Lucky 13 – BC Bike Race

We are mountain bikers, we eat pain for breakfast –

Town Crier – Day 3 Cumberland
Listen to the full version here:

I regretted that trip to Canada to ride bikes, on the raddest trails…….Said no one. EVER!!

When you see an opportunity to buy a sold-out BC bike race ticket, you take the opportunity. I have to thank Bettina for injuring herself and Margaret for posting about it on social media (it is good for something J). This race has been on my ‘to race’ list for a long while. Did it live up to my expectations? Well….

I love stage racing for the simple fact that all you have to do is sleep, eat, ride, have a good time, repeat. There was so much excitement and anticipation in the lead up and so many awesome trails to ride everywhere, it was really hard not to get exhausted before the race started.

Rider briefing

The rider briefing is tiring from the laughter. You will definitely know what to do if you see a black or grizzly bear and you may potentially end up with micro or macroscopic poop on your hands if you don’t wash them. I’m sure there was other really important information but that’s all I remember ( I remember really important information ha-ha!!). BCBR had people to cover all other emergencies but the general rule of thumb is “don’t be a dick.”

The race

The days sort of blur into one but sitting down and writing about the race a few weeks later is always fun. Going back over the courses and looking through photos, the good times come rolling back as does the smile on my face.

600 riders
38 countries
500 plus staff and volunteers
Here we were greeted with a welcome from local First Nations peoples and wished a safe passage through their land. I definitely appreciated the race acknowledging and honouring First Nations Peoples.
Day 1 in Cowichan, was one of my favourite days. We rode trails on both  Mount Tzouhalem and Maple Mountain, with a timed course on each mountain separated by a transition. The route mixed it up with everything from undulating single track to fast and flowy berms and whoops and some sections that tested my technical skills. A lot.
Day 3 in Cumberland was shorter and steeper and crazy fun.
Day 4 in Powell River was stunning, like riding through an enchanted forest from the Enid Blyton books that I read when I little. I was in suffer town today, a cold had set in, my body felt horrid and the rooty trails beat me up.
Day 5 was the longest day.  I was going backwards today; my mind definitely had taken control and was running riot. Negativity from start to finish, I couldn’t find any power and the harder I seemed to push the further I seemed to go backwards. I started to complain about the fire road sections and my complaints meant that I missed half the fun of the single-track descents that were there. I always say there is nothing wrong with the trails, its generally the attitude of the person. That was definitely me today, I usually don’t mind the long, hard stages. But today was one to go into lessons learnt box and move onto to tomorrow.
Day 6 – having the best time 🙂

Food

The food was great and got better as the race went along. My only wish was for plain toast with jam; I’m bit of a plain Jane when it comes to pre-race breakfast especially when you only have a couple hours to digest, mixed with being nervous. The best was left for towards the end, I knew it was going to be a good day when pancakes and maple syrup were served.

Feed zones were also stocked so if you had the time, you could stop and have a picnic. Alternatively, if you wanted to keep moving volunteers were handing out blocks, gels, bars, redbull.

The finish line food was the best. They have everything from Tim Hortons (seriously Australia why would you have Krsipy Kremes if Tim Hortons existed?) Donuts to fruit, crisps, lollies, savoury and everything in between.

The food all week ticked all of the nutrition boxes (you can take the girl out of nutrition but nutrition will always remain in the girl haha).  The meal times were perfect to chat and meet the 600 other people that have come to ride/race/participate.

Tent City

Rocky Mountain Bicycles

The biggest appreciation for the great people that work at this company both in Canada and Australia. I’ve been lucky enough to ride Rocky Mountains pretty ever since I started riding (8th April 2013 J Easy to remember because I got surprised with a bike and it was my birthday but my bike shop at the time didn’t know that), so I’m a little bias and don’t really know much else. But after doing a tour of head office in North Vancouver I wouldn’t want to ride anything else either. The passion, enthusiasm and  fun they have for the brand is pretty infectious and not mention the bikes are the best is the business. They also bring the party all week through BCBR.

Did BCBR live up to my expectations?

Yes. I generally prefer to go in to a race and new place with no expectations but the hype around BC is massive and it’s easy to get sucked along that path. Do I wish every day was crazy technical single track like days 1 and 2? Yes. But then the race also wouldn’t cater to the other 600+ riders. BCBR has trails that cater for everyone; from steep rocky descents and climbs, fun, fast and flowy berms, fire roads through lush green forests. Trails that have you involuntarily hootin’ and holerin’ are top notch in my books. Everything you need is catered for in BCBR.

What would I do differently if I went for round 2 of BCBR?

I believe you should do everything (well, almost everything) twice; the first time is a test and the second is the real thing.

  • Pack more riding kit and less other clothes. The red bag you are given doesn’t really fit that much after you add sleeping bag and mat (you really don’t need that much either).
  • Take more snacks and water on transfer stages (bus, ferry).
  • Day bag to contain staples of:
    • Flip flops
    • Towel
    • Non riding clothes
    • Water and snacks
    • Money
    • Plastic bag to put stinky kit in
  • Take (or use the one I took) keep cup, plate, bowl and cutlery set. To reduce the use of single use waste products.
  • Stay in a hotel when in towns more than one night – a good, long sleep to break up tent city.
  • Explore the towns a little more (probably won’t but it’s a good thought)
  • Do yoga every damn day 
  • Take more photos
  • Not be such a party pooper post-race

A massive thank you to BCBR photographers; Margus-Riga, Dave Silver, Todd Weselake- Lorenz Jimenez – Scott Robarts – Rob Shaer, whose photos I have used throughout.

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