Posted by Editoress on 06/29/09
Day 1: North Vancouver
The tempest that unleashed high winds and heavy rainfall onto the Vancouver area on Saturday night did nothing to ease the pre-race jitters building among the almost 400 racers set to roll up to this morning's start line of the 2009 BC Bike Race.
Already anxious about the legendary, and often deemed “gnarly” North Shore singletrack, racers arrived at the North Vancouver starting chute to find dark clouds lifting and the sun working hard to shine through.
With the impressive BC Bike Race logoed arch looming high above them, the mix of elite and weekend warrior mountain bikers were an impressive sight as they waited for the third annual race to get underway.
At 10am sharp, the wait was over, the start gun fired and the pack worked its way up the 3 kilometer residential road climb up to the trailhead. The sight of mountain bikers is nothing new for inhabitants of this North Vancouver neighbourhood - they're blessed with living within spitting distance of some of the best riding around, so cyclists come with the territory. Until today, though, residents hadn't seen anywhere near this many riders spinning down their streets. It was an impressive site worthy of the onlookers' applause and cheers.
And with the paved start conveniently spreading out the pack, the first riders dropped in to the much anticipated Mt Seymour singletrack. More climbs awaited as racers grunted up Old Buck and the Baden Powell trails to hit their first technical descent of the day – Severed Trail. Through the really technical sections, some racers found themselves running off their bike more than riding on, but with seven full days of riding ahead, it makes sense not to risk crashing on something outside their comfort zone.
From Severed, the course drew racers through Bridle Path and Bottle Top after which they made their way over to Fromme Mt. More leg burning climbs lead to the top of Pipeline trail – another local classic with plenty of stunning man-made bridges and berms that are incredibly flowy for those who are in the groove. The roots, rocks, bridges and drops of the North Vancouver mountains made for a helluva welcome carpet for the BCBR participants.
During Saturday's press conference in Vancouver, the banter among the top three men's teams hinted at the battle that was to come this week. Day One did not disappoint. Seamus McGrath and Chris Sheppard (Jamis/ Santa Cruz) said they were here for redemption and their aggressive attack on the North Shore course secured their first Stage win of the week in a mere 1:35:14.
Last year's overall winners, Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks (Kona), and year one winners Chris Eatough and Jeff Schalk (Trek/VW) rode practically within arm's length of each other for much of the course as they put constant pressure on the lead team. More than halfway through, Trek/VW's Schalk took a tough fall on the Pipeline trail for which he later required stitches in his top lip. That opened the door for the Kona team to put some time between them, as Kona finished in 1:36.29.
Trek/VW's misfortune today reminded those of us at last year's finish line that Eatough and Schalk are an incredibly determined team. On opening day last year, Eatough suffered a huge mechanical issue in the first circuit of the day. Trek/VW had to push to the limit in order to claw their way back to the lead pack from being more than 30 minutes behind the last rider on course. Eatough's strategy was simple, “You have to keep going, no matter what happens.” One year to the day later, Schalk delivered on that strategy too, bloodied face and all, as Trek/VW rallied back to a 1:38:57 finish.
Without a doubt, the competition in this category is absolutely sizzling!
The top Team of 2 Open Women was no surprise today, as Catharine Pendrel & Katerina Nash (Luna Chix) were hot on the heels of the best male riders. They blazed across the finish line in 1:50:07 with rivals Alison Sydor and Lea Davison (RockyMountain) almost 8 minutes behind. Oak Bay Bikes' Lisa Ludwig and Dawn Anderson rounded out the top three in 2:11:11.
Canadian Olympian Catharine Pendrel, in her first multi-stage event, commented on the Team Luna Chix strategy going into seven days of racing with a technical North Shore start. “Katerina and I are both competent descenders so we knew we could gain some ground there. We didn't want to kill ourselves on the first day, but we had pre-ridden Severed, which helped. Pipeline was completely new for both of us, but I have a fearless teammate. We just pushed forward and started picking off the guys – it was a lot of fun.”
Being top female athletes in an event like BC Bike Race means racing primarily with male teams on the course. But Pendrel was quick to point out that Team Luna Chix were in great company, “Something good for women to know out there is that the guys have been awesome – they are really cool about passing. The atmosphere out there is really great!”
There might well be another tight battle underway out in the field this week. While Colin Kerr (Team Kerr) posted a blistering 1:39:46 to take top Solo Open Men, Kevin Calhoun (RMB – Different Bikes), Tony Hogg (Hoggy R&R Sport NZ) and Andreas Hestler (Team Hestler) battled hard for the next three spots. Calhoun came in at 1:43:00 with Hodd and Hestler 2 and 5 seconds behind him. This will be another category to watch!
Other notable category highlights include favourites Georgia Gould and Ryan Trebone (Team Gould) nabbing top spot in the Open Mixed category posting a 1:50:46 for the day. North Vancouver local, Megan Rose (Team Rose) claimed the yellow jersey for Solo Open Women with a solid 2:12:52. Roger Bartels (Norcal Bike Sport) secured top spot in Solo Men 40+ with 1:49:38 for the day and the women's equivalent going to Lisa McBain (Power to Be) in 2:51:17.
Veterans 80+ winners, Normon Thibault and Peter Stevenson (Frontrunners-Experience Cycle) crossed the finish line with a 1:57:59 time. Thibault is last year's runaway Open Mixed category winner, which he claimed with his wife, xc racer extraordinaire Wendy Simms. This year Thibault decided to make more of a mark on BC Bike Race by designing the new Stage 2 course that's on tap for tomorrow.
Finally, rounding out the day's results is Veterans 100+ winners, Francois Amyot and Daniel Auclair (Zootallures) with a solid lead in 2:13:39 and Team of 3 or more going to Chris Brown, Scott Darling, Bill Darling and Francis Sutherland (Sports Insurance) in 2:53:13.
So it seems that despite the anxious build up before the race, Stage One proved to be more fun than most riders knew what to do with. Course marshals saw endless smiles on racers' faces, and the finish line was crowded with tired but happy riders who couldn't believe how much fun they had on the “gnarly” North Shore.
Next up Stage Two: Nanaimo to Parksville. Riders will be treated to a BC Ferries crossing from the mainland to Vancouver Island, where they will gear up and hop on their bikes to race from the Nanaimo ferry terminal to the Parksville beachfront. Only in BC does mountain bike stage racing come in sexy packaging like this!
BC Bike race press release
|1 Colin Kerr (Kerr)||1:39:46|
|2 Kevin Calhoun (RMB - Different Bikes)||1:43:00|
|3 Tony Hogg (Hoggy R&R Sport NZ)||1:43:02|
|4 Andreas Hestler (Hestler)||1:43:05|
|5 Duncan Gavin (Obsession Bikes / Suarez)||1:45:36|
|1 Megan Rose (Rose)||2:12:52|
|2 Karen Trueman (Trueman)||2:29:43|
|3 Tori Fahey (The Bee)||3:10:05|
|4 Claire Garcia-Webb (avocado tomato)||3:12:14|
|5 Kati Csak (Team? Just me and my bike)||3:29:53|
|Solo Men 40+|
|1 Roger Bartels (Norcal Bike Sport)||1:49:38|
|2 Ted Russo (Open Road Group / Secret Cycles)||1:53:05|
|3 Mark Sevenhoff (Western Spirit)||1:54:46|
|4 Gary Thacker (Chipotle / Titus)||2:08:33|
|5 Trever Bushnell (Thieles Automotive)||2:14:23|
|Solo Women 40+|
|1 Lisa McBain (Power to Be)||2:51:17|
|2 Sarah Heine (This Kiwi Can't Fly)||3:35:58|
|3 Alice Caroline Voigts (Blonde Bokkie)||3:44:03|
|4 Lori Halwa (Valley Girl)||3:48:21|
|5 Vivian Jablanczy||4:12:11|
|Open Men Team of 2|
|1 Seamus McGrath & Chris Sheppard (Jamis / Santa Cruz)||1:35:14|
|2 Barry Wicks & Kris Sneddon (Kona)||1:36:29|
|3 Chris Eatough & Jeff Schalk (Trek)||1:38:57|
|4 Matt Shriver & Benjamin Sontag (MonaVie Cannondale)||1:40:09|
|5 Brandon Stewart & Max Knox (Team DCM Chrome)||1:41:43|
|Open Women Team of 2|
|1 Katerina Nash & Catharine Pendrel (Luna)||1:50:07|
|2 Alison Sydor & Lea Davison (Rocky Mountain)||1:58:02|
|3 Lisa Ludwig & Dawn Anderson (Oak Bay Bikes)||2:11:11|
|4 Mireille Montminy & France LaCroix (Lambert - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun)||2:35:58|
|5 Deanne Katnick & Nicole Muzechka (Zeechnick)||3:01:27|
|Mixed Team of 2|
|1 Ryan Trebon and Georgia Gould||1:50:46|
|2 Jeff Neilson & Mical Dyck (Terrscape / Trek Toronto)||1:58:47|
|3 Sandra Walter & Steven Devantier (Local Ride / Pedal Mag)||2:02:30|
|4 Sue Butler & Bryan Alders (MonaVie Cannondale)||2:03:07|
|5 Steve Martins & Kate Aardel (Hardcore CC)||2:11:06|
|1 Normon Thibault & Peter Stevenson (Frontrunners-Experience Cycle)||1:57:59|
|2 Geoff Clark & Pat Doyle (Deadgoat Racing)||2:01:21|
|3 Matt Ohran & Tim Butler (Monavie Cannondale / River City Bicycles)||2:11:42|
|4 Ian Parker & Bill Slater (Yukon Fuel)||2:13:47|
|5 Wake Fulp & Reed Melton||2:18:21|
|1 Francois Amyot & Daniel Auclair (Zootallures)||2:13:39|
|2 Jamie Emery & Robin Willard||2:27:18|
|3 Gilles Morneau & Isabelle Cantin (Velomag / Kona / Le Pedalier)||2:35:55|
|4 Tom Ebbern & Gerry McCuaig (Not Dead Yet)||2:40:38|
|5 Stephen Ford & Roger Malinowski (Team BOB Gear)||2:40:52|
|1 Sports Insurance||2:53:13|
|2 Sports Insurance||2:53:15|
|3 Oakville Cyclepath Cutters||2:55:27|
|4 Bicker bros +1||3:40:58|
|5 Tyred and Cranky||3:56:52|
Solo Open Men
Solo Open Women
Solo Women 40+
Solo Men 40+
Team of Two Open Women
Team of Two Open Men
Team of Two Open Mixed
Team of Two Veterans 80+
Team of Two Veterans 100+
Team of Three or More
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