Saturday, June 28, 2008

Stage One

Distance: approx 89km
Start Time: 9am
Start Line: Shawnigan Lake School
Aid Station 1 Distance: approx 25km
Aid Station 2 Distance: approx 47km
Finish Line: Town of Lake Cowichan
Base Camp: Cowichan Lake Recreation Centre 309 South Shore Road, Cowichan Lake

Route: Shawnigan Lake - Cowichan Lake District

Assembled in front of Shawnigan Lake School’s Marion Hall, racers will surely be anticipating the days ahead as they gaze through the start line and eagerly await the first starter pistol fire of BCBR 2008.

With the crack of the pistol, racers will have to jockey for position through two loops of narrow road and double track on the school’s 300 acre campus, before heading west through the Field of Dreams and onto some of the campus’ sweet singletrack. This gently climbing trail opens onto a gravel service road. A short steep climb is followed by a singletrack descent. This magical trail winds back and forth through a thick fern forest. You will hear the hoots and hollers of fellow racers as you catch glimpses of them winding through the switchbacks below you.

After a few kilometres on a narrow doubletrack trail and a climb through an old clear cut, you will emerge onto a fantastic rocky lookout with the Koksilah River far below you. From here a maze of singletrack trails meander closer to the river until you are at the Kinsol Trestle and the Trans Canada Trail, one of the Cowichan Valley’s prominent land marks.

A quick shunt down a secondary gravel road takes you into the Burnt Bridge mountain bike area.

Burnt Bridge crosses the Koksilah River, a beautiful meandering stream. You turn left and drop into the green riverside trails of the Burnt Bridge Classic race course, steadily working your way up the Koksilah Valley. Rejoining the logging road, a short climb is rewarded by a blazing rip down a flowing ridgeline of singletrack, once used as part of the Burnt Bridge downhill course. This brings you back to Burnt Bridge itself, and you head left for yet another classic singletrack, the Can-Am trail. The Can-Am takes you east along the banks of the Koksilah.

Shortly after leaving the Can-Am trail, an old logging road takes you up the side of the mountain for the biggest climb of the day. The climb summits near Lois Lake and is followed by a logging road descent into the Deerholme area west of Duncan. You'll join up again with the Trans Canada Trail and have about 20km of flat trail to hammer on your way to the finish line in the beautiful village of Lake Cowichan. At the end of the day reward your feet with a soak in this amazing lake. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

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