Yesterday morning, participants in the seven-day B.C. Bike Race awoke to the daily squawking rubber chicken alarm.

The 4:30 a.m. wake-up call came awfully early for racers after three days in the saddle — riding a mountain bike through more than 160 kilometres of twisting, turning, climbing and descending singletrack.

For many of these racers this was their first time in B.C., and for some it was their first time in Canada. It was fitting that on Canada Day they explored coastal B.C. with two scenic ferry crossings — from Comox to Powell River and from Saltery Bay to Earls Cove.

After a quick group photo on the Earls Cove ferry, racers walked off the small vessel, climbed on their bikes and pedalled 1.5 km uphill from the terminal to start their fourth day of racing, and first on the Sunshine Coast.

Singletrack of a different nature was the theme of the day — less rocky but more tight, twisted and peppered with relentless climbing.

Increased sunshine and rising temperatures have also forced riders to learn how to care for their bodies during their long hot days.

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