They call it a bucket list race, one of the epics, a must do. Whatever you want to say about it, BC Bike race holds a special place in the hearts of us at Team Kona. Since its inception we have embraced the race, essentially making it our own parade of single track excellence.
From the first year they did it, winning the race 28 hours, to the more toned down, single-track focused race it has become, Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks have owned the event. No one can ride those trails faster than Kris. Many have tried, but no one has even come close. Wendy Simms came along not too long after, and her reign of dominance extended many years, finally coming to an end this season, but not without a fight. Spencer was a little later to the party, but drank the kool-aid quickly, and has become part of the tribe of single track shred.
Many words have been written, many photos taken, many superlatives spoken about BCBR. Here we present some snapshots from our athletes, and what the race means and feels like to them. Enjoy.
Kris Sneddon: “I prepared for day one on the North Shore with my friend Dik. He helped us out with pre-riding and accommodation for the first few days of the race. Dik recently lost someone very close to him and I think it helped him deal with the loss by sharing the sadness and inspiration of her life with us. I hope so anyways. I have never had those sad and motivating feelings from a bike race. I ended up winning the first stage, feeling those feelings. It meant a lot to me. Thanks Dik.”
Spencer Paxson: “Stage 5, somewhere between Sechelt and Langdale. Me, Kris, Barry, off
the front together, no one else in sight. We’re going fast, but it’s not too suffery. I can’t remember if we said a word to each other or not, but it’s as if there was a conversation the whole time. There is a
mental and physical exchange you have with your buddies when you’re all really “in it”, where the moment runs like a film strip and you automatically hit record, stitching scene to scene together perfectly. The feeling is intensely personal but also sharable. You know your buddies are “in it”, too, and everything becomes the task at hand, reading the trail and each other’s moves as a singular unit. The bike, the legs, the lungs, Kris telling us to “turn the shocks on boys, almost to the top!”. The ‘days of our lives’ feeling as we crest the final climb together, knowing everyone’s burning hard but loving it. One, two, three, into the woods as my front brake is howling, three friends who just so happen to be really good at this, arcing and drifting between the trees and rocks and roots in unison with singular focus. The feelings perfect along
with the acknowledgement that this is our little piece of what it’s all about. Then we win.”
Barry Wicks: “Kris looks back at me as we enter the trail, gets a little glimmer in his eyes, and cracks the throttle all the way open. In a matter of seconds I am in distress, a few moments later my bike is in distress, tires and suspension and body all “taking the jackhammer” as Kris likes to put it. The other racers quickly disappear behind us. No one would believe you can ride at this pace on the surfaces we encounter. Not many people can. Kris can. He thrives on this stuff. The gnarled, rocks, lumps, holes, soft loam, tight, weird turns, uncomfortable, awkward conditions. You want to search for some flow, take it light, glide over the gnarr, be smooth like water. That is not going to happen. Kris is at the front and has his foot mashed to the fucking floor. It takes every ounce of concentration, effort and emotional strength I have to keep his rear wheel in my periphery, somehow willing myself not to get dropped. The elastic is stretched as tight as humanly possible, but I am hanging on, using every ounce of my being, and then the trail ends and the pounding stops and we pop out onto the fire road for some sweet respite. Kris looks back at me to make sure I am still on his wheel, grinning ear to ear, and stays on the gas, going all out for the next bit of awesome. All I want to do is extract my brain from the top of my spine, shake off the pounding, but there just isn’t any time. There is another trail just ahead, and Kris can’t wait to get on to it. Maybe I’ll get a rest when we cross the finish line. I feel lucky I am not racing against Kris. That would be really hard.”