600 riders from 36 different countries are participating in the 10 anniversary of the event. Dean Stoltz reports.
Even deep in the woods of Cumberland riders from around the world are met with applause and made to feel at home.
Thursday was the first day or stage of seven to come as 600 mountain bike riders make their way to the finish line in Whistler.
“Yeah it’s a trip of a life time and it’s worth it. We’re enjoying it” said Jared Hartman from Ocala, Florida
Hartman made his first trip to BC with friend Mike Simmons, also from Ocala.
“The trails are way different, a little bit steeper than our trails in Florida if you can imagine that” quipped Simmons.
The race is in its 10th year, and is already among the top single track races in the world.
“Well we’ve had like 32 (countries) before but when we exploded to 36 this year we were kind of like, I guess this is kind of popular here, you know this mountain biking thing” said BC Bike Race spokesperson Andreas Hestler.
“I’m from Lucerne in Switzerland and I heard about the BC Bike Race about 6, 7 years ago probably and always wanted to come and sometime last year decided that’s it this year I’m doing it” Xavier Dubler told CHEK News.
The race always begins with a 45km route on the trails around Cumberland, one of the top mountain bike riding destinations on the island.
“This place is a magical little gem. You’ve got the Beaufort range, you’ve got the main street, the vibe of the community, beautiful park here that the community lets us use. I think you know each one of the communities we’re in, it’s about the relationship between the event, the community and I think that is what the participants really experience” said Hestler.
He says about 10% of the riders are serious racers here to win while for the rest of them it’s become a bucket list item they just want to participate in .
“It’s like a New York Marathon. You know there’s the runners in the front and the bucket listers in the middle. Iron Man, it’s a very similar experience for most people” added Hestler.
The second stgte of the BC Bike Race is in Powell River Friday.