Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Day Four - will the real ultimate singletrack please stand up?

So far, the BC Bike Race - billed as "The Ultimate Singletrack Experience" - has had little more than 15km of singletrack per day. For the uninitiated, singletrack trails are the narrow, twisty trails that mountain bikers live for. I asked Terry how he'd explain them to someone who'd never ridden, and his is a good description - tough hiking trails.

Some singletrack is smooth, buff and covered in pine needles with banked turns and swooping descents. Other singletrack is rocky, rooty or even elevated on wooden bridges. The appeal is in getting good flow and "cleaning" technical sections without putting a foot down.

There is also such a thing as bad singletrack. Newly created trails aren't bedded in well, which means that as you go over a drop, your front wheel can sink in rather than rolling onwards. That causes endos (descriptive enough term, I think). Day 1 and Day 3 both had new singletrack. Loose, newly cut in, still edged with snagging branches and probably not routed the best possible way.

Day 2 had 2km of singletrack in the total 130km - and that was right at the end when everybody was too blown to enjoy it.

Today, day 4, will need to have some very sweet sections of singletrack in order to up the proportions and allow the race to live up to its label. If it doesn't, there may well be mutiny.

Luckily, we know that days 5, 6, and 7 cover some of the best singletrack in the world. But the question that lots of competitors seem to be asking is why follow the other trails just to keep this as a point-to-point race?

No comments: