B.C. Bike Race hits Whistler on Friday 

By Andrew Mitchell

The inaugural B.C. Bike Race got underway in Victoria on Canada Day and will wrap up in Whistler Saturday, July 7 after covering roughly 525 km of road, gravel trails and singletrack on Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and Sea to Sky.

The first stage was roughly 112 km, finishing in the Cowichan Lake District. The Trek Volkswagen Mountain Bike Team, Chris Eatough and Jeff Schalk, posted the fastest time of four hours, 22 minutes and 32 seconds for the stage — just five seconds ahead of Rocky Mountain Bikes’ Andreas Hestler and Kevin Calhoun. In third, with a time of 4:24:46, were Manuel Prado and Jason First, riding for La Ruta de los Conquistadores and Sho-Air. La Ruta is one of the toughest three-day stage races in the world, and is a partner of the B.C. Bike Race.

From Whistler, Team Chromag-Sram — Julian Hine and Kevin Phelps — placed seventh out of 35 teams in the Men’s Open category with a time of 5:06:28.

On the women’s side, Karen Eller and Carolin Rahner of Scott / Trenga took a solid lead with a time of 5:35:30. North Vancouver’s Cynthia Young and Michelle Newton of Shore Girls Don’t Cry, were second in 5:45:45, while the Jenerators, Jennifer Keefer and Jen Sawrenko, were third in 6:12:35.

The Whistler team of Emmat Smith and Sarah O’Bryne were fourth in 6:20:31.

In the Mixed category, Lesley Clements and Matthew Bodkin of Whistler placed second in 5:06:24, just three minutes back of the lead time set by David Harris and Lynda Wallenfels. Third place belonged to Hillary Harrison and Ryan Watts of Pemberton, finishing the first day in 5:20:47.

In the Veterans 80 category (combined age), the team of Rod Dagneau and Whistler’s Mike Charuk was fourth in 5:18:23. Keith McIvor and Kevin Smith were ninth in 5:35:16, Paul Nicholas and Henric Meldgard were 17 th in 6:08:41, and Greg McDougall and Graeme Fitch were 18 th in 6:11:56.

Day two was 115 km, and took riders further north, to Port Alberni.

In Men’s Open, Eatough and Schalk built up their lead to almost six minutes, with a total two-day time of 8:56:38. Hestler and Calhoun remained in second with a time of 9:02:40, while Prado and First held onto third place, but dropped back considerably with a time of 9:42:24.

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