BC Bike Race Report
Posted at 10:55 PM, July 9, 2008
So Drew and I did this CRAZY 7-day mountain bike race in British Columbia June 28 through July 4, 2008 called BC Bike Race. We are recovering now. It will take a while.
Here are some text messages I sent to Steve H. to put on our Revolution Team website. They pretty much take you through our ups and downs. Steve has a few comments and I wrote a few in later too. I tried to keep it short for y'all.
So much tension and excitement. Quite a chore getting our gear and bikes all situated for the race. Some crazy Germans got into the boarding school where we were staying at 11 pm and proceeded to clomp around until 2 am on the floor above us in the dorm where we slept. Lucy slept right though.
Above: Drew and Lucy at the start.
Day 1 race report:
Day 1 was hot and long. Temps in the 90s. Some singletrack, some doubletrack. 92 km (58 mi.). One wrong turn cost us 15 min. We barely made it into aid station 2 and filled our camelbacks and they ran out of water. About 3000 feet of climbing with some steep hike-a-bike sections in fern forest. Lucy led the way with a fast pace that made Drew work to keep up with her. We finished in 7 hours 10 minutes. We were one of a few teams picked to carry a gps transponder so all can track our progress in real time.
The course was technically pretty easy today. There was a 45 minute hike-a-bike through a feally far-out fern forest. A little bit of nice singletrack and some steep rocky climbs. With the heat, it felt like Utah.
At the finish line, Drew reached out for Lucy's hand and things didn't go so smoothly. Lucy wiped out right on the pavement at the finish line. She is getting good at that! (Recall the hand-off at the timing station at 12-Hours of Endurance a couple of years ago.) Abrasions on the left knee. "It's only a flesh wound."
Day 1 Stats: 7:12, 58 miles, 5823 feet of climbing, 3692 calories (Lucy)
Above: day 1 camp
Day 2, brutal:
Day 2 was hot and longer. 128.6 km (almost 80 mi.) on gravel road with cars. Hills. One nice 5 km single track at the end was hard to enjoy because A) we were TIRED and B) our shocks and tires were aired up so the bikes were v stiff. 6.5 hours felt like 10. So tired! Good food though and no rain so Lucy is a happy camper. Tomorrow the st (singletrack) begins!
day 2 pics - dusty day
day 2 stats: 6:31, 80.4 miles, 3757 feet of climbing, 2685 calories (Lucy)
By Steve: Day 3 for team Married with Bikes started bad. On rollout, Lucy noticed her rear wheel making a strange clunking sound. Only 5km in they realized the tire was going bad, starting to split and bulge. They tried to repair it with duct tape but that only seemed to make it worse. At this point they were the last ones on the course and the sweeper motorcyclist was waiting behind them. He didn't think the tire would last so Lucy was pulled out of the stage and Drew continued on to finish the course for the day. It was a very tough break for the team as they are no longer officially ranked in the standings. But they will continue riding the rest of the stages together and Drew still has the chance to be an official finisher. Ryan from Revolution bike shop (wrenching for Team Cannondale Monavie) helped Lucy (HUGE THANKS TO RYAN!!) get a new tire mounted on her bike back at tte base camp, and with a day off, she is well-rested and ready to kill it tomorrow. For Drew it was another long, hot day. A lot more fire road and when they finally got to the singletrack, much of it was freshly cut and quite difficult to ride. Seven and half hours later he was finally reunited with his sweetie. Tomorrow's course promised to be much shorter and includes a ferry ride and lots of singletrack. Hopefully it will be a much better day for team Married with Bikes.
by Lucy: We decided to ditch the GPS since we had reports that it wasn't working as promised. Also toady I read a local newspaper article about the contest Drew's essay got us into. (The one for $20000 worth of prizes that we lost to the Mexican duo with the poverty story that said they really needed to win the contest to do this race but then showed up with very expensive bikes and gear. Turns out they were actually registered for the race before we were.) Apparently, there were 1900 votes and we lost by less than 200 votes. This made me want to beat them even more. Drew and I thank everyone who voted for us in the contest!!! We almost made it.
day 3 pic above: the bad tire.
day 3 Drew at finish line. Lucy taking the pic. :-(
Day 3 stats: Lucy 0:20, Drew 7:30?, 53.4 miles, 5266 feet of climbing, 400 calories (Lucy)
Day 4: Real Racing on BC singletrack!
Awesome day. After a day of rest, Lucy was ready to hit the trail. She was really strong today and we finished in 5:32 on the 38 mile course. 26 minutes ahead of the Mexicans that won "our" essay contest prize. Half the course was logging road and the other half technical singletrack. Even with the problems of yesterday they are still officially ranked 23rd out of 33 teams. The singletrack is quite challenging, but pretty fun. Trail building up here must be a pain in the ass.
day 4: team at an aid station
day 4: Jube on the trail!!! Fun.
day 4: post race. The work never ends.
Day 4 stats: 5:34, 40.4 miles, 4905 feet of climbing, 2974 calories (Lucy)
Day 5 race report
This sh*#'s insane. Locals say the trail we suffered today has good flow. They don't know flow AT ALL. This trail had clunk. As in clunk Drew's leg on a rock. He is ok. We r TIRED. Our time 6:22. About with our group, but only because we hammer the climbs. MORE technical tomorrow. Zoiks.
above: day 5 camp at Squamish
Day 5 stats: 6:22, 42.2 miles, 5774 feet of climbing, 2974 calories (Lucy)
Day 6 race report
These are not trails. They are torture chambers. Lucy had no legs today, very technical, tons-o-climbing. HARD DAY! Time 6:10. 34 min ahead of the Mexicans! (The Mexicans are Team CJ Bros, the couple who won the big prize package and who we've been trying to beat each day.)
after day 6 (you can't see the blood and dirt very well)
Day 6 stats: 6:10, 41.4 miles, 5495 feet of climbing, 2611 calories (Lucy)
Day 7 FINISHED!
We completed the BC Bike Race with a total time of 44:49:19 hours of racing over the 7 days of stages. We finished 21st out of 32 teams, but if Lucy had not had the mechanical we most likely would have been in 20th place based on the times of those we raced near each day. The final stage had many, many kilometers of technical riding in Whistler. So many bridges to cross I lost count. Maybe 50 for the whole week? Bridges are one thing, but it is the roots and rocks that kill us. So intense! After the race Drew said he felt, "... like a dog sitting in the corner of the room licking its wounds."
The finish was bittersweet for Lucy. Because of day 3's mechanical, she didn't receive the finisher's t-shirt and medal. It is a hideously ugly medal, so that makes it a little better. Still, to train for 7 months so hard and then not officially finish - argh!
Day 7 stats: 5:36, 32.5 miles, 5331 feet of climbing, 2611 calories (Lucy)
Total race stats: 44 hours 49 min (the winning mixed team did it in 29 hours!) 345 miles, 36,400 feet of climbing, >18,000 calories (Lucy)
The final banquet was up at the roundhouse on the mountain - beautiful mountain!!! Good food. Said good bye to some new and old friends. The caliber of people doing these races is top notch.
Lucy caught a bad cold and her chest cavity diaphram muscle was so sore she couldn't take a full breath so she hobbled around and tried to drink beer.
Abv: Lucy at the final banquet up on Whistler mountain.
We stayed in this nice German B&B in Whistler for a couple of nights.
We saw a bear heading into Whistler Village, straight for the restaurants! Poor fuzzy guy. Then we drove down to Seattle via Vancouver and stayed with friend Jerda (Thanks J!) before blasting back to life in SLC.
above: Vancouver skyline
LUCY'S FINAL THOUGHTS
Would I do it again? NO WAY. Am I glad we did it? YES.
Pros: My riding skills improved immensely and I'm in great shape now. It was a well run race. Fun people. Beautiful country. I guess this was one way to get to ride lots of BC singletrack.;-)
It was a real bonding experience with my totally awesome, patient, and studly husband. I don't think I would have been able to compete in this type of race without Drew by my side. Not only is he a great mechanic, he is great emotional and physical support for me. We had lots of happy moments on the trail, and those that were "less happy", were still great. Drew helped me through some low moments and kept me going when my whining almost was too much for me. His nick name is Diesel, and now I know why. He is steady and strong like a diesel engine. He paced us so that we didn't blow up at the end of the day. Drew is my rock, and as a geologist, I really like rocks!
Cons: Hours of torture. So much time spent training for an unofficial finish. My garden at home is pathetic. My butt is calloused. My legs are bruised badly and this abrasion from the stupid crash on day 1 is going to leave a scar.
Drew’s input on riding with Lucy:
What an incredible experience! Riding with Lucy was a dream come true. We rode hard, pushed one another and helped each other when we hit our lows. I am blown away with Lucy’s determination and competitive spirit. Lucy had a fluke technical problem on day three that could not have been foreseen or corrected without neutral support on the race course. The course marshal pulled her off the course which was extremely devastating. Months of training, sacrifice and dedication were obliterated after the inner lining of her rear tire delaminated from the tread and rendered her tire useless.
After this occurred on day three Lucy came back on day 4-7 with so much fervor and determination. Not only did she push herself but she pushed me to my upper limits. She was competitive as we focused on teams ahead of us in the standings and narrowed the time gap. We passed 4 teams in the overall standings between days 4-7. An understatement would be how technical the trails were on the course. Lucy did not hold back as she navigated her way over roots, drop-offs and skinny bridges and ramps. Each day ended with a new set of aches and pains as the terrain in B.C. exacted its toll on us. Every morning we would wake to face new challenges and hardships. Lucy pushed hard every day!
I am in awe of my wife who even though was not able to be an official finisher of the race after day three gave 150% of everything she had. In her shoes I do not know if I could have continued the race with so much dedication and determination. I knew that this race would bring us together on many different levels, but I was not prepared for what I witnessed. Lucy is an incredible woman and I am quite honestly the most fortunate man in the world!
I would never do the BC Bike Race again. The race was a seven day stage race. Each stage had an independent course team leader / designer. Each person designed their daily race course to showcase the most technical aspects of British Columbia singletrack in their community. Some days we even raced on brand new trails with the hope that 400 racers would better establish the new trails. Unfortunately 400 racers competing on 40 to 60 miles of technical trail consisting of drop-offs, log crossing, ramps, bridges, and newly cleared trails was a disaster. Daily injured riders were pulled off the trails and broken bike frames were dragged back in to camp in the evening. Daily course distances from start to finish and between aid stations was often erroneous and aid station cutoff times had to be adjusted due to the high number of teams that would have potentially been disqualified. The race is in its second year and since its inception the field of competitors has doubled. The race organizers focus on the technical aspects of the ride and a few major logistical problems left many of the racers with a bad taste. For the BC Bike Race to succeed in the future there will have to be some major changes in 2009.