Posted by Editoress on 07/1/09
Stage 3: Cumberland (60 km)
Before the third stage of BC Bike Race was even underway today, event organizers were dealt a potentially show-stopping challenge on course: sabotage. The course had been completely flagged for the third day and racers were lined up in the start chute ready to ride when the word came in over event radios.
Without hesitation, course director Jeremy Grasby jumped on one of the safety team dirt bikes and blasted onto the course to replace the critical missing flags while riders fidgeted on their bikes in the start chute. Sabotage is not uncommon during races like this; community members opposed to using the land for mountain biking make their point by removing flagging, placing obstacles on the trail and more. Beyond being a huge inconvenience for race organizers, such interference can be downright dangerous for riders. Incredibly, less than eight minutes later, the flagging was fixed, the start gun fired and racers were off, spinning through the Village of Cumberland streets enroute to the trailhead.
The slight morning delay did not slow down the action on course. This was another lengthy day of almost all singletrack, and riders appeared to really enjoy flowing with the trails, many of which were purpose built by local mountain bike enthusiasts for this segment of the BC Bike Race. Local course designers also practice trail maintenance and preservation in an attempt to keep=2 0the trails active and open for riders.
Canadian mountain biking phenom has Geoff Kabush joined the starting ranks as a guest rider for the past two days of Vancouver Island riding. For those not in the know, Kabush is tearing up the World Cup circuit and was ranked fourth overall in 2008. He's currently tied with legend Ned Overend with four US national XC series wins and with John Tomac for most XC wins ever – 14.
Kabush, who cut his teeth on the local Cumberland area trails, was on a mid-season break in his regular racing schedule when the opportunity to join in the BC Bike Race came along. “It's pretty fun to come back and just do a fun ride with a bunch of the guys I know,” said Kabush referencing the Day Two ride. “They've [local builders] done a lot of work there – it's super fun, flowy, buff. There's also been a ton of development in the trails up higher...it's pretty easy to see how I got into mountain biking from growing up here.”
Kabush's approach to Day Three was much different, “Today I decided to ride with the front guys and just kinda stay out of their way. And it was amazing how hard they were battling it out day after day.” Kabush was riding with the top Open Men teams which are caught up in a fierce battle for the leader jersey.
A fierce battle, indeed. Today, Team Jamis/Santa Cruz - Seamus McGrath and Chris Sheppard - blasted through the trails in a blistering 2:51:53, with=2 0rivals Team Kona, Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks literally on their heels at one second later. McGrath and Sheppard retain the coveted leader's jersey for the GC but will have to work hard to keep it, with Team Kona only 73 seconds behind overall.
Third place today went to Team DCM Chrome 1 - Max Knox and Brandon Stewart - who crossed the line ahead of the BC Bike Race 2008 Champions, Trek/VW's Chris Eatough and Jeff Schalk.
The other category that's getting interesting is the Open Solo Men. Colin Kerr, (Team Kerr) relinquished the stage win to Tony Hogg (Tony Hogg RnR Sport New Zealand). Hogg is racing in a Canmore, Alberta 24hr World Cup race at the end of August, and is using the BC Bike Race as a serious training opportunity. Depending on how things shake out in this category over the remaining four days, Hogg might find himself with an overall BCBR title in hand as he makes his way to Alberta.
Despite the hot action in the Open Mens' Solo and Open Mens' team of two, there were no real changes of note in the remaining categories for today.
For Day 4, racers face an early wake-up call in order to make three scenic ferry rides from Vancouver Island to the Earls Cove ferry terminal, where the familiar Bear-on-Bike starting arch will beckon the start of Day four.
Report courtesy BC Bike Race
The following report was provided by Team Jamis - Seamus McGrath:
Seamus McGrath, still battling the effects of the cold that began at the US Cup in Colorado Springs, took it easy early on but eventually followed attacks by the South African team towards the summit of Cumberland gap. On his Dakar XCR Team, Seamus pushed his skills and equipment to its limit in an effort to increase his advantage on Team Kona, who were racing on their home town trails.
But, all of their hard work soon came to a halt. Seamus was stopped at a fork in the trail without any signage or signs of which direction to take - the course directions had been removed! It was a 50/50 chance and a choice that the guys didn't want to make alone, so they waited for the Kona boys to arrive - at which time both teams decided to take a left - which of course was the wrong way! A few minutes down the wrong trail, things were re-evaluated and the group flipped it and pinned it back towards the right hand turn they'd NOT taken....but at this point Team Jamis and Kona merged into traffic, having given up heaps of time on their competitors.
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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