This year’s BC Bike Race had some major battles between racers, and some very tight finishes, but Felix Burke (Rocky Mountain) and Katerina Nash (Clif Bar) remained consistent and won the seventh and final stage in Squamish, along with the overall.
For 2019, BC Bike Race started with a short prologue stage in North Vancouver, about 5km in length to help seed the racers, before ferrying to Vancouver Island for the first stage in Cowichan Valley.
BC Bike Racers camped in Cowichan Valley for the first night before racing in Cowichan the next day, followed by six more stages in Cumberland, Powell River, Earl’s Cove, Sechelt, and Squamish.
Much of the week was wet and rainy, making for challenging conditions on slick rocks and wet roots that sprawled across the legendary trails around BC. Racers and riders slid across the trails and struggled to climb and descend with any sort of traction.
Geoff Kabush (Yeti-Maxxis) and Burke were the fight to watch all week, with Burke edging Kabush by one second here, and one second there. On the third stage in Cumberland, Kabush took his first stage win by one second with Burke on his rear tire at the finish line.
On stage four in Powell River, Payson McElveen (Orange Seal – Trek) nabbed his first win of the week. Kabush, Kerry Warner, and Burke followed McElveen into the line only a second behind on that day.
Kabush and Burke traded wins again, but Kabush couldn’t put any real time on Burke. “I’m trying to find his weaknesses,” said Kabush, “but it doesn’t seem that there are any.” Kabush won BC Bike Race the previous two years.
In the solo women’s field, Katerina Nash was untouchable and won all seven stages. Nash had over a thirty minute lead on second place BCBR finisher Courtney McFadden (Pivot). This is Nash’s fifth time racing BCBR and her fifth time winning the seven day stage race.
McFadden finished BCBR in second, with Jena Greaser, Ada Xinxo, and Charlotte Davies filling the remaining podium steps.
“I’m happy. My bike finished with the same setup that I started the race with. There were a few stages where I wish I had a different front tire but I was too tired to change it,” Nash said. “After coming back to BCBR numerous times I know the stages pretty well and I know the pacing.”
After a rainy week and rough, technical trails, BCBR finished with the sun out on some tacky flow trails in Squamish, letting racers and riders finish with a smile on their face. Riders crossed the finish line at Brennan Park and the BCBR crew handed them a heavy belt buckle, with the BCBR logo on it, and of course a few beer vouchers. The buckle signified finishing seven days of back-to-back riding on challenging BC trails.
Look for a feature and insider perspective on the BC Bike Race from Matt Miller soon.