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The Unsung Heroes of the BC Bike Race

July 26th, 2011

A race, in its most basic form, breeds heroes. These heroes usually take the form of the champions, the athletes that rise above to conquer his or her field, besting all contenders.

The demanding format of the BC Bike Race allows for new heroes to emerge. These are the folks that may not be the fastest of the day (heck, some of the heroes end up being some of the slowest riders out there). But these unsung heroes are the ones grinding and toiling out on the course, leaving behind their day jobs and lives back home to focus on one thing and one thing only: getting across that finish line each day of the race.

There are people like Dave, who spent the whole first night in Cumberland overcome with a vicious flu. The night was passed curled up in a dirty bathroom, alternating between bouts of vomiting and fitful sleep. He crawled to the start line in the morning, and fought through the day. The next day his flu subsided and he kept going strong on course.

Speaking of overcoming challenges, there was the couple from Austin that was looking forward to a week of racing without their kids in tow. Their nanny fell through at the last minute, and undeterred they changed their race entry to tag-team, brought their kids, alternated days of racing and had a great BC Bike Race family vacation. Not Disneyland, but the kids didn’t seem to mind.

There were plenty of challenges out on course too. Broken bike frames and snapped components were commonplace. Heroes were all over the course, helping out fellow racers with tools, or mechanical aid. There were mechanical heroes in the pits too, with Obsession Bikes staying up all night fabricating new parts, repairing shattered carbon frames, and rebuilding everything that possibly could fail on a bicycle. Because in a race this demanding, those parts did invariably fail.
The failures were not limited to mechanical items. Human flesh and bone gave way to unrelenting rock and earth. There were race-ending injuries, but there were also those with the “ride it off” mentality, like the guy on the Squamish day who forced his way over the finish line, blood streaming from several gashes to his face, staining his bike frame and number plate a vibrant scarlet. His bike was left with friends as he was escorted to the hospital for immediate care.

It wasn’t all blood and gore out there. The real stories of the race emerged with new friendships, camaraderie forged on the race course and sealed over beers and dinner. The heroes were bred over the course of this unforgettable stage race, crossing that finish line every day and starting fresh every morning, looking forward to the day’s adventures.  These people, and many more like them, wove the yarn that is the amazing story of the BC Bike Race.

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