BC BIKE RACE
Just as the dust began settling from Canada’s 150-year anniversary celebrations, the BC Bike Race was prepping to kick it up again with the 11th annual BCBR on July 6-13.
Over 12 years has passed since a casual conversation over a few beers in North Vancouver morphed into what is arguably one of the most impressively well-organized and enjoyable off-road stage races on the globe – and the globe knows it!
In fact, over 600 riders from 33 countries decided to jump, cleats first, into this year’s adventure and take on seven days of singletrack serenity along the southwest coast of British Columbia. BCBR invited us along for the ride and Rocky Mountain Bikes hooked us up with their latest Element 990 RSL BC Edition – the ultimate marathon machine to tackle the epic BCBR.
Of course, long before anyone takes their first pedal stroke off the start line, the BCBR team is hard at work. An army of organizers, support staff, volunteers and sponsors labour relentlessly throughout the year to ensure every aspect of the event is dialed-in and ready to go come Day Zero. For participants, Day Zero is possibly one of the easiest days of the week, at least in terms of cardiovascular stress.
Nervous stress, on the other hand, runs rampant through the tribe that descends on North Vancouver for pre-race orientation and the first of the week’s four ferry trips. It’s the day you realize that the BCBR adventure is about to get very real. It’s also the day you begin secondguessing your training, technical riding abilities, fitness level and sanity. BCBR is well aware of Day Zero nervousness and apprehension, so it provides an informative and humorous orientation that calms the crowd and gets everyone revved up and ready to roll. Much of the time is spent ensuring all participants are aware of the huge amount of support that is available to get them through the event, including medical, mechanical, nutritional and “yogal” guidance and expertise, and they emphasize the importance of participants supporting each other. It’s an inclusive and impressive introduction to what has become known as one of the world’s best off-road stage races.
You come away from Day Zero realizing that BCBR will do everything in its power to get you through each and every stage and to prepare you for the next, relieving you of almost every task other than riding your bike, making new friends and enjoying the incredible beauty that B.C. coastal mountain biking has to offer.
The seven-day adventure provides over 10,000 meters of climbing and 300km of epic off-road trials, 75% of which are majestic, handcrafted singletrack, traversing through several uniquely beautiful British Columbian communities – Cumberland, Powell River, Sechelt, North Vancouver, Squamish and Whistler. Each community is incredibly rich in both First Nations and more recent history, and each has a dedicated group of local sponsors, consultants, trail builders, clubs and volunteers who fine-tune their specific portion of the BCBR into a ride experience that will rank as one of the best mountain bike memories your limbic system will ever log.
Although the trails may be the star of the BCBR, they are not the only highlight of the event. Transportation between each stage, which is an adventure in its own right, includes stunningly scenic ferry, boat taxi and sea plane rides across the Georgia Strait, and offers an aweinspiring experience you won’t find at any other event in the world.
Start of Stage 3 at BCBR
Rocky Mountain’s Quinn Moberg.
Famous rubber chicken wake up call