Surviving and thriving at the BCBR
Tent city at our roving base camp. Awesome volunteers set them up and took them down each day.
Georgia, Katerina and me in our leader's jerseys
Sarah our Chef Extraordinaire, Katerina and me
To sum up the week in a couple words would be tough, but after 7 days of hard riding I don’t have a lot of energy to do much more!
MTB stage racing is pretty cool. Imagine the biggest group ride you have ever done and times it by 30 or 40. Added to that is that everyone is racing. You move in a fast train slinking through the woods, up and over rocks and roots and down twisty, gnarly descents and then into cringingly hard pacelines along fireroads. Each day offered the 400+ riders seemingly endless singletrack through coastal rainforest and mountain and ocean vistas.
Each stage was about 50-70km and for us 2-4hrs. There were 2 aid stations at mid way points on each course with food and drink as even with our mandatory 3 bottles we couldn’t carry enough water for the stages. My favorite aid station treat would be grabbing a handful of m&m’s as the volunteers filled up our bottles with more fluids so we could get quickly back on our bikes. Cliff Blocks were the best race fuel being super easy and tasty to eat on the bike. Working with Katerina was great. We would alternate leading with almost every section of singletrack and along the fireroads helping us to keep the pace high and our focus on clearing trail obstacles. After finishing only 1 minute up of the second place team of Alison Sydor & Lea Davison after taking a pee break Day 3. After that we just tried to make it through to the finish each stage with less stops.
One day we returned to the RV and not only had Sarah prepared us a delicous lunch but there was also a fresh baked blueberry/peach cobbler awaiting us! Day 4 was the toughest for I think everyone. After a 4:30 am wake up, 2 ferry and 2 bus rides later we arrived in Earl’s cove on the Sunshine coast. This stage had the most climbing with what felt like 100 steep fireroad climbs between the abundant singletrack sections. Expecting the projected 3hr ish race we weren’t prepared for an additional hour of racing with an additional 8km finding its way into the course. Having Waldek there to massage the junk out of our legs and soothe our killing backs was indispensible. Yes I did feel bad for the others that didn’t have our great support staff.
Day 5 we were treated to a 30 minute descent after 2.5hr of fun trails, right into the Langdale ferry terminal where we hopped the boat to Squamish for Day 6. The Squamish trails were amazing. Combining the infamous test of metal course and Gear Jammer, racers were treated to atleast 4 long, sweet undulating descents. I get some energy back just thinking about them!
Finally Day 7 and whistler. It was actually a kind of dissapointing stage knowing the riding whistler has to offer. There was a lot of fireroad climbing to reach the fast singletrack and the weather was a hot 30 deg celcius, but we did get to see a Sasquatch out-running a park ranger with a case of Kokannee. After 6 days of superb singletrack our expectations were high. A flat tire made the race more exciting as Lea and Alison made contact with us before Katerina and I had to put the hammer down to catch the seventh consecutive stage win and the overall with a total riding time of over 21 hrs of racing.
So many kilometers, bridges, rocks, roots, gels, blocks, bars, recovery smoothies, needed massages, 2 flats and 1 big trail detour we have lived the ultimate singletrack experience and get to take a day off! Thanks Zeph Waldek, Katerina, Sarah, Georgia and Keith and all the fun friendly folks we raced with out on the trails and race volunteers for making it a great week!