the-wranglerjpg3Ah, Canada Day – the holiday where “you can do anything” for one day. Maybe that’s not the holiday’s real motto, but it is certainly the experience that BC Bike Race organizers would like to create on this day for their participants.

How’s this for the start of the fourth day of epic mountain biking and a celebration of west coast Canada? A 4:30am wake-up call as pre-cursor to watching the remnants of a beautiful sunrise over the Georgia Straight while waiting to board the first BC Ferries crossing of the day. Then chowing on breakfast while admiring the view of the coastal areas off the bow.

A quick road transport to the next ferry terminal, Saltery Bay, leaves racers mingling with other racers as they grow comfortable with the riders in their own “pack” each day. One more scenic sailing down the coastal area ultimately leads to the final transfer destination for the day – Earls Cove ferry terminal – which is a popular and inspirational BC Bike Race start line…

All eyes would be on Open Men local favourite Kris Sneddon and his partner Barry Wicks as well as the remaining top 3 teams, Jamis/Santa Cruz, DCM and Trek. With the history that these teams have built in just 3 days, they are creating a considerable buzz. However, the real focal point of today’s battle is the fact that Sneddon grew up in this area and even helped to build some of the trail network that riders would experience. It was time to find out how much advantage knowing the trails like the back of your hand actually can bring.

For the majority of the race, Team Kona lead the group through all of the singletrack but always had Seamus McGrath and Chris Sheppard stuck on their rear wheels, even as they ripped through some incredible sections at ‘mach chicken.’ In the end, Team Kona would take the stage in 3:27:46 and retain their GC leade, with Team Jamis / Stanta Cruz right behind in 3:28:04.

A propos – homegrown Canadian boy wins stage at home on Canada Day.