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

Adventuress Kayaking – Girls Island Getaway

Comments 3 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Last week Keira and I were invited over to the Island for a girls getaway adventure in the Parksville and Qualicum region. Our time was action-packed from the minute I arrived at the Departure Bay ferry terminal and we headed up Island toward Nanoose for our afternoon kayaking trip.

View Adventuress Kayak Trip in a larger map

I first learned to canoe and kayak in summer camp, over 15 years ago, so my recent refresher over in Deep Cove came in handy when we faced strong wings and boat-rocking swells.

In Nanoose we met up with Jan Kretz of Adventuress who runs a business offering wilderness adventures for women. Jan arrived full of energy and seemed encouraged by the fact that we didn’t shy away from the less-than-smooth conditions out on the water.



After helping us load into our boats, she armed us with valuable information and safety tips, and then we were off to explore Craig Bay – just around the corner. Steering in through the choppy ups and downs of the ocean I knew my muscles would hurt for days after.

Jan pointed out the snow-capped mountain ranges, the names of Islands, and led us into the Bay as we drifted in calmer waters, trailing a family of geese that was also out for a little cruise.

Sometimes I think I haven’t found peace with the Pacific since I’m always hesitant to swim amongst its creatures, white caps and sea kelp however I don’t think I’d ever miss the opportunity to head out for a paddle. There’s just something about being out on the water that is empowering and at the same time brings peace. I can look back on land at all of the houses I wish I could buy, the mountains I could aim to hike, and the forests I’d love to explore, but at the same time sitting in that boat and experiencing the open water is amazing in its own right. My muscles did end up hurting for days after, and I blistered the inside of my thumb with the paddle, but it was definitely worth it.

Photo credit: Keira on Flickr

One thing I noticed recently about kayaking tours is that the people who run them are truly passionate about what they do – and Jan was absolutely no exception. With Adventuress she offers anything from 2-hour tours like we experienced to overnight escapes with either camping or cushy B&B accommodations (which seems like the ideal plan for the next Girls Island Getaway).

Jan also teaches lessons and does themed outings year-round. These special tours include, the Sea Lion Paddle, the Full Moon Paddle, the Sunset Paddle, trips over to Mistaken or Newcastle Island, and coming up this month, a Gulf Islands Escape.

You can contact Jan directly to make a reservation or to set up your next multi-day trip.

This week will feature a series of posts about our Girls Island Getaway adventures. My photos will be available on Flickr and you can also read Keira’s posts over on her site.

Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2009

Comments 45 by Rebecca Bollwitt

VFMF_Logo_1The 32nd annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival returns to Jericho Beach Park July 17-19, 2009 and I’d love to send one lucky reader (and a friend) to experience it all. The Festival includes vendors, a market, and plenty of entertainment from latin ska to swing and trance blues…

The Proclaimers (Scotland)
The Weakerthans (BC)
Joe Pug (US)
Steven Page (ON)
Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band (US)
Pacifika (BC)
Iron and Wine (US)
Great Lake Swimmers (ON)
… and dozens more.

Things kick off the evening of the 17th at 4:00pm, and concerts run Friday (5:00pm to 11:00pm), then Saturday & Sunday (10:00am to 11:00pm).

Tickets for the entire weekend, or just a single day, are available for purchase online, and also over at Highlife Records, Neptoon Records, Zulu Records, Little Sisters Bookstore, and Banyen Books.

If you would like to attend the Vancouver Folk Music Festival on behalf of Miss604.com, please leave a comment or re-tweet this post (using the link http://tr.im/604folkfest). I’ll draw a winner by Friday, July 10th who will receive a full weekend pass for themselves and a guest.

Entries from Twitter

Update: The contest is now closed. I have drawn a winner and you can view this video to see who it was….

Golden Ears Bridge Great Ride

Comments 1 by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition MEC Great Rides take place once a month from July to October, and not only encourage getting out on a bike but also exploring our beautiful region.

These permanent circular routes take in beautiful country lanes, vibrant city centres and fun local festivals. The rides range from 20km to 50km along quiet roads and dedicated bike routes. Routes are designed for fun and exploration with extensions and shortcuts. [GreatRides.ca]

The first Great Ride of 2009 on July 12th will run between Langley and Maple Ridge, crossing the new Golden Ears Bridge. Riders can choose to start over on the Maple Ridge side, or over in Fort Langley – ending up at the opposite location after a 14-34km fun ride for the entire family. Each destination will have activities and local entertainment and riders can enjoy the sights and sounds of the Caribbean Festival in Maple Ridge which will be underway at that time.

Photo credit: random guy on Flickr

Other rides this season include Pitt Meadows (August 15), Port Coquitlam (September 27th), Bikennale (Downtown, October 4). Tickets for the ride at $15 but you can ave $10 if you sign up for all four at once.

The Vancouver Bicycling Meetup Group has this scheduled and you can read more over on the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition’s site.

Surrey Canada Day – Bif Naked

Comments 6 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Chants of “We Want Bif!” filled the atmosphere as the loving crowds gathered to catch Bif Naked‘s performance at Surrey’s Canada Day celebration.

Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

I first heard Bif Naked back in 1995 when I caught Daddy’s Getting Married on CFOX and I was an instant fan. Over the years she’s become the queen of Canadian rock, proving time and time again that our country can produce strong, talented, a**-kicking female talent. She also write poetry (has two spoken word albums) and has done some acting.

We heard tracks from her latest, The Promise, as well as catchy hits such as Moment of Weakness, Lucky, and even a cover of Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters.

She drove the fans so crazy that an encore was inevitable so when she came back on stage she lit it up with Spaceman.

Last year Bif was diagnosed with breast cancer and has been in a constant battle ever-since. She’s pretty amazing as her show was as energetic as any other and she’s also just returned from a cross-country tour. How she finds the time and energy I’ll never know but the audience at Canada Day truly appreciated seeing her and watching her perform.

Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

Bif also keeps a blog and is active on Twitter @BifNaked.