We came for the trails and Squamish did not disappoint. With over 2000 metres of climbing in 50 kms, it also meant plenty of descending. Quite possibly the best descending yet. There was one trail that was just berm, berm, table top, berm, roller, berm, berm. It went on for a good few minutes and it was awesome!
I had a cracker of a day, riding to 6th overall but more importantly I found my flow again. With one day to go in Whistler there is still plenty of racing to be done!
Now BC Bike Race is way more than just a bike race, its like the best school camp ever! Everyone camps onsite, eats in the main hall, travels by bus and ferry together. Even with over 600 racers you tend to find yourself recognizing the same faces and developing that sense of comradery. For the hours that you aren’t racing there is plenty to do with evening yoga sessions run by Lululemon, the Rocky Mountain Beer garden and we often are near water so everyone hits the beach or lake in the afternoon.
We also go on some incredible ferry rides as we cross from the island, there are 3 ferry crossings…or if you are lucky enough on one of the legs you get to go on a float plane or in a water taxi. The scenery is stunning, you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere, just water and mountains all around. Not to mention our camp locations being right on the beach or in the mountains.
The descents, any and all of them. I was feeling the flow today.
I had a small mechanical today, I only lost 30 seconds or so. I got back onto my group so that’s the main thing.
Squamish is a community and a district municipality in the Canadian province of British Columbia, located at the north end of Howe Sound on the Sea to Sky Highway. The town of Squamish had its beginning during the construction of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway in the 1910s. It was the first southern terminus of that railway. The town remains important in the operations of the line and also the port. Forestry has traditionally been the main industry in the area, and the town’s largest employer was the Western Forest Products pulp mill. However, Western Pulp’s Squamish Operation permanently ceased operation on January 26, 2006. Before the pulp mill, the town’s largest employer had been International Forest Products with its sawmill and logging operation, but it closed a few years prior to the pulp mill’s closing. In recent years, Squamish has become popular with Vancouver and Whistler residents’ escaping the increased cost of living in those places, both less than one hour away by highway. Tourism is an increasingly important part of the town’s economy, with an emphasis on outdoor recreation.
Words: Harlan Price
Photos: Margus Riga, Dave Silver, Erik Peterson, Todd Weselake
“Today the trails here are just phenomenal they have technical, rock drops, rock slabs, huge berms that are above my head. Here you’re just rewarded every time you climb.” Vicki Barclay 2nd place today.
Racer’s favorite stage, Squamish delivered an exceptional day of trail riding for the troops and a kids race for the children on the the BC Bike Race wagon. This small outdoor-centric town has routinely been voted the racer’s favorite year in and year out. Despite it’s profile boasting the most climbing of any of the stages riders are routinely rewarded with singletrack that blends the worlds of machine and handbuilt trails into a trying but rewarding journey. Telling your mountain biking friends you are going to ride in Squamish BC is almost equivalent to informing your kids that you’re going to Disney World without them.
Squamish is a playground for riders of all styles and it is more than just a gas stop for people heading to Whistler 45 minutes north. You’ll find shuttle runs, XC trails, enduro ready descents, and a blend of all those flows in an amalgamation that might have you confused about which bike you should have brought. Whatever you bring, be prepared to be challenged while finding that golden glow riders are looking for when they ride.
Squamish has brought some cooler evening temperatures with a prevailing wind but the days are still hot and the dips into the woods are welcomed but dryer than anyone can remember. There is a fire ban in the entire province and ominously the trails of the first three stages have been shut down to backcountry activity due to the drought.
Men’s Solo: Moberg and Uhl find their needs mutually beneficial for a stage win and a solidification of the overall.
Quinn Moberg (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) won his first stage of the BCBR with Tristan Uhl (Competitive Cyclist) on his heals in his hometown after attacking each of the previous five days. It was a deserved victory for the 21 year old who has been brought up in this community and displays a maturity and awareness of strategy and humility many successful racers rarely have.
“I went into the day planning to get gaps on downhills and caught on uphills so I was always the most rested and always at the front. That worked out until Tristan and I got away. I attacked going into The Corners trail. He (Uhl) followed, Spencer wasn’t able to. It was just a beautiful move because Tristan rode hard for the GC and I rode for the stage. We both benefited from our efforts.” Moberg. “Winning is always special, but winning at home in front of personal sponsors, friends and family, with the whole Rocky crew here it was pretty special.”
Dave Heisler of Corsa Cycles and the Day 6 course director, an original sponsor of Moberg, was excited to see his success. We’ve been helping Quinn since he was 9 years old. It’s really exciting to see.”
Uhl and Moberg got away at The Corners and by the time they got to the Bacon Station at the entrance to Hoods in The Woods they had 3:30 on Spencer Paxson (Kona Bikes). “Those guys flat out got me. Things started out well and I was feeling good but I suddenly had lapse of strength starting the climb up to Half Nelson and just lost the depth that I had been feeling all week.” Paxson
Uhl was looking for an opportunity to separate the Kona riders and their team advantage that has benefited them so well over the years. “Quinn jumped on an attack early in the race by Barry Wicks (Kona Bikes) and got a little way up the road. I kept it steady up the first climb and caught and passed Barry before we hit the first singletrack section with Quinn still up the road and away.” Uhl patiently closed the gap to Moberg with Paxson in tow and when he saw the Kona rider struggling he kept the pressure on.
The move put Uhl deeper into the yellow jersey with a seven minute gap on Paxson in the overall. The Kona rider did manage to move up to 2nd place in the general classification. Moberg’s efforts got him the win for the day and moved him into the 4th position going into the final day with a substantial gap separating him from 3rd place.
Women’s Solo: Nash hasn’t finished delivering blows to the competition.
Katerina Nash (Luna Chix) attacked another day of a race she seems built to dominate. Stiff climbs followed by flowy and technical courses you’re unlikely to find anywhere seem to be her forte`. Her 40 minute gap over the nearest competitor turns our attention to the story to the women battling for the last two podium spots.
Vicki Barclay (Stans NoTubes Elite Women) took second for the fourth time this week. Add that to her two third place finishes and you’d think she would be on the second step for the overall. Unfortunately a mistake in stage two caused her to lose enough time to be regulated to third. Rebecca Hodgetts is her nearest competitor and BCBR riding partner they are so closely matched in speed.
“I felt really good today. I feel like each day I get stronger which is a really good thing. It’s really tight racing which is entertaining for all the guys around us. Its so difficult for either of us to lose the other one.” Barclay.
Hodgetts has doggedly refused to let Barclay get away and has proved her own ability to race with strategy and minimize issues that could erase her time advantage.
Andreane Lanthier Nadeau (Rocky Mountain Cycles) couldn’t repeat her feat the day before with a podium spot, possibly to a self-admitted burning of some matches in North Vancouver. She lives in Squamish for part of the year and has found the community welcoming enough that she was excited to race on her adopted home trails.
The gaps between the women are large enough to make it difficult for anyone to trade up positions in the overall, but it’s bike racing and trading down isn’t out of the question.