The Luna team arrived in Vancouver, BC Friday afternoon for a team first, the BC Bike race. The BCBR is a 7 day stage race that will take us through some of the best singletrack of my home province of British Columbia. The route begins in North Vancouver on the infamous North Shore before sending us to Vancouver Island for 2 days, the sunshine coast for 2 days and ultimately the mtb meccas of Squamish and Whistler.
Friday we celebrated the beginning of our adventure with a great team dinner at a Thai restaurant on the water. Saturday, Day 0, we learned about the week to come, signed up for the all important meal times and got our swag. Keith and I also took the team out to the North Shore for a little taste of the first stage’s trails before heading back for a press conference.
Day 1: The Epic begins. Today we ride the North shore. Being the first day there are no call ups so you had to get in the start box early to get a front spot. This meant very little warm up even though today’s stage promised to be short at only 29km (of very rugged terrain and 1552 m of climbing). The start was hard on the legs and lungs (feeling especially winded coming off a rest week), but Katerina and I held a good position into the singletrack and were able to move further up as the terrain got more root covered.
Today was our first time really riding as a team and we started figuring out the pacing, falling into a pattern of me leading the climbs and her leading the descents. Our team mate Georgia; this week teamed with Kona rider Ryan Trebon – rode within a minute of us the entire race. Katka and I had a good day, climbing steadily and rocking the descents as she fearlessly led us down some of the gnarliest trails you’ll ever find in an xc race. There were big drops, chutes and too many wooden log rides and bridges to count. There’s not much sweeter than catching and dropping guys on a tricky descent!
That day we crossed the line as the first women’s team, 8 minutes ahead of nearest rivals Alison Sydor and Lea Davison. Georgia and Ryan Claimed first in the mixed team category, finishing in the same minute as us, and 11 minutes ahead of their competition. We all move into the leaders’ jerseys for day 2.
Day 2: Up at 6ish and on way to ferry to Vancouver island. We realize on the first corner as my plate of eggs flies to the floor that a casual breakfast at the table won’t work while in motion. Yes mom we had seat belts!
Walking through tent city last night and at the meal hall I’ve gotten the chance to meet lots of great people from all over the world. It’s going to be a fun week. I have to admit I felt a little spoiled having Zeph there to clean and prep our bikes, his girlfriend Sarah helping us with logistics and meals in our sweet RV and Waldek to Massage our legs…. but hey how many other racers out there only have 3 weekends off between April and October?
Off the ferry we’re lined up to race within 45 minutes. Today we have call ups and will ride from the town of Nanimo to Parksville over some beautiful old school xc trails. Katerina sets a good pace into the singletrack. Today was good but tough at 70km and just shy of 4hrs. The trails were amazing, but I definitely felt the difference between a 2hr and a 4hr race.
Tomorrow we’re up at 6am again and headed to Cumberland for Day 3. This stage promises 60km of fun single track.