Moon dust on the North Shore! Rare conditions for this part of the world, known much better for its misty, mossy woods and glistening roots and rocks. While the inferno-like weather has desiccated the soil, it hasn’t baked away the quality of the riding on the legendary North Shore. Nor has it cooled down the pace at the front of the Open Men’s division at the BC Bike Race, where the Kona Endurance Team continues to hammer it out at the front of the pack.
Stage 5 of 7 careened through the streets of Lynn Valley before heading into the knurled forest trails of Mt. Seymour and Fromme. Today’s stage was neither the longest nor the most vertical, however at 40km and 1500m of climbing posed the most climbing per kilometer, and contained some of the harshest, technical terrain.
Once the race cleared the streets and paths of the neighborhood, Barry proceeded to hammer out a brutal pace up the first big climb up Old Buck. Near the top, Spencer saw an opportunity to snap off the front, but sly Texan Tristan Uhl (Competitive Cyclist) showed that he had some cards to play as well, and came around Barry to match Spencer’s move. They set the tone for the rest of the day as Spencer and Tristan thrashed away off the front, while Barry and Kris took up the chase and distanced themselves from everyone else.
After two hours of dusty, drifty fury, Tristan pipped Spencer on the final chicane circuit into the finish, taking the stage win by about 10 seconds. Kris thundered in for third, with Wicks just behind in fourth. The overall has now shifted, with Tristan in yellow, Spencer in 2nd by 50 seconds, Kris in 3rd about 2.5 minutes back, and Barry in 4th about 3 minutes back.
Friday’s Stage 6 heads to Squamish. The perennial “Queen Stage” of the race, Squamish poses nearly 2,000m of climbing in 52km of burly trail and dirt road. Expect the dirt to be flying through this penultimate stage of the race as Paxson attempts to hammer home his comeback performance and Wicks and Sneddon pull all the stops on their quest for the top spot.