BC Bike Race Day 4: Sechelt to Langdale
52km / 32 miles
1,508m / 4947ft
1,522m / 4994ft descending
Average Time: 4:56hr
Tides often turn for racers on Day 4 of the BC Bike Race as the arc of days dip to the finish and the trails begin to find a greater downhill trajectory. It’s the tired racers and the gravity motivated ones who begin to find the terrain more rewarding with bigger descents popping up on the daily course profiles. Day 4, Presented by CLIF Bar, ended with a final 7km descent through the legendary trails of the Sunshine Coast that had riders whooping and hollering as gravity pulled them flying through the woods into the Langdale BC Ferries terminal. The weather was the best of the week and fueled high-fives with a bit of extra smack.
Today’s profile tells the tale of a day with multiple long descents which left riders feeling rewarded for any time spent climbing to the top. The distance descended was greater than what was climbed, which is a special trick that can only be achieved by racing point to point. Logistically it makes the movement of the event that much more complicated, but one thing racers always notice is the incredible amount of planning that is involved in making a party on wheels like the BC Bike Race flow smoothly.
The Riders at BC Bike Race
One of the amazing things about the BC Bike Race is the people that attend the race in search of achieving a variety of goals. Some are in search of completing a bucket list item, some come for the challenge of new terrain, and others may be looking for a bonding experience with someone special.
At this year’s race there are honeymooners, groups of friends, siblings, and even a couple teams of parents and their kids. Taking the daily plunge are the teams of Russell and Brady Kappius ( Clif Bar / Kappius Components ) and the mother / daughter team, Diana Dagofer and Joanna Reardon who call themselves Jo Momma.
The Kappius team are steeped in cycling as both have raced for years with Brady currently riding professionally for Clif Bar. They have taken their decades of racing and their professions as engineers to begin designing and producing carbon fiber rims and hubs. They bring them to the BC Bike Race not only for the testing ground, but also as a chance to spend time riding bikes together.
“This is a fully immersed adult summer camp. You disconnect from the outside world and it’s fun. The goal was to come up and have fun and we’re doing that 100%.” ~ Russell
Team Jo Momma
It was an unexpected gift from her employee, Lululemon Athletica, that set the path for Joanna to team up with her mother Diana to form the team Jo Momma and tackle the BC Bike Race about four years earlier than she planned. Mom has been riding for more years than Joanna has been alive, and the daughter has only two years of trail riding in her legs. Surprisingly, it’s the technical trails that the younger one prefers, especially those in Cumberland. Each rider has now traded support roles after two days in a row where each had to help the other work through their own challenges. It was the long singletrack late yesterday for Diana and an early crash today for Joanna that required the support of their familial teammate.
“Yesterday I felt really demoralized and she kept me going on. I love MTBing, I MTB all day long but I don’t really care what time I get in.” ~Diana
Teams of two are a special category for those looking to share a journey with someone else. Choose wisely in your partner because it’s a guarantee that someone is going to have a tough day. There is nothing like being able to bond over your lowest moments; it makes the highs that much more sweeter.
Today’s course, traditionally referred to as ‘Hump Day”, marks the mid-point of the race and the transition to a greater emphasis on downhills and modern trails. Riders will still find big climbs but they will be rewarded with more machine built downhill trails to balance out the long stair-step efforts to the top. Today was highlighted by trails like Rio Grande, Hwy 102, and the Sprockids Bike Park.
Wallace hits back in Open Men
Cory Wallace (Kona Bikes) was on a mission today after yesterday’s flat tire that cost him his leader’s jersey. Wallace could be seen riding off the front from the opening kilometer. He would continue that trend yo-yo’ing his lead about a minute up until the start of the final descent at HWY 102. By the time he reached the bottom 7km later he had put three minutes on the chasers Spencer Paxson (Kona Bikes) and Stephen Ettinger (Rider Bike Alliance / Focus). Wallace now sits less than a minute back overall from his teammate Paxson and Ettinger.
Open Women all for Emmett
Kelli Emmett ( Juliana / SRAM ) ran away with the stage again leaving the other two women on the podium to find their own rhythm. Fortunately the course made it easy to have a good time cruising the descents. Sammi Runnels (Rider Bike Alliance) kept up her steady charge while Kaysee Armstrong (LIV Giant) held her position in third.
Close Battles in Other Categories
Under the radar is the battle for third place in the Masters Men division. Dwayne Kress has only a 1:45min lead on Chris Christie while Morten Solvang is only another 26 seconds back. This will be a hotly contested battle for a podium spot that no local wants to lose.
Ted Russo has a tight grip on first but it is the 2:10min gap between Lorenzo Milesi and Anderson Stromsvaag that will make the last three days less than relaxing for the podium chasers.
Day 5: North Vancouver
The race returns tomorrow to the start of the BC Bike Race tale with a 15km time trial on the trails of Seymour Mountain on the famous North Shore. Riders will leave in 15 second intervals and five at a time from Parkgate Park. The new format is sure to make navigating “The Shore” easier, but it will be mile-for-mile one of the most challenging stretches of trail the racers will tackle all week.
Words: Harlan Price
Photos: Margus Riga, Todd Weselake, Erik Peterson, Dave Silver, Norma Ibarra
Video: Connor Macleod, Max Berkowitz, Media One