2017 Road Race Wrap

Pedal Magazine - - Contents - by Ben An­drew

Along with break­fast, din­ner, yoga classes and tent time, in­ter­stage travel of­fers op­por­tu­ni­ties for strength­en­ing bonds among this mo­bile in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. While you may think a warm, soft bed in the com­fort of a ho­tel room would trump the idea of a week in a sleep­ing bag, the ex­pe­ri­ence of six days in tent city is one that shouldn’t be missed. It’s a chance to get to know those rid­ers who seem to share your tempo and shadow you on ev­ery stage dur­ing the week. The gen­uine ca­ma­raderie that is built over the week is price­less, as is the ex­po­sure to sto­ries from new friends from around the world. It was amaz­ing to hear how far some had trav­eled to en­joy what we of­ten take for granted in B.C., and to re-ex­pe­ri­ence our in­cred­i­ble en­vi­ron­ment though the eyes of vis­i­tors from around the world.

The tents are clean and roomy and the BCBR crew takes care of com­plete setup and take­down, so you have noth­ing to con­cern your­self with other than showing up each day and get­ting up each morn­ing. Of course, if get­ting up is a chal­lenge, BCBR has your back with some ex­tra chicken in the morn­ing – an iconic morn­ing rit­ual that is both hi­lar­i­ous and horrific!

Tent tech­ni­cal­i­ties are not the only chore BCBR takes off your hands dur­ing the week. In fact, sev­eral im­pres­sive teams of staff and vol­un­teers take care of most of your needs. The BCBR well­ness team con­sists of medics, chi­ro­prac­tors, phys­io­ther­a­pists, acupunc­tur­ists, natur­opaths and the oh-so-cov­eted mas­sage ther­a­pists. The team works to­gether to en­sure that ev­ery racer rolls up to the start line as re­cov­ered and ready as pos­si­ble. If things do go south health–wise, the BCBR med­i­cal team jumps in to patch and tape rid­ers up and get them back into the race. There are even rov­ing bike pa­trols spread through­out the pack to en­sure a quick re­sponse to any mishaps along the trail, and Shi­mano techs are on hand at feed sta­tions for me­chan­i­cal sup­port.

You may even run across a ran­dom feed sta­tion serv­ing up hot ba­con off the ATV grill dur­ing some stages! One of the most im­pres­sive things about all of th­ese teams, in­clud­ing “Back Coun­try Back Ba­con Man”, is that they are not only there en­sur­ing par­tic­i­pants are healthy along their jour­ney, but when they are not work­ing they are lin­ing the trails cheer­ing rid­ers on in all sorts of colour­ful cos­tumes.

The BCBR crew treats par­tic­i­pants’ bikes as well as their bod­ies. A crew of me­chan­i­cal ma­gi­cians from Ob­ses­sion Bikes works re­lent­lessly through­out the evening and night to en­sure ev­ery bike is race-ready come start time. We were lucky enough to have Team Rocky Moun­tain back­ing us up for bike care, but as it turned out we re­quired very lit­tle of their time. Our El­e­ment took on each stage with­out a snag and al­ways came across the fin­ish line solid and ready to ride. Af­ter each stage, another team of vol­un­teers takes the bikes and metic­u­lously cleans them while rac­ers re­cover and re­fuel from the day’s ad­ven­ture. BCBR then packs up and trans­ports all bikes from one stage to another – an im­pres­sive feat when you con­sider there are over 600 bikes to move – and then lines them up in an easy-to-find co­ral for the next stage.

The break­fasts and din­ners are well thought out, bal­anced and plen­ti­ful. No one goes hun­gry, but if you want to ex­pand your gas­tro­nomic op­tions dur­ing the event there are on-site ven­dors of­fer­ing ev­ery­thing from smooth­ies to smok­ies. In fact, many high­qual­ity es­tab­lish­ments in the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties are very sup­port­ive and be­stow BCBR par­tic­i­pants with some­what of a celebrity wel­come.

Out­side of camp and on the trail your only con­cern be­comes keep­ing the rub­ber side down, main­tain­ing hy­dra­tion and nutri­tion, and en­joy­ing some of the most di­verse and in­spir­ing moun­tain bik­ing trails in the world. That en­joy­ment was taken to an even higher level thanks to the BC Edi­tion El­e­ment that Rocky sup­plied us. The El­e­ment made ev­ery stage a plea­sure to ride, tack­ling ev­ery form of ter­rain the week of­fered up as if it had been de­signed specif­i­cally for this race – which it turns out, it was! Although the start line was lit­tered with ev­ery form of moun­tain bike you can imag­ine, from 1980 hard­tails to A-line down­hill rigs, with so much trail di­ver­sity the right ride makes all the dif­fer­ence on a marathon course like the BCBR. XC marathon bikes like the El­e­ment 990 BC Edi­tion just max­i­mize the fun fac­tor on this course.

The course se­lec­tion for the BCBR couldn’t of­fer a tastier piece of moun­tain bike pie. Each stage seems to com­ple­ment the pre­vi­ous of­fer­ing with a grad­ual in­crease in tech­ni­cal treats, build­ing your con­fi­dence as you go and cul­mi­nat­ing in an all-out fit­ness and skill test by the end of the week in Squamish/Whistler.

Granted, the jour­ney is a chal­lenge. If it wasn’t, there would hardly be a rea­son for rid­ers to travel from 33 coun­tries to par­tic­i­pate. But with a good bal­ance of de­cent climb­ing legs, a solid set of lungs and an ea­ger­ness to stretch your tech­ni­cal-rid­ing en­ve­lope, any par­tic­i­pant can make it to the BCBR fin­ish line – and most do!

Even though the front of the pack is seeded with podium-own­ing pros such as Ge­off

Kabush, Stephen Et­tinger, Quinn Moberg, Ka­te­rina Nash and Maghalie Ro­chette, to name a few, thou­sands of am­a­teurs have taken this event on and lived to tell the tales of their amaz­ing B.C. coast con­quests.

As far as a full course de­scrip­tion, we could pull al­most ev­ery pos­i­tive adjective avail­able out of a th­e­saurus to de­scribe the trails that me­an­der through 300km of lush green rain­for­est canopy, but it would hardly do the event jus­tice. You can hear about the jaw- and seat-drop­ping de­scents and thigh-burn­ing climbs from friends, read about roller­coast­er­like down­hills with berms higher than houses in mags, and even watch trail-blaz­ing GoPro snip­pets from BCBR alumni, but un­til you ac­tu­ally put tire-to-trail, you will never truly un­der­stand what the BCBR has to of­fer in terms of pure moun­tain-bik­ing bliss.

Of course, the BCBR is much more than a moun­tain-bike stage race. It’s the com­ing to­gether of like-minded peo­ple from around the globe to form a com­mu­nity of com­peti­tors and share in an out­door ad­ven­ture among some of the most beau­ti­ful scenery in the world... and it’s an op­por­tu­nity to score a new BCBR belt buckle!

Stephen Et­tinger wins Stage 3

Pow­ell River’s Willing­don Beach

Canada’s Maghalie Ro­chette (r) just be­hind Ka­te­rina Nash

Lad­der bridge

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