Geoff Kabush and Felix Burke sprinting for the win two days in a row in Cumberland must have looked looked fun, as Payson McElveen and Kerry Werner decided to join in the party.
After two and a quarter hours of racing on the Sunshine Coast, Day 4 of BC Bike Race came down to a four-up dash for the line.
While the men’s race is getting tighter every day, Katernina Nash is slowly extending her lead in the Solo Women’s event. Courtenay McFadden and Jena Greaser remain in touch, but neither has figured out the trick to unseating the reigning Queen of BCBR.
Pro Women – Nash unstoppable
Katerina Nash (Clif Pro Team) has yet to show a weakness in her armour. A short prologue, technical climbing trails in the Cowichan Valley, greasy roots in Cumberland, all no problem. In Powell River, Nash showed she’s equally adept at a pure fitness fest. Day 4 started with a 10km open road grind and, once again, it was the yellow leader’s jersey on the front. Her competitors have been left wondering if there’s any way to beat the dominant racer.
“I’ve been asking myself that question for the past two days,” said Bellingham’s Courtenay McFadden (Team Pivot-Maxxis,), second every day so far. “I’m really hoping for a stage win.”
McFadden was holding Nash to a 2-minute advantage when the Pivot-Maxxis rider caught a root and crashed. Able to make it to the Shimano neutral service station, McFadden kept chasing. Now, though, she had Jena Greaser (Rocky Mountain) just 300 m behind her and on the hunt.
McFadden would hold off the Fernie-based rider to claim another second place, but concedes four more minutes to Nash on the day.
Pro Men – All together now
Geoff Kabush (Yeti-Maxxis) and Felix Burke (Rocky Mountain) may be dueling for the win so far at BC Bike Race 2019, but their competitors aren’t far off. After three days of technical riding, the long, wide open climb starting Day 4 played into the hands of those chasing the leaders.
Payson McElveen (Orange Seal-Trek), Benjamin Sontag (Clif Pro Team) and Canadian cyclocross national champion Michael van den Ham (Garneau-Easton) all have serious chops when it comes to flat out speed. Dropping into the 8 km long flowing Suicide Creek Trail, the group was all together and riding fast. Belgium’s Kristof Schrauwen and Enduro World Series racer McKay Vezina were also along for the ride. Kabush, sitting fifth in the bunch, looked relaxed as the group wait for the first attacks.
It wasn’t until 40 km into the 50 km stage that attacks started to fly. Burke, perhaps looking to add to his razor thin three second lead over Kabush in the overall, pushed the pace. The group responded, and held together to the finish line.
Emerging from the woods together for a water front finish, it was McElveen crossing the line first. The American marathon national champion gets his first BCBR stage win, after a four up sprint in Powell River. Kabush followed just one second behind in second place, followed by Kerry Werner (7Mesh – Kona)
With more riders joining the front group, the pressure was on the races young leader. Burke keeps the race lead, but with no added time over Kabush.
“I’m hoping it doesn’t come down to the last day in Squamish. That would be stressful,” said the Rocky Mountain racer. “My ideal would be a punchy climb followed by a technical descent that I could carry to the finish line.”
Day 5 – Earle’s Cove to Sechelt
The second day on the Sunshine Coast switches things up for BC Bike Race’s weary competitors, but it does not ease up. After a morning ferry shuttle, a massive 60 km point-to-point race awaits. From Earl’s Cove to Sechelt, racers will gain 1,600 m of vertical along the winding, loamy Sunshine Coast singletrack.