By Harlan Price. Photos: Margus Riga, Dave Silver, Erik Peterson, Todd Weselake.
Tropical hot weather has smothered the racers on the opening day of the 2013 BC Bike Race Presented by Harbour Air, BC Ferries and Shimano. With temperatures pushing 90 degrees and the humidity soaring, race co-founder Dean Payne describes day one of the BCBR as the hottest and most humid on record.
It’s a stark contrast to the 2012 edition of the race that saw the wettest weather in the race’s history, but from the smiles stuck to the racers faces at the finish line, the sunshine and heat seem to be the preferred conditions for riding the technical singletrack the BCBR is famous for.
It was a stage for regional riders Kris Snedden (Kona) and Neil Kindree (Specialized/Corsa Cycles) who took first and second after a day of a three man Kona tag-team worked over Kindree, last year’s winnr. Kona rider Spencer Paxson managed to overcome an early crash to earn a step up onto the third step, but it was Cory Wallace (Kona) who added to the already sweltering heat with an early attack that put Kindree on the defensive.
The Kona team tactics probably shouldn’t have been a surprise to last years champion after he played it safe in 2012 and waited till late in the race week to show his true cards. There will be no rest for the foxy strategist this year.
Day one also proved to be full of early fireworks in the Open Women’s race as last years winner Wendy Simms of Kona had no chance to catch a moment in the shade with Kim Hurst (Mud Cycles) of New Zealand hungry for a chance to unseat the Queen of Lean. Hurst had Simms against the ropes on the initial climbs up to the Forbidden Plateau, but unfortunately a directional misstep put Hurst two minutes back at the finish line.
Last year’s Enduro winner Andreas Hestler (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) suffered a flat on stage one and Kris Snedden managed to take the overall on the day despite losing Stage 1 of the Redbull Enduro to Eric Goss (East Infection 2). Goss might have his eye on the Enduro overall since he seemed to use a proven strategy for domination by relaxing a little in between the enduro stages.
Stay tuned for day two which moves early in the morning to Campbell River for more singletrack with less climbing. The heat is expected to continue to rise and riders will need to stay within their limits to keep themselves flowing through the trails. The adventure has just started and how it plays out won’t really come into focus until midweek when the racers training and stamina starts to shine through. Welcome to the adventure that is the BC Bike Race.