By Harlan Price. Photos by Margus Riga, Dave Silver, Erik Peterson
Day Four of the BC Bike Race Presented by Ryders Eyewear woke early for breakfast and a transition to the Saltery Bay BC Ferries Terminal where most riders jumped on a ferry to Earl’s Cove. The ferry that runs from Saltery Bay is too small to move the entire race so some riders split off to take water taxis or the seaplane provided by Harbour Air.
The plane takes off and lands on water, which is entertaining in itself without the bonus of the view as the pilot banks across the water through the mountains and the deep fjords that lie between the racers and the southern Sunshine Coast.
Today was a kick in the pants for anyone who thought it was going to be a promenade to the finish line. Rider’s got a bonus 500m of climbing on top of the 1,500m due to a mistake in the final profile ion the Racers Bible. It didn’t seem to dampen peoples’ spirits and as a spontaneous bonus Shimano gave a pair of XT brakes to the last rider if they made it in before 8:30pm. Tracy Kendrick came in at 8:28:27 followed by Brett Tippie, his bullhorn and the sweep motorcycle.
As much as the BC Bike Race likes to promote the ride and not concentrate purely on the racing it’s been hard to ignore the very competitive nature of the event at the front of the pack this year.
Wendy Simms (Kona) might have won the stage today but she had to work hard to shake her New Zealand pursuer Kim Hurst (Mud Cycles). Hurst held tight enough to only be back by 1:25 at the end of the almost four-hour day. Simms still has 12:37 on Hurst going into the last three stages so it’s looking to be a tough challenge ahead if Hurst has any hope of making it happen. Maybe a stage win is in her future.
The trade of blows continued as Kris Sneddon (Kona) returned Neil Kindree’s (Specialized/ Corsa Cyles) right hook from stage three. Sneddon kept the pressure high early to prevent Kindree from attacking at any opportune moment.
It was the day to go it alone as he left his Kona support team behind. At the top of the climb before the first Enduro stage of the day Sneddon led with his jersey open trying to stay cool as he punched it up the steep gravel sections. Unable to really push it after such a hard effort both riders stayed together until the second Enduro another 5 km down the trail. This time Sneddon took advantage of the more technical terrain and not only put a sizable 1:07 gap on Kindree by the line but he took the win for the enduro stage too.
Erik Skovgaard of Denmark and Racing29ers, battled back for a third after a fall into the bushes that resulted in him being a little disoriented and he got back on the bike going the wrong direction for a minute before he realized what he had done. He had to chase hard from the Cabin Fever Trail to the stage two Enduro. Skovgaard proves to be a tough competitor taking the third podium step and at the end of the day he also earned the third spot in the general classification.
Sneddon and Eric Goss are still exchanging Enduro wins, with Goss taking the first of the day while Sneddon used the second to motivate an attack on Kindree. In the Women’s category Wendy Simms and Jaclyn Schapel (LiveGiant Austrailia) exchanged stages too. Jaclyn took the first and Simms was in the front on the second.
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