BC Bike Race Day 7

Dont need the camelback in Whistler, its a XC race day and the weather is perfectly cool.  Ive never been to a ski resort where people are swimming and skiing in the same day.  The guys at the back of the pack think a shorter 1.5 hr day sounds easy, but most of us towards the front thought it sounded like torture.

 Whistler is famous for its FreeRide parks.  However we are XC racers so first we have to pedal to the top.  The climb was on doubletrack and was all switchbacks.  This is much better for me than the long straight grinds.  At the top I was inside the top 15 and then we started back down.  We flew through part of the freeride park which was awesome.  Huge tables, doubles, berms.  It was a blast and I was really wishing for a dropper post.  At the bottom I had caught guys that usually finish in the top 10 and we made a u-turn and had a huge climb back up.  My legs were shot from the downhill and I couldnt even think of staying with those guys.  I did my best and ended up 19th on the day which meant I moved up one last spot for a 19th overall.

Earned my belt buckle for finishing.   If I didnt have some many problems what could have been.... maybe next year Ill find out.

 Me and the crazy Belgian Karel at the finish.  This day suited his hardtail perfectly and he was 12th.  Notice the rainbow stripes, pretty cool.  It looks like beer, buts some sort of crazy mixed energy drink that Katie and the finish line crew concocted each day.

Katies buddy from the week Natasa and her boyfriend Primoz.  He has done Absa Cape Epic and said this was a much tougher week.  I dont think they have a lot of roots and rocks in Slovenia.  We had dinner with them later in the evening at the awards banquet to cap off a hilarious week of language barriers and cultural differences.

Final Results are Here.

More Pics are Here.


BCBR day 6

Up early in Squamish and ready to go again.  This is supposed to be one of the best days, and all the days are truely amazing riding.
My wrists hurts bad.  Decided the tape wasnt going to help.  Adreas Hestler is on the right.  He explained the day to me shortly after this pic was taken and I was pretty happy to get some insight on the course.  The main thing was a very long steady climb to start the day.

The rollout of town.  We got started on pavement for quite a little while.  For the first time in days, I got in a good warm up and it helped.  The neutral section felt neutral for once and I was riding at the front, right on Jason Sager of Jamis' wheel.  Then disaster.  A big crash on the pavemet.  I dont know what happened, but I know I was on the ground quickly.  Ive never been caught in one of these before, but it sucks.  Bikes are all twisted together, its a mess.  The front of the race was gone and we were left to chase.  I jumped onto the sidewalk to try and navigate the slower riders and was wasting a ton of energy working with the Rocky Mountain team of two.  We eventually caught a group of guys I usually was riding with which was frustrating because I could have been close to the front with an effort like that.  I decided to back off the pace and stick with this group as the Rocky Duo headed on up the trail.

After the initial crash and chase things went well all day.  I ended up riding with another american for the last part of the day and we finished together.  We would ride together again the next day, with wasnt much help to me, because he was right ahead of me on the overall.  This might have been the day I snuck into the top 10 in one of the Enduros.  I seem to do pretty well and finished 16th overall for all the timed downhills combined.  That includes every rider, singles, duos, women.

19th on the day and back up to 20th overall.

Squamish would be home for the next two nights and it was great.  When camp doesnt move, you have tons of time to relax.  I did some quality relaxing with the guys from Xprezo bikes.  Super nice guys and pretty cool bikes.  Hugo, the owner was on a sweet 650B bike that seemed like the perfect choice for BC.

Aaron Elwell of Twin Six takes flight on the lower section of the Half Nelson trail.

Another day, another pic in Cyclingnews

Results are Here.

More pics are Here.


BC Bike Race Day 5

Day 5 of the BC Bike race took us from the town of Sechelt to the ferry terminal at Langdale.  I was hoping to get some time back.  The race took off really fast and I quickly realized I had put out quite an effort to get my 48th place the day before.  Its never good when you are eating your first Clif Bar after a half hour of racing.  This day had a ton of steep climbing and I was joined by my Belgian friend, Karel de Wael.  Karel was a small guy who rode a hardtail and climbed like a maniac.  Out of the saddle the whole time, I always just tried to hold his wheel.  I rode with him at some point most every day and rode with him the entire day today.  Did I mention that two years ago he was World Champion in the 30+ masters.  If I could hold his wheel, he would let me by at the top and we could cruise downhill fast as possible.
This is where Katie operated all week.  The finish line feed zone.  It was extremely well stocked.
After all the climbing of the day, the trail turned and headed downhill.  Downhill for a long time.  At one point we were going through a huge freeride area with giant jumps, ramps, and berms.  If I ever go back, a dropper seat post is a priority for going fast downhill through this stuff.

Anyways, Karel and I finished together at the ferry terminal and got on the early ferry to camp.  21st on the day, and up to 23rd overall.

Katie had to stay behind and take a later ferry, but the day was perfect and the views were amazing.

Aaron Ellwel of Twin Six, found a few smiles on the second day on the Sunshine Coast.

This picture is from Cyclingnews.com.  Has to be close to the finish after the huge descent.
Results are HERE.

More pics are HERE.


More BC Videos

Most nights at the racer meeting/awards ceremony/free stuff give away this volunteer Sam would have a video to show.

Maybe if you watch every video of this race you would have an idea how awesome the riding is.  However, my achilles is still "squeeking" (so swollen that the tendon cant move freely so it rubs and makes noise, vibrates, and generally hurts.)  Its been two weeks.

BC Bike Race Day 4

Day four was the longest stage of the week.  I was looking forward to this day.  Earls Cove to Sechelt.  We woke up in Powell River, had breakfast, and headed to a ferry terminal for the trip to Earls Cove.  Some guys rode on water taxis, some got to take seaplanes, but I was on the ferry.
When we arrived, our bikes were ready and the start line was a few steps from the ferry.  We immediately lined up and were facing a steep climb from the terminal up a paved hill.
When the gun went off, I was pleasantly suprised that the pace didnt seem too bad up the climb.  Suddenly the course made a right turn and the climb wasnt nearly as steep and I moved up a bit more.  We entered the doubletrack shortly after and I was close to the top 10 when we started descending.  I was really excited to be feeling good on what was supposed to be the hardest day.

On this first descent the guy I was following took a big spill on a slippery wooden bridge and I was on the front of the group.  I quickly got out of sight and was trying to catch the group ahead that I could see every now and then.  Through a creek crossing and out the other side, my rear tire was spraying stans everywhere.  Great.  Not 30 minutes into the longest stage and I have a flat.  I quickly stopped and put air in.  Riders were flying by.  I ride maybe another kilometer and it needs more air.  I put in a plug this time and some more air.  Now Im way down and people are passing that Ive never seen before.  I ride some more, and its flat again.  I put in a second plug and finish off my air.  This is a big problem as the day has just started and im out of CO2.  I start picking off as many rider as possible, but its really hard because this is "the ultimate singletrack experience" and that means I have to work by every person.  At one point I am off walking because everyone else is, and I can see walkers lined up one after another as far as I can see.

Through the first feed zone and its getting soft again.  I pass Yuki Saito of Ergon fixing a flat, but he doesnt have any air either.  I push on.  Its almost flat when I come upon one of the motorcycles helping another rider with a flat.  I stop and borrow his pump.  I dont know why I didnt just put in a tube, should have done that first thing instead of messing with it all day.  But its been holding, so I air it up and get going again.  Every time I stop, dozens of riders go back past me.  I ride for awhile longer until a gravel road section and it completely blows up.  I stop and put in a tube, but have no air.  Eventually the motorcycle patrol guy comes along again and I air it up and get going.  I must be into the 100's by now.  Its been a slow day.  Riders in this area arent really racing, as much as just enjoying the ride through BC.
I eventually make it to the finish line, on  a flat tire yet again.  Pretty frustrating day, as I felt great the whole time.  48th on the day, dropped me to 24th overall.  Worse, I lost 30-45 minutes to the guys I was riding with.  To top it off, I missed my massage by 20 minutes and had to take my bike to the shop to have them put on a new tire.  Long Nap was needed.

Results are Here.

More pics are here.


BCBR Day 3

Day Three of our Canadian adventure starting by waking up bright and early in Campbell River, walking to the community center for a big breakfast and then loading a bus for the drive to the ferry terminal.  This time we took a ferry over to Powell River and unloaded.  We walked a block through downtown and the people were pretty excited to have the BC Bike Race.

Our bikes were ready when we arrived, so we just changed shoes and were on the start line.  This day started on a fire road and immediately headed into the woods.  It was sunny, but had poured all night so the trails were pretty muddy still.

My start went pretty well and I was happy with my position as we started the first little climb.  I moved out of line to make a pass, and had no traction and had to walk the rest of the little hill.  I chased back onto the group and rode a good chunk of the rest of the day with these guys.  On the last Enduro section I got to the front and ended up bridging to an Australian who was battling his hardtail.  After the enduro we entered a section of road and he kindly pulled for most all of it.  I cheated and went past as we entered back into the singletrack and I caught one more guy, he repaid the favor and drafted me all the way to the finish, but I held him off as we crossed the line.
19th on the day dropped me back to 20th overall.  Wash bike, shower, and massage.  Followed by a cheeseburger for a snack.

Our view out the front of the tent.  That is ocean front.

This was camp for the night. 

Full Results are Here.

More pics are Here.


BCBR Day 2

We woke up in Cumberland bright and early, headed up to the local gymnasium for some breakfast, and then loaded up busses for a short drive to Campbell River.  We arrived, it was pouring, and we got changed to race.
This day started with the usual moto lead neutral start to the edge of town where we would enter a long section of double track.  Not long after this photo was taken I realized I was not warmed up and the neutral ness of the leadout wasnt feeling so easy.  This would be common all week, I need more warmup than time allows at the BCBR.  When we turned onto the double track I started fading back.  Much farther back than I would have liked.  At one point Wendy Simms passed me, she is fast, but I should be ahead of her.  By the end of the double track my legs were coming around and my group caught the group ahead and I snuck by them heading into the singletrack.  It was crazy slippery and it was still pouring down rain.  On the first descent I crossed over to the next group, but it was a big group and I was on the back.  I was struggling to keep up anyways, so I was happy to be there.  Suddenly we were at feed zone One and I couldnt believe it had already been an hour of racing.  The trails are so much fun, time just flies, even in a down pour.  At the feedzone I went by the group and myself and one other guy headed up the climb together.  We would cross paths every day from here out, he climbed faster than me, but I descended faster so one of us was usually in the way.  When we got to the Enduro Section he let me pass and I let it rip to the bottom.  I caught a few guys in the mean time and shortly after caught up to Andreas Hestler and snuck by.  I knew I was in a pretty good position at this point and the trail was pretty flat from here to the finish (flat by BC standards).  For the next hour I just kept my head down and was realing in riders at a regular pace.  At this race, there are so many fast guys, that if you let up at anytime, someone is there to pass you.
When I made the turn onto the pavement I was feeling great and could see the next guy up ahead.  I chased as hard as I could, but the finish came too fast.  14th on the day, and I jumped from 27th to 19th in the overall.  Much better.

The best thing about finishing fast is you get easy access to the bike wash, and no line at the showers.  After a nap, it was time for a nice massage and then to dinner.  BC Bike Race has a crew of traveling gals that rub out all the soreness all evening every evening.   Every evening after dinner there was a video (below) and a slide show along with tons of free swag and awards.

So after two days, I realized my bike was set up for midwest racing (stiff) and needed some serious adjustment.  I let air out of the lefty and the rear shock.  I also adjusted to propedal down for the first time ever.  This is real mountain biking.  The damage to my wrists was already done though, by the end of the week my right wrist was basically stuck in a handlebar holding position.  Yes, I was wearing a sweatshirt and stocking cap in July, it was great.

Camp was right on the water and it continued the downpour all evening.  Perfect for sleeping.

Results from Day 2 are Here.
More pics can be found Here.


BCBR Day 1

Day 1 started and finished in Cumberland.  Everyone was pretty nervous as we lined up and rolled out of town.  We entered the singletrack fairly quickly and I was inside the Top 15 and the pace was very comfortable.  I was following Josh Carlson of Giant when we started getting into the slippery roots and rocks.  He goes down hard and I run into him a little.  Seems like people are having trouble with the slippery conditions and I keep moving up without much effort, when boom.  Im on the ground and it takes a good 10 guys passing before I can get back into the line.  After the initial singletrack, there is a huge climb.  See the elevation chart below.
I started the climb in a good position and at the top I was in a good group that included some fast guys such as past Olympian Andreas Hestler.  We started the first Enduro Section right at the top (a timed downhill).  I was moving pretty well, passed a few guys and the Hestler passed me in a hurry.  I tried to stay on his wheel, which helped me catch up to the Rocky Mountain Duo team and I was happy to follow them.  At the bottom of the downhill we hit some more slippery singletrack and they got a little gap.  The trails were amazing, the views were amazing, and the Enduro Sections were my favorite part of every day.  This is when things went bad. Really Bad.

I missed a turn and got off course.  I didnt notice and accidentally got back onto course, but it was part of the course we had already ridden.  I thought it looked familiar, and I thought it was weird those guys suddenly disappeared, but I just started going harder to catch back on.  After about 15 minutes a motorcycle guy comes up and asks what im doing.  He says Im in dead last!!  I explain I was inside the top 15, right behind Hestler.  He starts leading me back onto the course and another guy is coming down the trail at us, hes off course as well.  I was way behind now and had lost some motivation.  Should I go really hard to make back up time, or just cruise and save myself for the rest of the week.  I did some of both.  Day One and Ive lost 15 minutes to the group I was riding with and I was feeling great.  Not the start I was looking for.  27th overall after day one, and 30 minutes from the leaders already.
Cumberland Camp.

One our way to dinner on Day One in Cumberland.Not in a great mood after riding more than 10k extra.

Complete results can be found HERE.


BCBR Day 0

Day Zero came early in the morning and I suited up for a little ride before turning over my bike.  The BCBR makes it really easy to travel, they take everything from one place to another for you.  All you have to do is go where you are told.  I headed outside and it was raining, pouring.  This would be a sign of things to come for the next few days.  I still rode around North Vancouver for a little over an hour and then back to the hotel for a fnal packing and bus ride up to the convention center.  From the convention center we all loaded up on busses (I was on Katie the bus marshall's bus) and we went to the ferry terminal.
The ferry was huge, more like a cruise ship.  It was pretty exciting and the scenery was amazing.
The Ferry took us to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  You can see the whole route HERE.
From Nanaimo we boarded another bus and drove to Cumberland where we would camp for the first two nights.  All of these bus rides and ferry crossings were essentially sight seeing trips of BC.
This is out tent, home for the next seven days.

See more photos from the BCBR Day 0, HERE.


BC Bike Race Day -1

The BC Bike Race is a truly unique experience.  There is really no other event like it and I cant really do it justice on this blog, so Im just going to go day by day over the next few days and try and remember some of the major events of the week.  I have been to a lot of races in a lot of places, but ive never ridden the quality of trails, met as many interesting people from all over the world, and had as much fun as I did in my week in Canada.  I can honestly say that British Columbia has the best mountain biking of any place ive ever been.  Its a pretty amazing place and I know I missed a lot of the scenery as the trails are so techincal that you have to concentrate all day, every day.  There were racers from thirty some countries in attendance, and I had a chance to meet someone from a lot of them.  Breakfast with Australians, dinners with Slovenians, hours of riding with Beligians, recovering with Canadians....

Day -1 was an epic day of travel.  We drove to KCI, flew to Vancouver, got on a train at Vancouver International which took us into the city where we boarded this water bus to take us across the bay to North Vancouver.  
We finally made it to North Vancouver and found we had an amazing hotel right on the water.  I quickly unpacked my bike and headed out for a ride and found some great trails and almost got carried away riding too much.
After my ride we walked up to the convention center where the pre race meeting was happening.  Katie was volunteering for the week, so we both had to get registered and get all of our race supplied gear and information to get us through this adventure.  We ate outside at a Sushi place and then rode the bus back to our hotel to get packed and ready for Day 0.