Stage 1: Cumberland - 44.8km, 1054m D+
Exactly one week ago, Dave and I were talking during our ride and we thought maybe it could be cool to go out to BC and train there before Nationals. Immediately, I remembered that Troy Wells had told me that Benjamin Sonntag (fellow Clif Bar athlete) was injured and that his BC Bike Race registration might be up for grabs.
So after a couple of calls, thanks to Clif Bar, Ben and BCBR organization’s generosity, I was in for the race! That night, Dave and I modified our Nationals flights, rented an RV, and on Monday, we were in the plane heading for our second BC Bike Race. It was a last call, but I couldn't have been happier to be back at this incredible 7 days stage race event.
The first stage of the race saw us starting in beautiful Cumberland. When I raced in 2014 as a team with Catharine Pendrel, Cumberland had been one of my favorite stages. This year’s course was a bit different, but in my opinion, it was even better than I remembered...or maybe I am just able to enjoy the technical trails better than I was 3 years ago?
On the start line this morning, the atmosphere was electric as all 600+ riders were getting ready and feeling excited to start the stage race. I wasn’t nervous at all, but I was definitely excited and fired up to get things started and to see what the trails would be like!
- Fire road climb for the first 12km. I go in front, Katka follows. "Hmm I'm feeling good!" "But let's not go too hard too early Magh."
- We reach the top. Katka and I have a gap on the third girl.
- Hit the first couple singletrack descents.
- Next 30 min: Can’t stop smiling. “These are some of the coolest trails I’ve ever ridden!”
- People are cheering. It’s awesome.
- Still riding with Katka. Thinking to myself: “This is fun”.
- We hit a section where we are surrounded by tall purple flowers and have gorgeous views of snowy mountain peaks. Katka says: “This place is gorgeous”.
- I secretly want to stop and take a picture of her riding through this magnificent scenery. Instead, I just take it in and keep riding.
- About 10km to go, we hit a flat-ish, super rooty and twisty section… I have a hard time keeping up. "I am being pretty bad at this right now".
- Thinking to myself how I can do this better. “Try to use your body Magh. Look ahead, pump with your arms and legs. Katerina has so much flow, try to imitate her”.
- Can’t figure that section out. Lose sight of Katka. Mess up a few times.
- Finally come out of that section. See her a couple hundred meters ahead on the climb.
- “Try to catch up!” Gap stays the same.
- She beats me by about 2-3 mins.
Finishing second to Katerina is starting to become a familiar thing this season! However, a few months ago, I couldn’t even keep up with her for just a couple minutes on the mountain bike. She is quite a ripper in the trails and obviously, she is super strong, so it’s always a privilege (and pretty fun) when I get to ride/race with her. We had a really great day!
Dave is not racing, so he went on a ride with our friend Mical Dyck and when I got back to the RV, he had prepared a recovery shake and delicious lunch. Yeah, he’s a keeper! I jumped in the shower, headed to the podium and we drove to the ferry where we got to soak our legs in the ocean before departure.
We are now on the ferry to Powell River where another sets of beautiful trails await us tomorrow for stage 2. I can't wait!