BC Bike Race Stage Three: Powell River Seaside and Singletrack
The rich blue Pacific ocean painted a spectacular backdrop for the prominent start/finish line arch land marking the most picturesque Base Camp area of the 2010 BC Bike Race. Just moments from the docked BC Ferries vessel that brought racers and crew across the Georgia Strait from Vancouver Island, the Willingdon Beach campsite in Powell River was a taste of resort living in the midst of BC Bike Race. The unexpected touches like this make BCBR a mountain biker’s dream vacation destination.
Adding to the Base Camp flavour was a fundraiser beer garden setup by The Save Your Skin Foundation, a BCBR supported charity that raises funds and awareness about skin cancer. Kathy Barnard, founder and Powell River native, travels with BC Bike Race each year, creating awareness, handing out sunscreen, and reminding racers to slather it on. The Powell River stage was Save Your Skin’s day to shine.
Powell River is a brand new addition to the BCBR event. And it could quickly become a race favourite. The people of Powell River rolled out the red carpet for the BC Bike Race – from generous support by local businesses to cheering school kids lining the race route on their lunch break, the community epitomized warm, small town BC "hospitality.”
The midday beachside rolling start was uniquely exciting: every 90 seconds, groups of 50 riders flowed down a gravel path, through the start line arch and into the woods. Each group spun through the gauntlet of spectators furiously clanging cowbells as a show of support. It was reminiscent of the race route excitement of alpine events at Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics and set an overall festive tone that perpetuated throughout the day.
Top finishers continued to set a blistering pace and had nothing but rave reviews about the spectacular singletrack course organized by local father-son team of Wayne and Russell Brewer and backed by the local cycling association and 50+ on course volunteers. Wayne and the BOMB squad have built and maintained countless kilometres of world-class singletrack in the area that’s been off the mountain biking radar…until today.
Today’s selected stage and overall highlights include:
Epic Team of 2 Men – Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks, Team Kona 2:31:39
Epic Team of 2 Women – Brandi Heistermen & Cathy Zeglinski, Team Northlands Medical Clinic 3:38:58
Epic Team of 2 Mixed – Geoff Kabush, Rocky Mountain - Maxxis & Catharine Pendrel, Team Luna 2:51:54
Epic Solo Men – Jason Sager, Team Jamis 2:29:31
Epic Solo Women – Melanie McQuaid, Team Specialized 3:02:37
Challenge Solo Men – Grant Hvizdos 4:27:13
Challenge Solo Women – Kelli Sherbinin, Endless Biking 1:59:56
Epic Team of 2 Men – Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks, Team Kona 8:38:54
Epic Team of 2 Women – Brandi Helstermen & Cathy Zeglinski, Team Northlands Medical Clinic 11:36:39
Epic Team of 2 Mixed – Geoff Kabush, Team Rocky Mountain - Maxxis & Catharine Pendrel , Team Luna 9:39:58
Epic Solo Men – Chris Sheppard, Team Rocky Mountain Bikes 8:32:07
Epic Solo Women – Melanie McQuaid, Team Specialized 10:35:55
Challenge Solo Men – Darren Butler, Endless Biking 5:28:42
Challenge Solo Women – Kelli Sherbinin, Endless Biking 5:55:46
While Chris Sheppard, Team Rocky Mountain Bikes, is still posting the fastest cumulative time of the race (8:32:07), his stage winning streak was broken by Team Jamis’ Jason Sager who blasted through the finish in 2:29:31. Sheppard was just over a minute behind.
The tightest battle for the coveted leader’s jersey is currently brewing in the Epic Solo Masters Men category. Simon Pulfrey took today’s stage win in 2:52:24 and wears the yellow jersey on Day 4 with an overall cumulative time of 10:00:08. Meanwhile, Ted Russo is a mere 5 seconds behind overall.
Race day wrapped up at the evening dinner with a host of dignitaries welcoming BC Bike Race participants and staff to Powell River. Most touching was a blessing bestowed upon the group by Tla’Amin (Sliammon) First Nations Elder Honourable Dr Elsie Paul, "This is a prayer that is said whenever someone went on a journey by land or by sea. And I understand that you’ve undertaken quite a journey to be here.” In the Tla’Amin language, Dr Paul connected the room full of BC Bike Race participants and crew together through a warm and sincere prayer for a safe continued journey.
Next up: More Sunshine Coast… With the ocean waves lulling racers to sleep, visions of Sechelt singletrack danced in their heads. More purpose built trails await BC Bike Racers after they blast through the start line nestled into the scenic BC Ferries terminal in Earls Cove.
For up-to-date daily information and full race results, check outwww.bcbikerace.com.