Cycling News

From GTA to Vancouver Island: My week at BC Bike Race

From GTA to Vancouver Island: My week at BC Bike Race

Racers slowly gathered on July 3rd at local ball field in Crofton, B.C.. They register and then choose one of the roomy three-person tents that have been preassembled in neat rows to call home for the next three days. Maple Mountain and Mount Tzouhalem loom above as the anticipation for the 600-plus racers mounts.

Crofton base camp ready to welcome 600 racers. Photo: Dave Silver

 Prologue: Testing new dirt

Today things look easy. A short 13.4k time trial, or prologue that people are welcome to jump on as soon as they are ready. For many, this will be the first taste of Vancouver Island trails. Almost 65 per cent of BCBR participants travel from either the U.S. or internationally. In fact, only about 30 per cent of the field have ever done the event before, and most are unlikely to have ridden in this place.

The day and the week will be special, though. The weather is unseasonably hot at 30 degrees and rain has not touched these parts for weeks. This gorgeous weather is a double-edged sword, though. The sun-exposed corners are blown-out dusty messes, with little grip and lots of possibilities for sliding out.

BC Bike Race: The trail up until now

BC Bike Race is a classic mountain bike seven-day stage race with a hefty reputation. European, Israeli, South American, Asian and North American languages and accents punctuate the still night air in basecamp. Most of these participants have known about the race for years, a singular destination in the mountain biking heartland.

Andres Hestler, or Dre to everyone at the event, co-founded BC Bike Race in 2009 with Dean Payne. “The idea behind the race is that people from around the world want to ride the BC trails,” Dre explains. “So we are giving them an event that allows them to ride without trail finding, to eat and sleep without having to organize it on their own and generally create a community where you can meet others with similar stoke.”

Photo: Sara Kempner

Finding footing on technical B.C. trails

The prologue proved short, 30 minutes for the pros and between 30 and 60 minutes for the rest. But the climbing and descending allowed everyone to test out their legs and equipment. For this race, I have a new second-generation Revel Ranger, with SRAM Transmission GX, Enve M5 wheels, Fox 34 StepCast fork and Fox’s new Float SL shock, and bars/stem and dropper from FSA. The bike looks sharp and I am hopeful that it will ride the fine line between aggressive downcountry descending and XC climbing….

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…