After three days of near deadlock racing on Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast has finally caused a shakeup in the solo men’s standings.
Payson McElveen started to unsettle the standings on Day 4 in Powell River, stealing a stage win from the dominant duo of Felix Burke and Geoff Kabush. Day 5 saw confusion and sportsmanship lead to a stage win for Kabush, but no change in the overall.
Racing from Sechelt to Langdale Ferry Terminal, the penultimate day of 2019 BC Bike Race finally saw a big change in the race situation.
Felix Burke (Rocky Mountain) who has been clinging to a 3 second leading margin over Geoff Kabush (Yeti-Maxxis) since the 3.5 km prologue on Day 0, finally has some breathing room. It was still a game of three’s, though. Burke put 3 minutes, 33 seconds into Kabush over 50 km of point-to-point racing. It’s not enough to be a safe margin, but Burke leaves the Sunshine Coast with slightly less uncertainty.
Burke may need all the time he can get, however, as the race heads to Kabush’s home trails in Squamish, B.C. for the final day of racing.
Behind Burke and Kabush’s close-fought race was another battle for the final podium position. Kerry Werner (7Mesh-Kona) was doing his best to hold off a hard-charging Payson McElveen (Trek-Orange Seal). A BCBR rookie, McElveen was looking more comfortable every day, and very much on the offensive.
With Burke off the front, the two American’s managed to get in front of Kabush. McElveen had clear trail ahead to try make his move, but couldn’t shake Werner. The American marathon national champion took second on the day, but Werner still holds on to third overall.
In the solo women’s race, Katerina Nash (Clif Pro Team) has been unwavering in her dominance. The Olympian has won every single stage so far, and is well on her way to another BC Bike Race win.
On Day 6, the story was the same at the front. Nash leading Bellingham, Wash.’s Courtenay McFadden (Pivot-Maxxis). McFadden has also been incredibly consistent, finishing second each stage.
Behind them, however, was a new face. Spain’s Ada Xinxo moved up to third place, earning the chance to share the podium with a woman she calls one of her cycling idols. Xinxo’s luck comes at the expense of Jena Greaser, who crashed hard on the final descent.
“I was super rattled after that,” said a bruised and battered Greaser. “It’s a long race and stuff happens.”
One last trip on BC Ferries carried athletes across Howe Sound to Squamish, B.C. There, the riders camped and prepared for the final day of the 2019 BC Bike Race. Day 7 will be no victory lap, however. A 53 km beat of a stage crams in 1,600 vertical metres of climbing. To soften the blow a little, most of that distance will be spent on a must-ride list of Squamish’s best trails. 50 Shades of Grey, Leave of Absence, Half Nelson, Hoods in the Woods and Pseudo Tsuga are all among the best in town. BCBR racers get to do them all in one day.