Nanaimo’s ferry terminal launched a vessel of a different kind yesterday — the gigantic B.C. Bike Race inflatable arch that towered above the loading docks. Stage 2 began here when almost 400 cyclists walked off the ferry from Horseshoe Bay, hopped on their mountain bikes and powered through the arch to start their 70 kilometre race.
Local mountain bike enthusiasts maintain the extensive trail networks racers travelled between Nanaimo and Parksville — their Day 2 destination.
“This is a dream come true!” shouted one racer as he rolled the length of a sculpted cedar bridge mid-course. The undulating trails were a hit, though they took their toll on racers.
Now two days into the seven-day single-track event, riders were looking weary as they crossed the oceanside finish in Parksville. Race leaders completed in the 3.5-hour range and raved about the hand-built track that made up huge portions of their ride.
The day’s last rider, a solo female, crossed the finish line after almost 8 hours on course — more than double the time of the fastest riders. When Mandy arrived to the applause of race staff the daily awards had already wrapped up. But there was no bigger smile at the finish on Day 2.
“I just learned to mountain bike last year and I made the final cut off by, like, two seconds!” beamed the Vancouver local.
“That was so awesome! What an incredible day!”
Sometimes the biggest reward in a race isn’t found on the podium.
Day 3 picks up in Cumberland for another 60 kilometres of racing.
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