By Harlan Price. Photos by Margus Riga, Todd Weselake, Dave Silver, Erik Peterson
If yesterday was holding court with the Queen Stage, Day Five Presented by Rocky Mountain Bicycles was a chance to dance with the Jester. What better way to lighten the mood than to give riders an 12km descent to the finish at the BC Ferries Terminal in Langdale? This is the gold people come to the BC BIke Race to find.
The Sunshine Coast bid farewell to the racers with one last departing gift in the form of the shortest stage of the week so far and some of the most consistently voted favorite trails of the race.
It was a day for racers and riders to push their limits for fun and overall positions on the general classification. It’s no surprise by now that Wendy Simms (Kona) held onto her stage winning streak. Kim Hurst (Mud Cycles) put in multiple attacks but the singletrack descents were too frequent and Simms trail skills always brought her back in touch.
Canadian Trish Grajczyk (Deadgoat Racing) is still sitting in a relatively comfortable third, but Annke Bergman of the Craft Rocky Mountain Team from Switzerland has to keep her eye on Kari Bratveit (TVK) of Norway who is only 10 minutes behind.
The last two days of the race are heading to the home trails of Neil Kindree (Specialized Corsa) and that’s where last year’s BCBR winner really put his stamp on the race. That fact isn’t lost on race leader Kris Sneddon (Kona) and he took the opportunity to take another 15 seconds out of Kindree within the last two kilometers after being alone together since the halfway point. In a similar fashion to yesterday’s ending Sneddon attacked on a 100 yard section of eroded jeep road with baby head sized rocks obscuring any real line.
Despite the close race between the top two spots the only podium positions actually changing hands are the third through five places. Today Spencer Paxson (Kona) took back a third position he lost yesterday and Erik Skovgaard (Racing29ers) stayed in fourth but is only 2:27 back and has already proven that he can beat Paxson. This will be a battle to watch in the last two days of racing.
Last year’s enduro winner Andreas Hestler (Rocky Mountain BIcycles) finally found his legs today after a week-long stint as racer, media coordinator, and general race cheerleader. He wrestled both enduros to the ground on the Rocky Mountain Instinct that was released the day before the start of the BC Bike race.
On enduro two of the day Sneddon and Eric Goss (East Infection 2) tied for second behind Hestler and now Goss sits third overall behind Sneddon and Kindree in the overall.
In the women’s department Wendy Simms won’t put the top spot back on the rack for someone else to take. Jacalyn Schapel (Liv/Giant Australia) was left with the second spot both times but only six seconds behind in the last enduro of the day. Third place spots were exchanged between Adrienne MIller who took third in the first section while Claire Garcia-Webb (RCBC) grabbed third in the last section.
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