Before the third stage of BC Bike Race was even underway today, event organizers were dealt a potentially show-stopping challenge this morning on course: sabotage. The course had been completely flagged for the third day and racers were lined up in the start chute ready to ride when the word came in over event radios.
Without hesitation, course director Jeremy Grasby jumped on one of the safety team dirt bikes and blasted onto the course to replace the critical missing flags while riders fidgeted on their bikes in the start chute. Sabotage is not uncommon during races like this; community members opposed to using the land for mountain biking make their point by removing flagging, placing obstacles on the trail and more. Beyond being a huge inconvenience for race organizers, such interference can be downright dangerous for riders. Incredibly, less than 8 minutes later, the flagging was fixed, the start gun fired and racers were off, spinning through the Village of Cumberland streets enroute to the trailhead.
The slight morning delay did not slow down the action on course. This was another lengthy day of almost all singletrack and riders appeared to really enjoy flowing with the trails, many of which were purpose built by local mountain bike enthusiasts or this segment of the BC Bike Race. Local course designers also conduct trail maintenance and preservation in an attempt to keep the trails active and open for riders. Again it was a battle royal for the top spots on day 3.
A fierce battle, indeed. Today, Team Jamis/Santa Cruz, Seamus McGrath and Chris Sheppard, blasted through the trails in a blistering 2:51:53, with rivals Team Kona, Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks literally on their heels at one second later. McGrath and Sheppard retain the coveted leader’s jersey for the GC but will have to work hard to keep it, with Team Kona only 73 seconds behind overall.