BC Bike Race 2009

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The following was written for Miss604.com by Jane Victoria King

BC Bike Race wrapped up at Whistler’s Creekside on Saturday. The seven-day staged mountain bike race is billed as the epic single-track adventure of a lifetime. It brought together pro racers, riders of all ages and skill levels -including the weekend warriors, from countries across the Globe.

The journey began with registration for Day 0 in the West End at the Coast Plaza Hotel and Suites and a mandatory racer’s briefing, Here, BC Bike Race President and Founder, Dean Payne thanked the Coast Plaza for allowing BC Bike Race riders to “sleep” with their bicycles. An exception made for the BC Bike Race of the hotel’s strict “No Bikes in Rooms” policy.

Laughter erupted again soon after when Payne fondly referred to Vancouver’s North Shore Mayor as the “Mountain Bike Mayor.” A first for the North Shore, BC Bike Race emphasized their appreciation to the North Shore community for allowing the BC Bike Race to camp on the North Shore with the erection of the first ever “tent city” in Lynn Park.

Original plans for the race start were at the Coast Plaza, with a scenic crossing of the Lions Gate Bridge to the North Shore. That vision was put on hold until possibly 2010. Riders were instead loaded onto shuttle buses to the North Shore for the start of Day 0.

Photo credit: Jane Victoria King on Flickr

The BC Bike Race, now in its third year showcases British Columbia’s diverse communities and forests and includes four BC Ferries’ crossings. While the North Shore of Vancouver plays host to Day One, Day Two includes a race start at the Departure Bay Ferry terminal in Nanaimo with a finish in Parksville, where base camp and tent city is set up seaside. On this day, the wind challenged the great blow-up BC Bike Race finish shoot sending one crew member ten feet in the air in an attempt to hold things down!

Photo credit: Jane Victoria King on Flickr

Day Three saw racers travel through the handcrafted trails of Cumberland near Comox, while Day Four included two scenic ferry rides, first to Powell River from Comox where riders ate up the infamous Sunshine Breakfast on board. Then another short shuttle ride to Saltery Bay, and the last ferry ride of the day to Earls Cove for the start of Day Four. Here, founding sponsor of the BC Bike Race, Harbour Air Seaplanes saved the day by flying in a handful of racers who missed the ferry rides due to shuttle bus logistics.

The diverse Sunshine Coast played host for two days with the race ending on Day Four in Sechelt and on Day Five at the Langdale ferry terminal. Another ferry crossing after that from Langdale to Horseshoe Bay and Day Six included yet another challenging day of mounting biking in Squamish and finally Day Seven, a short day of pure single-track in Whistler to finish things up, beginning and ending at Whistler’s Creekside in front of Dusty’s.

Photo credit: Jane Victoria King on Flickr

Anyone can train up for the BC Bike Race. A training schedule posted to the BC Bike Race web site tallies in some weeks leading up to the race, 18-20 hours in the saddle. Although a commitment of time and energy, the race can be done in teams of two or more, with this year allowing for the first time ever a solo rider category.

Many of the riders commented on the diversity of the trails and on the scenery of British Columbia as the “Most beautiful place in the world.”

One BC Bike Race crew member announced at the finish line when the last finisher had crossed, “Now we’re sending you back to the easy life.”

An accomplishment for many, one solo female rider said the seven days of the BC Bike Race, “Made me a better rider.”

Photo credit: Jane Victoria King on Flickr

Wrapping up the awards ceremonies, BC Bike Race MC and Finish Line Host, Drew Bragg announced probably what many of the riders thought. “The guys from Johannesburg, South Africa have never seen single track like this before, they’ll want to grab some of it and put it in their luggage and take it home with them.”

What the BC Bike Race truly did was take almost 400 riders to places that many had never been before, both in scenery and in spirit.

But like North Shore’s, Andreas Hestler, Director of Marketing for BC Bike Race said, “You’ve got to nurse your bike and nurse your butt along the way!”

Registration is already open with a limited time reduced fare for 2010, visit the BC Bike Race site for details.

Based in Victoria, BC, Jane Victoria King is an award winning TV producer, photojournalist, mariner, mother, and lover of all things cycling. You can follow her on Twitter @Jane_Victoria

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