Daily Report: Stage 5 - Sechelt to Langdale
Mountain bikers know better than anyone the expression, "You have to earn your turns.” Loosely translated: outrageously fun downhill trails are usually preceded by solid uphill climbs.
Days Four and Five Course Director Rod Camposano is known for his passion for climbing…and for imparting that passion on the people he rides with and designs races for. Camposano knows where to find the memorable climbs and more importantly how to deliver even more memorable descents. Day Five didn’t disappoint on either count.
Canada Day spirit shone bright at the BC Bike Race on Day Five, despite the early morning rain. Canadian jerseys, Canada flags and flashes of red made for a festive start line as racers spun their way to the first climb of the day. With trails getting muddy in places, racers had a great opportunity to rinse off their bikes in a creek crossing before continuing on with their climb.
The altitude gained paid off in spades with a trail that’s renowned to mountain bikers familiar with the riding in this area… Highway 102: Sechelt’s "highway to heaven”. Well, it’s more like highway from heaven. This trail is the type of smooth, swooping descent that mountain bikers live to ride: more than 7km of grin-inducing trail that leads racers down to their ultimate endpoint – the finish line at the Langdale ferry terminal.
Camposano explained that Highway 102 gained its name from its proximity to the major route Highway 101, with which it runs parallel. Highway 101 runs all the way north from Baja, Mexico to Lund, BC.
The fifth day of BCBR saw some changes in the stage and overall race leader standings, the highlights of which include:
Epic Team of 2 Men – Max Knox & Branden Stewart, Team DCM 1 2:31:39
Epic Team of 2 Women – Alana Heise & Kate Aardal, Terralandscape-Hardcore Racing 3:38:58
Epic Solo Men – Jason Sager, Team Jamis 2:29:31 (2nd Chris Sheppard, Team Rocky Mountain Bikes 2:38:15)
Epic Solo Masters Men – Ted Russo 3:03:22 (2nd Simon Pulfrey 3:08:53)
Epic Team of 2 Men – Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks, Team Kona 14:31:34
Epic Team of 2 Women – Alana Heise & Kate Aardal, Terralandscape-Hardcore Racing 19:45:17
Epic Team of 2 Mixed – Geoff Kabush, Team Rocky Mountain - Maxxis & Catharine Pendrel, Team Luna 16:11:06
Epic Solo Men – Chris Sheppard, Team Rocky Mountain Bikes 14:21:35 (2nd Jason Sager 14:29:33)
Epic Solo Women – Melanie McQuaid, Team Specialized 17:45:08
Early in the race Sheppard was point man in the lead group of Sneddon, Wicks, and Sager; by midpoint, Sager had ricocheted out front and held on for the Epic Solo Men’s stage medal in 2:35:49. Team Kona maintained their lead until close to the end of the course when DCM 1’s Max Knox and Brendan edged out a 1 second victory in 2:38:14. South African Team DCM was pumped at the finish, "That’s what makes 22 hours worth of flying to come and ride those trails – it was fantastic.”
The Kona boys still dominate the GC by roughly 26 minutes over DCM. Sheppard came in with the Kona team for the number two solo slot, two and a half minutes behind Sager; however, Shep still wears the yellow jersey with an 8 minute lead over Sager in the GC.
For the first time this week, world-famous mountain unicyclist Kris Holm took to the podium in the Challenge Solo Men category, with a 4:30:14 finish to secure 3rd place.
After a hard day of climbing and incredibly memorable descending, racers hit the Day Five finish line with perma-grins and amazing feedback about their day. A quick bike wash and shower at the finish line prepped racers for their final ferry journey of the week.
Now for an interesting random BCBR fact. Racer Host Manager, Joanne Bragg, makes notoriously good peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which she quarters and sets out for racers at the finish line. Joanne’s PB&J recovery food is so popular, she has gone through 22 loaves of bread, which each make 12 sandwiches. That’s 264 sandwiches or 1056 PB&J quarter-sandwich snacks consumed by racers in 5 days …and more yet to come!
Next up for the BCBR: Shimano Stage 6 in Squamish. BCBR welcomes many VIPs and guests to share in the BC Bike Race experience – guest riders on course, a kids’ fun ride, and more!