BC Bike Race Stage Four: Sunshine Coast’s
Ripping Ridge Ride
Racers awoke to an idyllic setting: waves
gently lapping against the sandy Powell River shoreline and the Vancouver
Island mountain range reflecting in the placid Pacific waters on the horizon.
It was a fitting farewell to the most picturesque Base Camp location BC Bike Race
Another scenic ferry ride kicked off the
day, as a small BC Ferries vessel transported the racers and race crew to the
Day Four start location in Earls Cove. As the ferry pulled up to the dock, the
BCBR logoed arching silhouette hinted at the start location: just metres from
the ferry terminal offload ramp. Racers walked off the ferry, located their
bikes and warmed up for a big day of singletrack.
Day Four is the first point-to-point stage
in this year’s race. Epic riders journeyed 62kms from the ferry terminal to the
finish line in the centre of Sechelt. Challenge riders were shuttled to their
start location partway along the Epic route and raced the final 28km into
Sechelt. Approximately 10-15km of singletrack on this course was hand built just
in the last 2 years.
Rod Camposano, the Course Director for
this stage and the next, has a long history of trail building and course design
and is known for rewarding tough climbs with outrageously fun swoopy
singletrack. Today didn’t disappoint. As Rod stood trailside at various points
along the route, racers thanked him – and others jokingly cursed him – for the
terrific ride. Many racers proclaimed Day Four to be their favourite stage.
"Despite the tough climbs, the downhill was amazing!” said one racer as he
stopped to shake Rod’s hand on course.
These trails didn’t cause any major
shake-ups on the leader board, but there are some nail-bitingly close contests
developing, including the mere 5 second spread separating the Epic Solo Masters
Men. Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Bikes) still holds the fastest time, though
there were less than 3 minutes separating him from the next Solo Male, Jason
Sager (Jamis) overall.
Today’s selected stage and overall
Epic Team of 2 Women – Alana
Heise & Kate Aardal, Terralandscape-Hardcore Racing 4:27:29
Epic Team of 2
Mixed – Geoff Kabush, Rocky Mountain - Maxxis & Catharine Pendrel, Team
Epic Solo Men – Chris Sheppard, Team Rocky Mountain Bikes 2:29:31
(Jason Sager 3:14:35; Colin Kerr – 3:25:03)
Epic Solo Masters Men – Simon
Pulfrey 3:50:17 & Ted Russo – 3:50:17
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
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
Epic Solo Masters Men – Simon Pulfrey 13:50:25 & Ted
Russo 1 3:50:30
A long, multi-day, high-mileage event
like BCBR makes bike mechanicals inevitable and fine-tuning absolutely
necessary. Up until this year, racers had to tend to their own mechanical
issues on course. New for 2010, the Shimano team has being setting up a daily
"on course” service area at the second Aid Station on the Epic course.
Countless riders have taken advantage of the new service offering – from chain
lubes to funky shifters, from broken chains to snapped derailleurs the Shimano
crew has ensured that racers have emergency bike care to get them to the finish
Shimano has entered into a very solid long
term contract with BCBR and they’ve taken advantage of the race week attention
to address some items. On June28, Shimano announced their new XTR line, which
doesn’t hit store shelves here until later this year. And July 2 is Shimano day
in Squamish, featuring an invitation only VIP area, a kids’ race and, of
course, all the excitement of the BC Bike Race. Shimano Day promises to be an
outstanding event within an event.
This year BC Bike Race has the challenge
of introducing the abbreviated Challenge category and ensuring that the two
versions of the course are safely delivered. Today I witnessed a remarkable
sight: near the final leg of the race, Chris Sheppard came flying past Rod’s
truck. Moments later Kris Holm (mountain unicyclist) pedalled by with a huge
smile followed closely by the high-speed Kona/Jamis freight train – Kris Sneddon,
Barry Wicks, and Jason Sager. How many times in life will you see the fastest
riders in a race split by Kris Holm on a unicycle!?
Next up: The last leg of Sunshine Coast
singletrack… Always a standout with riders of all levels, Highway 103 serves up
a 7km long descent into the BC Ferries Langdale terminal where they’ll blast
across the finish line, wash up their bikes and hop onto the final ferry trip
of the race.
For up-to-date daily information and full
race results, check out www.bcbikerace.com.