Special to The Record
With searing heat and dusty conditions, the 2015 BC Bike Race – “the ultimate singletrack experience – hit the trails Sunday for Day One from Cumberland to Powell River.
Over 600 racers signed up Saturday on Day Zero in North Vancouver then hopped a BC Ferry to Nanaimo, followed by a bus trip to Cumberland for a Saturday night camp-out.
After a hot introduction to their tents Saturday, racers awoke to a relatively cool Sunday morning, but temperatures quickly climbed in unison with riders on their opening miles of the stage. The gravel road leading to the first section of trail provided little respite from the sun and the relief of dipping into the woods this year was tempered by dusty conditions that made following the rider ahead too close less than ideal.
With the usual loam now turned to dust, riders had plenty of traction but were treated to a taste of the organic material their tires were slowly churning to powder. Despite the dust-caked faces and obvious signs of battle with the heat, the riders’ enthusiasm for the course continued as it has throughout the years.
Katerina Nash (Luna) won the stage one women’s solo open while the men’s solo open winner was Spencer Paxson (Kona Bikes).
In an effort to showcase the trails that each community has a special relationship with, this year the BCBR is designating certain trails as “feature trails” to promote awareness of singletrack the community has put their hearts into.
Blue Collar was the feature trail of Cumberland stage. Originally built as an uphill trail is has become a favourite piece of downhill trail for the Cumberland community.
Riding Fools Hostel owner Jeremy Grasby flagged the trail eight to 10 years ago after discovering the zone on a hike. He used to haul his daughter in a trailer up the Trent Main road on adventures and realized the network of trails in existence needed a climbing trail to fill a gap.
Grasby gives credit to the communal nature of building new trail, where an initial walk and flag is only an idea that is best hashed out with friends and other riders. This year Grasby was able to ride Blue Collar with the same daughter he towed up the gravel roads eight years ago.
Five stages of this year’s race will feature a kids race while riders are out on course. Cumberland had over two dozen kids completing one to six laps depending on age. As an annual event, the kids races have become a yearly destination for the families of the communities.
The seven-day BC Bike Race continues through Earls Cove, Sechelt, Langdale, North Vancouver, Squamish and concludes July 4 in Whistler. Follow the event at bcbikerace.com
– BC Bike Race