There’s more than a few good things to know about BC Bike Race. Although the adventure is already a month past, I’m already considering if I want to do it again in 2019. (Obviously, with some significant improvements!)
So here’s my list of logistical tips and things to pay attention to – both for my future refection and for anyone else that’s interested.
- Tires. I had a Minion HDF in the front and an Ardent in the back. This worked superbly for me. Then again, we didn’t have wet conditions this year.
- I changed out my 32 front ring for a 30. I should have put on a 28. Because of my lack of true race pace, and more focused on survival, I would have loved the smaller ring on days like Earls Cove, Langdale and Squamish.
- A dropper is a must if you want to have fun. Yes, I did meet another fellow San Diegian who was rockin’ a steel hard tail… and although he told me that he was too cheap to buy a new bike – by the end, he promised me that he’d be buying a new bike as soon as he got home. He was hating life.
- Speaking of bikes, bring something that you’re comfortable with and has plenty of suspension. I took my Kona Hei Hei Race Supreme for it’s lightness. It has 100/100 in the front and back. I could have used more, but didn’t necessarily suffer without it.
- Handbars. EJ is a big dude. He rides a big bike. He and a few of the other bigger riders really struggled with some of the narrow bridges as their handle bars were the exact height of the bridge’s railings. Tight squeezes in between trees was an occasional issue too. He road with a Raceface 800mm bars… go smaller if you can.
Eat, eat and eat more. Looking back – there was a day that I had a 7,000 calorie need. I love to eat, but couldn’t keep up with the pace. None the less, eat as much as you can, focus on calorie dense foods.
- On the course, food was plentiful at the aid stations and by the end I automatically gravitated towards my favorites. Handfuls of watermelon, a few chips and Clif blocks for en route. They also had sandwiches, m&m’s, gels, Clif bars, and some other stuff I did’t pay attention to.
- Breakfast and dinner from the meal plan was really good and always hot. If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll have choices – and I noticed that they set aside a section for those with food allergies. As the food was buffet style, we kept waiting for them to ‘recycle’ leftovers. Nope. Everything was fresh, everyday, even the awesome desserts.
- After the race. This is where EJ and I struggled. Often after the race there was food trucks, but the food trucks tended to pack up by the time us slow people crossed the finish line. So we were stuck eating more aid station food. Ugh.
- Ferry crossing provided some good hot food. I think the BCBR crowd overwhelmed the poor ferry food staff at times (imagine 100s of hungry athletes trying to order) – it was nice to have a burger or chicken wings (and fries) when we had the opportunity.
- 90% male. Yup, only about 10% of us ladies participated in the BC Bike Race. And from comments from past participants, the female population was significantly increased. This meant, on the most part, ladies don’t have to queue up like the guys for showers. Bathrooms were never a problem for anyone. The shower attendants did mention that in general the ladies were faster than some of the guys! 🙂
- Speaking of showers – shampoo and body wash was provided, but you still want to show up with your own in case they run out.
- Bring a pair of shower slippers. Enough said.
- Organize your kits before you leave home. I packed up each day’s riding clothes into it’s own ziplock bag. Now although this sounds ridiculous OCD, when you’re tired and have been in and out of your red roller a million times you don’t want to hunt for that pair of socks you know are clean. Everyday I had my kit, socks, bra, etc ready to go. After the race, the clothes would go back in – zip it up and let it ‘cook’ until you get home. Whew! That’s a funky smell!
I’m sure I forgot things… there were so many details that went into this race. It was amazing… and, yes, I’m considering it again.