BC Bike Race Day 6: Squamish


Happy Fourth of July to our neighbors across the border! Stage 6 of the BC Bike Race presented by Shimano in Squamish was a day for fireworks as the trails exploded with riders. It was also Industry Day for friends of the BCBR. 86 riders from the cycling industry and friends of the race from across the province joined in the journey of the 600 racers on the course that is most often voted the riders favorite.



It's a day where the fastest riders love the opportunity to test each other's climbing or descending abilities while the rest of the pack enjoys the reward of dropping into some of the most well maintained and crafted trails in the world. Barry Wicks (Kona) took the opportunity to take a stage win while Lea Davison (Specialized) did the same but snagged the yellow jersey as a bonus.

The Squamish stage is a rider favorite every year with trails that combine some of the main elements that people come to BC in search of. It has technical features, fast chunky trails to test your rebound speed, flow trails for your pressure control, and both flat and berm'd corners to practice pointing your laser beam around. The riding is faster on a wider variety of surfaces than any of the previous stages. It's easier to keep flow and roll with the terrain, but it also means obstacles come up quicker and your braking reaction time is a little slower as the tires start to skid around a bit more. The new rock face roll-in parts of Rupert's were much less difficult than expected but the higher speed sections in Pseudo-Tsuga and Half Nelson became the challenge of the day as riders had to balance their enjoyment of speed with the reality of a fatigued mind and body.

Every year Squamish, the outdoor capital of British Columbia, becomes a hub for the BC Bike Race to facilitate a gathering of the regional cycling industry in a relaxed atmosphere with the people who use their products. With pros such as Seamus McGrath and Ryan Trebon to owners of the big and small cycling companies like Shimano and Endless Biking the day is about sharing a common passion on the trails or in the post-race beer garden. The race connects the regions' riders and the cycling industry through an event whose goal is to introduce people from around the world to some incredible trail riding.

It might seem odd to realize that there are people from North Vancouver, Cumberland, Squamish and many other towns in the province entered into the race. These riders are either motivated by racing or a desire to explore and the fact that locals will do the race is a testament to it's offerings. These residential riders often have such a rich trail network that they may not find it necessary to leave and explore other places. A 40 minute ferry ride becomes a barrier to visiting other regions when your backyard has the variety and volume that border most of these towns.

The Race

As predicted the Squamish course was a shakedown for multiple categories. The penultimate stage is the last chance to have a significant effect on the outcome of the race and the opportunity wasn't lost on the competitors. The attacks came early and from different categories, some motivated out of desperation and some out of hometown pride. The amount of climbing and descending kept everyone pushing their boundaries of comfort and control. It is considered the stage with the most fun to be had whether you are pinning it or gripping it.

Women's Solo

This has been one of the most exciting women's open races the BC Bike Race has ever had. Three different riders have won a stage with everyone having good days and bad. Today Lea Davison (Specialized Bicycles) started by trailing Wendy Simms (Kona) by over five minutes and she needed a serious gap to put on the yellow jersey before Whistler. Sonya Looney (Topeak Ergon) and Kim Hurst (Mud Cycles) had each ebbed and flowed throughout the days but had spent a lot of time on the podiums.

Davison attacked early as she has done every day and got a gap on the rest of the women going up the first climbs.

"About a third of the way in, going up the switchbacks I looked and saw the Luna Chix, Wendy, Kim, and Sonya and realized I didn't have that much of a gap." She needed to punch it and when the Luna Chix, who were on their own mission, caught her she fed off their energy and pace to start putting time into the field. She motored on her own after being dropped by the women's duo team and crossed the line with over nine minutes on Simms for the win and the Leaders Jersey.

"Lea had some serious USA power today on July 4th. I kept them all in site for the first climbing section but didn't have the legs today for the climbs." Simms

Looney bounced back from her lackluster Day Five and crossed the line next only two minutes back. Hurst was another minute back to and scored a third place finish.

Men Solo

Today was Barry Wick's day to take a win after playing the faithful lieutenant to Kona Bicycles teammate Kris Sneddon.

"Rocky guys went pretty early. I attacked going up to Half Nelson and got away from the other group and then I bridged to those guys by the end of Pseudo- Tsuga. I jumped ahead of them going into Hoods and stayed ahead of them pretty much, then we got into Crumpet, and I was kinda waiting to go up the gnarly power lines we used to go up. But we didn't do it. So those guys caught me on the flats coming into the finish." Wicks

Tristan Uhl has been battling against the Kona trio all week and had a podium in sight before hitting the deck hard in the closing kilometers.

"Eventually it was just Spencer, Kris and I and they were drilling it. With 4 or 5 km to go Front wheel must have hit a rock with some dust on top. I got up quickly, but that was all they needed to get away. I battled back and got to about 10s. I really wanted to get on the podium." Uhl

Sneddon and Paxson took second and third behind their teammate to dominate the podium for Kona once again.


It was a historic day for the Duo teams in the open men and women's categories. Greg Day and Quinn Molberg of Rocky Mountain cycles and Catherine Pendrel with her Luna Chix teammate Maghalie Rochette. Both teams won not only their category but each beat the entire field of men and women.

Both teams had a stage overall win on their wish list.

"We certainly didn't hold anything back all week but we did have this stage in the back of our mind." Molberg

"I had to leave it to Meghalie to decide what we had. Two nights ago she said I think we should go for the win tomorrow. We fought very hard and finished pretty close but didn't have enough. Today we were just tearing through the field. It was one of those times when we realized we were off the front and went okay, this is our day and we went for it." Pendrel


The enduro portion of the BC Bike Race got off to a slow start this year after a reduction in the number of stages from 13 in 2013 to 6 for this year's event and a timing chip defect caused unforeseen issues. Still, the enthusiasm for the category shined through the fog as you could tell who showed up to rumble by the bikes they were riding. You had to look for more than one clue if you were trying to determine what kind of rider they were by their bike. Fat tires and dropper seatposts alone or together did not give a clear answer. It's safe to say that those two things are pretty standard for any bike in the BCBR. You had to start looking closer for details at the suspension and drivetrain level. 120mm or more of travel and a clutch style rear derailleur were a good start. Baggies are no longer a guaranteed sign either.


Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee Paul Thomasberg (Shimano Cycling) has managed to lead the Veterans solo and enduro category on his prototype Di2 XTR Shimano shifting while wearing baggies. His bike was a draw for many riders wondering how an electronic shifting system would hold up under the BCBR test. His overall position speaks for his equipment's lack of mechanical issues.