Back in the early summer of 2007 I had the opportunity to work with a Canadian film crew here in Japan to film a 30 minute TV show for Rideguide TV. The idea was to combine a lot of riding with some sightseeing. The show would feature Andreas Hestler, 5 time Canadian Champion and 2 time Olympian and myself . We had a great time and you can see the end result at www.rideguide.ca episode 138. During filming Andreas kept telling me about a race he is the course director for, a 7 day epic stage race linking up a lot of the now famous single track trails that abound in B.C. I didn`t hesitate when he asked me if I was interested in doing this race and reporting on it here in Japan.
The BC RACE is a 2 man team race so my first task was to find a willing partner. I made a few calls and soon had a few very good prospects, in the end I teamed up with Yoshito Tsuji who is a Japanese transplant living in BC. Yoshi T is an excellent rider/racer. I consider myself very lucky to have had him as my partner as he had ridden many of the trails we rode on over the last 3 days and his local knownledge was very helpful on some of the techical trails we rode.
The race starts in Victoria on Vancouver Island, a beautiful ferry ride and a short drive to the town of Shanigan and we were at race registration. Here we signed the race waivers and recieved a Dekine travel bag in which we were told to place all our belongings for the weeks race. Upon opening the bag we found alsorts of goodies from the races sponsers . We were told to put all our belongings for the race in the bag and every morning after getting geared up we took the bag to a waiting truck and then at the end of the days stage we would pick it up and take it to our tent. After a welcome dinner party we went back to our hotel and prepared ourselves for adventure.
Before I get into the actual racing I feel a bit of my background should be shared with you, I did my first MTB race in 1983 , raced profesionally until 2000. During this time I raced many different races, some good , some bad, I have done some big stage races on the road such as the Tour of Hokkaido here in Japan, the Casper Classic in the US and I even did the Tour of the Rockies Mountain Bike race back in 1986. I tell you this because after all the racing I have done I would never have expected to be saying that a race I did in 2008 was the best race I have ever had the privilage of racing. The organizers have a winning combination with the BC RACE, it is a race for all mountainbikers, pros are saying it is the best test for a true MTB rider. Age group riders love the challenge of riding over the same course as the pros and old washed up racers like myself only dream about being a bit younger and really having a go at this race. Stage One will be posted next week.