The boys headed to the mainland to start stage six. Kerry’s second place was now third place in the overall (he suffered a 45second time penalty for cutting a small section of course on stage 4) but Cory was still holding down 4th place, solidly.
The North Shore holds some historic MTB trails, which were influential in starting a new school movement that was focused on technical, purpose-built, riding. A few of those trails were included in the stage six itinerary. The riders navigated 19km, which pitched straight up then straight down. 19km doesn’t seem like a lot but when you get into the nitty-gritty of the stage the riders were tasked with going aerobic then white knuckled down Dales Trail, an iconic trail that put the north shore on the map for fun, but technical, riding.
Kerry’s plan was to come into the stage firing and try to put a bit of time into his French opponent. He was hoping the last two days took a toll on Francois and he would suffer on the climb to the top. However, Francois showed that he had cut his teeth racing World Cup XC in his earlier years and proved some of that fitness was still there.
Over the top of old Buck, Kerry was just 15 seconds behind but not having ever seen the Pingu or Dales descent before was a major disadvantage. He was lucky enough to follow Squamish local Quinn Moberg down these trails but come the finish line Kerry had lost another two minutes to Francois and set himself up for a big final day in Squamish.
Cory rode solidly and maintained his fourth place in the overall. After his big crash on stage four, Cory was nursing some back issues and it was taking its toll towards the end of a heavy week.
The boys nursed their wounds and recovered at Dik Cox’s house, a North Vancouver resident and in-house sales manager at Kona HQ. They were treated to two nights in a row of BBQ and corn hole, which no doubt aided in the recovery process and keep the spirits high!
A quick commute from the North Shore to Squamish for the final day’s start and the riders kicked off at 9am. The 52km loop was no walk in the park for the final day of this 7-day slugfest. Up 50 shades to Leave of Absence, over to Half Nelson, Pseudo Suga, Powerhouse Plunge, Hoods in the Woods, and finishing on Crumpet (or Crampet) Hill. It hurts just thinking about it.
Kerry was all in for the final day, with a big lead over fourth place he had nothing to lose and stuck it to the rest of the riders early and set a quick pace on 50 Shades where the first selection was likely to happen.
It definitely blew apart there but unfortunately, Francois was in the mix and thus he had to keep chipping away. Unfortunately, that early effort plagued Kerry with some heavy legs when Francois got a gap into Half Nelson, and kept the pressure on for the climb up to Pseudo Suga. Kerry fell out of the front group about halfway through the stage and rode it in from there, trying to do damage control and have fun all the same.
Cory knew, coming into the final stage, that he had fourth place on lockdown, so after the blistering pace was set early he settled in with friend, and top 10 competitor Karl Platt to ride in for sixth place on the stage.
After 7 days, 16(ish) hours of racing, and too many Tim Horton recovery donuts to count, the boys had finished third and fourth in the 12th edition of the BC Bike Race.
Kerry was more than happy with finishing 3rd “Of course I am stoked with 3rd, the podium is an honor in a race like this especially with such a strong field this year. Yes, it is a little bittersweet because I missed out on the second step but it only fuels the fire and hopefully I can make it back next year and climb a step or two.”
All Photos: Margus Riga