done races all over the world and this is by far the best race I’ve been to”; Pierre Harvey, “This is my first stage race and my first time at BCBR. It’s great! It’s the best trails I’ve ever ridden in my life!”; Katrina Strand, “Before this race I don’t know if I’ve ever gone for a 3hr ride and not more than two days in a row. If I can do it anyone can do it!”; Manny Osbourne-Paradis, “I knew I wasn’t going to win. I’m having fun, put some endurance on these legs”; Anon, “These trails melt my face off!” (yes, that is positive); Anon, “This is the best week I’ve ever had in my entire life!”
Rocky Mountain Bikes “Love the Ride” Timed Sections
BCBR introduced the first “Love the Ride” sections during Stage 2 in Campbell River and it quickly became the race within the race. Timed sections pit racers against the clock regardless of their category. Challenge or Epic, Open or Vet, racers are only grouped by gender. Results are determined by the combined total of both timed sections and leader’s jerseys are awarded to the top male and female. Andreas Hestler and Katrina Strand won the first jerseys awarded in Campbell River.
The two timed sections for Stage Six in Squamish were on Pseudo Tsuga and Half-Nelson. Both trails offered a different flavour and the results for each varied. When this new race within the race was introduced, eyes were on the gravity racers like Brian Lopes (IBIS) to turn some fast times. While the top scores were tight within the men’s field, Brian Lopes came out on top and earned the leader’s jersey for the Stage Six “Love the Ride” sections. Joining him from the women’s side was Hannah Thorne from New Zealand.
While the Rocky Mountain Bikes “Love the Ride” concept was new for this 5th running of BCBR, next year event organizers plan to implement the “Love the Ride” sections during each stage of the race.
Shimano Kids’ Race
The 2nd annual Squamish Shimano Kids’ Race took place on a fully marked course staged outside the Brennan Park Leisure Centre. The BC Bike Race Bear’s Den, set up for prime viewing space and the standard variety of amenities, was filled with racers and Kids’ Race spectators. Originally scheduled for a 2pm pistol, the Kids’ Race was delayed slightly in order to process the overwhelming number of registrants for the event.
One hundred and fifty children brought their trusty steeds to the start line for a chance to ride the course and earn a coveted BC Bike Race Shimano Kids’ Race medal. The children, ranging in age from 2 to 11, were split into heats by age and rode the fully-taped course with Team Flower People / Rocky Mountain Bikes Luli Cox and Adriana Boccia. Excitement ran high as Drew Bragg announced the play-by-play for each heat. From run bikes to pedal bikes and caped crusaders to tutued ballerinas, the kids gave it their all. Even with a few tumbles here and there on course (hey – that’s racing!) every single child crossed the line a winner and received a medal from Shimano rep and former mountain bike racer Elladee Brown.
Up Next: What better place than Whistler to wind up a full week of riding the best singletrack on the West Coast. Less than 30km of singletrack remain in this epic adventure. It’s the Whistler victory lap! Finisher’s medals, the banquet and subsequent celebrations await racers after their final pass under the finish line arch for BC Bike Race 2011.
The Stage 6 Rocky Mountain Bikes “Love the Ride” trail of the day: the Shimano Kids’ Race Course.