Race Report: French Aventurer Tito Tomasi’s Full BC Bike Race 2015
Tito is a 30 year old professional mountain biker. He grew up in Nice where racing enduro taught him how to ride rough and steep terrain. His passion for travelling and art helped him to build his carreer in mountain biking. For the last four years he has been travelling a lot, searching for the best trail in the world. From Hawaii to India, Peru or the Alps, 15 destinations and a unique vision of travelling. Tito loves to meet the local on his trips, looking for information, food and a roof! An incredible adventure where he can touch different cultures and learn a lot, he comes back with paintings and video edit. Tito rides for Mavic, Rocky Mountain bicycles, Urge bike, POSCA, Clif bar. His video series is produced by EpicTV.
BC bike race 2015 is the 9th in a line of historical races in beautiful British Colombia. Going from the Vancouver island to the sunshine coast, riding the historical north shore Vancouver and finishing at legendary Whistler. A huge event, 620 racers from 24 countries, about 1000 people in total moving together along the seven days. 10000 meters of elevation gain for 310 kilometer and the best trail experience.
BCBR Day 1 – Cumberland
Registration day is done. Yesterday was travel day, from Vancouver to Cumberland. We first met in North Vancouver to drop the bag and the bike. After an interesting race briefing, that was also entertaining … We got into the buses to reach the ferry terminal and the boat trip to Vancouver island was beautiful. I stayed on the deck outside enjoying the salty wind and the landscape as we can see Mt Baker over Vancouver city. Beautiful!
When we finally arrived in Cumberland after another bus ride, the camp was already set up. God, tent city is pretty impressive. At this time I could feel the excitement around the area!
Here we are; the race will start soon! We’re in the main street of the far west style town and there’s a crazy atmosphere around the start. I try to get myself in the first wave but the places are hard to get…
The counting down has started and it’s time to go! First a straight line then the uphill, from the back of the wave I try to overtake to get a better place. We climb a dirt road for a while before getting on the single track. That’s why we all traveled here for, the best single track! The atmosphere between riders is pretty relaxed and people are letting others pass them by in the downhill. My Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt is working just perfectly! Even if the sun is killing me and the climbs are solid, I’m having a lot of fun. The trails are fresh cut and made for having fun on a bike. Lot’s of berms, wooden bridges and log riding. Forests are nice and we pass by a few lakes, eventually on open section could let me stare at the ocean. Magic!
Finally I cross the line after about 3 hours and the fun was big. In real numbers it is 48 km and 1164 meters elevation. The riders are stoked, I can see the happy faces behind the cups or cans as every body is re-hydrated after the hot race.
It is time to enjoy a shower, eat, drink and jump in another ferry for the following adventure. We are heading to Powell River on the Sunshine Coast. The camping spot in Powell River is by the beach, a beautiful place, relaxing and perfect for grabbing my water colors and starting the day by day painting project.
BCBR Day 2 – Powell River
Today the body is sore feeling the hard first day of racing in the heat. Everybody is saying that Day2 is the easiest, is it true or is it just some friendly support?
The starting line is right on the beach and the 620 racers are listening to the music, waiting for the start. The leading pack is starting really fast again, and again I’m starting this stage far at the back of wave one. We are quickly getting some altitude and reach a very nice and thick forest. That’s where the trail starts, for 50km it is all about good and flowy trails, the community in Powell River has done a great job in the trails and bridges. I really enjoy my time, cornering and drifting, making the most of the trail, jumping logs and features. Like yesterday the feature trail is the wicked one, the biking community has done a great job.
I can feel strong on the trail but when we hit the gravel road part I get overtaken… But the experience is total awesome and every body’s face shows a constant expression of being absolutely stoked! The support on the course is amazing, people are coming to support us with music, energy bars, food and cheering. As I ride the last downhill I can smell the ocean, and soon cross the line by the beach.
After a quick visit at the Rocky Mountain lounge I jump in the ocean. It is time to relax and draw.
The place is nice and we have plenty of activities to enjoy, like stretching or yoga. After dinner, the day ends with a nice sunset, this night we were lucky to see some seals! This was a beautiful day, tomorrow is full of hope for another nice day on the bike.
BCBR Day three – Earl’s Cove to Sechelt
The organization is solid, they prevent every thing and the work seems to be just nicely done. This morning is pretty special as I am part of the lucky ones who are flying today after breakfast. The rest of the riders are sailing on the ferry along the Fjords.
By taking the very last plane 9 other lucky guys and me are having a demo flight! Our pilot took us over the Fjord, the forest and waterfall before two other floating planes join us. Crazy!
Okay, the fun is over. Today is probably the toughest day of the week. We started in front of the ferry terminal, this time I have a better position in the pack. I can hold on the steep pavement road and get a good position on the trail. We ride the crazy Lommy trail and climb steep open fire road, it’s a hard stage. Unfortunately I got lost while overtaking a group in a downhill, the tough climb to get back on the course took me a lot. After that I tried to get back at my level but it was pretty hard. The trails were different with some rocky and loose parts in the dust. We pass by a few lakes and sometime we can see the ocean, this stage is a 52km traverse, accumulating 1597m of elevation.
We arrive at Sechelt, a peaceful place were I can rest and stretch the muscles after three hard days of race, four to go! I have heard that the best is coming and we have done the hardest.
BCBR Day four – Sechelt to Langdale
The routine is real, I get out my tent around 6 am and walk around as a zombie, waiting for the breakfast room to open. Than I get my clothes and pack my stuff in the big bag. The crew is going to transport it to North Vancouver, so I can find it this afternoon. Today is another traversing day, but it is also Canada day! The atmosphere is awesome, it is going to be another trail party! The profile is different today, we have too long downhill.
When the start is made, I stay up front in the first 40, than my position got better as we ride trail. Some climb on the gravel are hard so I just hold on as hard as I can to not cramp and not be overtaken before heading to the trail. My strategy is working, I finally can keep the guys behind. The last downhill is really long, a mix of natural terrain line and funny pump track alike trail in the woods. I can overtake a few more and cross the line full speed in Langdale. Like every stage it is once the race finished that we realize the quality of the trail and the chance we have to ride it! The staff did a great job to find the best trail around and every body is more stoked by the day.
The mechanics at Rocky Mountain are taking care of my bike, such a unique situation for me compared to when I’m traveling on my own. The rest of the riders can give their bike to a shop, following the whole race, for maintenance. I can be more focused on my recovery and the day by day painting project. In the afternoon we take the ferry to North Vancouver, our new home town for the night in tent city.
BCBR Day five – North Vancouver
Today we ride the North Shore! The place where free-riding is born, but also the proving ground for many brand and canadian athlete. The mountains are full of trail as labyrinth, showing different type of riding and skills.
After a great breakfast with a few hundred people, I am on my bike, trying to warm up. After the starting line we ride some local trail between houses before starting the solid first climb. The downhill is great, with dust and rocks. It’s fast and loose and the climb is pretty punchy. Before the last downhill of the race, the famous Expresso, we face a long climb on a logging road. Hard times before the fun times. The trail is awesome, berms and jumps, the fast lines are not obvious but I make the most of it. This was a 39 kilometer course and 1524 meter elevation gain but rough and technical. The stage has kept its promises, the north shore is a unique place to ride! I feel proud and happy for the ride.
Experiencing the Canadian way of riding is a great experience and as a traveler, I feel like completing something.
In the afternoon we jump in the bus for Squamish, our last home. I take sometime to go to Alica Lake and jump in the fresh water.
BCBR Day six – Squamish
Lets talk about amazing trails, about awesome riding and great bike community. This is the best day of the event! We start on the road as always but we quickly reach the first trail, I have a pretty good position and ride with a Kiwi guy. As we ride the forest I loose him at the downhill riding the infamous Half Nelson; this trail is a giant downhill pump track with big berms and cool jump. The features are crazy and I feel like riding in Disney Land! The other trail are more nature inspired, but with good speed and cool features of wooden bridges, jumps and other. I don’t know how I made that but I rode on my own more than the half of the day. The stage was one of the hardest too, 53km and 1943m of elevation gain. Anyway I cross the line with a giant smile, this is a particularly good time to finish the stage as it was the last long one and the best one. This race is awesome and the atmosphere is great. Every body is stoked about the stage and we share our experience.
Last night in tent city tonight, tomorrow is the last day. We enjoy the great vibe.
BCBR Day 7 – Whistler
Today is a fast and rough stage, with only 21km and 856m elevation gain. We ride around the bike park and the city of Whistler, above Lost Lake with great views and stunning forest. The start is steep, on a dirt road and the pack gets stretched. The guys up front are so quick, I do my best to keep a good position before entering the first trail section and make sure I can ride it fast. It’s a pretty hard pushing so hard…constantly! But it is also the last day, so every body is amped to do well and have nothing to loose.
In the forest, I eventually overtake a few cross country guys before the slab downhill, the view on the lake is beautiful but I don’t get much time to enjoy it today. I am alone for a while, and attack all the time on trail or gravel road. The trails are very diverse and the crowd is here for cheering, especially close to the end. Finally I race to Whistler, seeing the finish line as a personal achievement. I cross the line with my hand in the air and a smile on my face, this is a great moment. Every body is stoked about the race, we share this unique moment and the power of being together as never been so strong. I realize that my first BC bike race is over, that I have to wait one year to do it again!
I have a amount good time to rest and draw in the afternoon, because at night we have a luxurious banquet, with video and photos, with a great time cheering all together! The party goes on and I have a lot of fun.
BCBR Day 8 – Outside Whistler
Yes we did it! Even if we were all tired and sore about the big week of racing, I went to top of the world with some french guys from the race and some local friends. From the altitude, we had a great view. At this time, above the forest, in the alpine, looking at the glacier all around us and the beautiful nature, we realize how lucky we were to ride these stages, to live this experience and how beautiful life is. Mountain biking is not just a sport but it a lot more, a lifestyle, a way of traveling, of meeting people and discovering our nature. What a moment! We share and talk about this great feeling of accomplishment before starting a epic downhill to the lake.
Thanks Canada for this incredible time, thanks to all my racer fellow around me in the adventure, thanks for the support from the community, thanks BC bike race for the great job and thanks so much to all the volunteers who have made it possible!
Vive la Vie!
Words & Photos: Tito Tomasi