The best way to describe the fourth annual B.C. Bike Race was "travelling circus."
While the race covered some of the same ground as its predecessors, the scope of the race changed from a point-to-point epic, with participants riding long sections of road between staging areas, to an event where the group is bused and ferried from stage to stage and let loose on the singletrack in the area.
The goal from the start of the race has been to showcase the best of B.C. riding to the wider world, and by that measure the event is a huge success. Riders from across the U.S., Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, South Africa, the U.K., Hong Kong, Israel and Costa Rica have participated.
The race started with a short prologue on the North Shore then went to Nanaimo, Cumberland, Powell River, Sechelt and Sunshine Coast, Squamish and Whistler.
The course for the Whistler stage was shorter than others. It included a climb up Blackcomb and descent to the base of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, a climb to mid-station, a descent on Crank It Up and Heart of Darkness, a climb back up Blackcomb, a descent to the Lost Lake area, and one final climb up Blackcomb to Roam in the Loam before descending back to the Blackcomb base area.
Dr. Cathy Zeglinski, riding the B.C. Bike Race for the first time, said the singletrack was incredible.
"They really emphasized the technical nature of the trails," she said. "When they said it was all singletrack, they meant it - it was all singletrack. You would actually look forward to the roads and doubletrack so you could get a bit of a break."
Although she's ridden all over the world, Dr. Zeglinski says she was surprised by the quality of riding in Nanaimo and on the Sunshine Coast, both destinations just a ferry ride away from Sea to Sky. "These are our backyard trails in a way, you can literally ride off the ferry onto some really great trails."
Dr. Zeglinski and her partner, Brandi Heisterman, raced the event as Team Northlands Medical Clinic. They held the lead for the first three stages of the race but got lost on course at one stage and watched their lead slip away to a strong team called Terrascape-Hardcore Racing.
After seven stages, including the short prologue eighth stage, Northlands were second with a cumulative time of 25:13:34, while Terrascaep-Hardcore Racing were first in 25:05:17. Dr. Zeglinski says it was fun to have someone to race against because it made them push themselves harder.