BC Bike Race 2011 Stage Five: Sechelt to Langdale—Our Way’s the Highway...102 That Is! Sechelt, BC – July 7, 2011
Stage 5 starting in Sechelt is the second of two consecutive point-to-point days that flow south along the Sunshine Coast. Due to a dangerously overflowing creek crossing that resulted from prior rainfall, the first segment of Stage 5 was rerouted, resulting in a 10km shorter course. Many racers seemed grateful for the reprieve so they could save energy for the amazing 8km descent on buff singletrack leading into the finish line at the Earl’s Cove ferry terminal. The grin-causing trail, called Highway 102, is meticulously maintained by rider volunteers and is generally identified with the sounds of thundering tires and endless hooting and hollering. Today was no exception.
With such incredible trails allowing racers to ‘let go and let gravity’ racers were posting fast finish times, especially at the front of the pack, where Neal Kindree (Republic Bike Shop / SRAM) jumped to the lead two-thirds of the way through the race and held on for the stage jersey win. Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Bikes) was second for the day and held onto his positioning as GC leader for the 5th consecutive stage. Marzio Deho (Olympia) claimed third place after winning a finish line sprint with Thomas Dietsch (BULLS). After five stages, the Europeans found their groove and claimed one spot on the podium; it seems that they are shifting into the west coast way, complete with downhill blasts like today’s 8km on Hwy 102 in approximately 30 minutes. We are very excited to see their newly shaping ‘downcountry’ riding styles evolve over the remaining two days of racing!
In the Men’s Open Team category, Kona’s Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks once again owned the stage win, to make it five in a row. Nativo/Devinci’s Marty Lazarski and Rocky Mountain Bicycles’ Colin Kerr and Greg Day claimed numbers two and three spots in the stage and overall team rankings.
While there may have been some shuffling in each category for top stage spots, the GC jersey leaders remain the same at the end of five days of racing. An interesting story developing in the GC is that Trish Gracjzyck (Masters Solo Women) is battling for the overall women’s lead with Jennifer Schulz (Open Solo Women). As of Stage 5, Gracjzyck holds a three-minute lead over Schulz. This will be one to watch.
As racers rolled across the finish line at the Langdale ferry terminal, they traded in their bikes for a change of clothes and the last BC Ferries sailing of the BC Bike Race. The 40- minute Langdale to Horseshoe Bay trip brought racers back to the mainland for the final two stages of the week—Squamish and Whistler.
The highway that leads along the coastline from Vancouver to Whistler is referred to as "The Sea to Sky Highway.” Racers were transported along the same picturesque route fromHorseshoe Bay to Squamish for their first of two nights in Canada’s ‘Outdoor Recreation Capital.’
Squamish is a beautiful, small city nestled between the waters of Howe Sound and the majestic face of the Stawamus Chief. And it also just happens to have a stunning array of singletrack, which racers including Dave Richardson and Pat Murphy will sample heartily tomorrow during Stage 6.
Richardson and Murphy are two BC Bike Race participants with a special goal—raising funds to support Team Diabetes Canada. "I know three young guys, including my nephew, who have Type 1 diabetes,” said Murphy when asked of his motivation to do BCBR as a fundraiser. "Everyone does a little bit and the world becomes a better place,” added Richardson.
More than 3 million people in Canada have diabetes and Richardson and Murphy are doing their part to help out—between them the dynamic (and comedic) duo have already raised more than $12000 to support the cause.
"What I love about the BC Bike Race is the diversity of the people from around the world,” shared Richardson. "And it’s great to be able to combine doing this race, which is quite self- oriented, with raising money for a meaningful cause.” Murphy agreed, ”Even in the most down moments I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here.” To support Richardson and Murphy’s fundraising effort, or to inquire about participating in BC Bike Race as a Team Diabetes contributor, visit http://www.bcbikerace.com/about-us/charitable-partners
Up next: A day of amazing and highly-anticipated singletrack woven together from two of Squamish’s renowned singletrack races—Test of Metal and Gear Jammer. Racers will tour the entire Squamish Valley and take another shot at the Rocky Mountain Bikes "Love the Ride” timed singletrack sections. Andreas Hestler and Katrina Strand dominated the first "Love the Ride” sections. Who will claim the 3⁄4 baggy jerseys in Squamish?
The Stage 5 Rocky Mountain Bikes "Love the Ride” trail of the day: Highway 103