Testament to the reputation of the BC Bike Race is the fact that this year’s contestants included a seven-time grand tour finisher, Chann McRae, and arguably America’s most famous gravity racer, Brian Lopes.
The seven-day cross-country stage race traced a scenic path from Cumberland on Vancouver Island to Whistler, back on the British Columbian mainland. In between was a testing barrage of technical trails that kept even ‘Flyin Brian’ on his toes.
To take on the challenge, Lopes piloted his Ibis Mojo SL-R cross-country bike. Yep, his 140mm-travel SL-R is built up as a full-on cross-country race rig, complete with triple chainset, spare tube and a water bottle cage.
Marzocchi rocco air rear shock with lockout:Jason Sumner
Lopes ran with a spare tube taped to the frame above his Marzocchi Roco Air shock
The large sized frame is fitted with Marzocchi’s Roco Air shock and 44 Micro Ti Air fork, a slick set of carbon ENVE Twenty6 XC tubeless wheels, and a pair of prototype Kenda tires with a little extra grip for the slick roots and rocks so prevalent in BC.
“It’s a stock Kenda [Karma] tread pattern, but it has a stickier compound all the way around,” said Lopes, who’ll turn 40 in September. “They wouldn’t last the average person very long and they’re a tiny bit heavier, but I figured it would help in the slick stuff.”
Lopes has the advantage of procuring custom made tires. these kenda karma’s include sticky compound all around in order to offset the slick conditions in b.c:Jason Sumner
Lopes has the advantage of procuring prototype tires. These Kenda Karmas have a sticky compound in order to offset the slick conditions in BC
Call it a success. Lopes (Oakley-Ibis-Marzocchi-Kenda-ENVE) finished 12th in the men’s open solo category, including a stunning second place stage finish on the final day in Whistler.
“I have a place up here, so I know some of the trails we were racing on,” he explained of a day that saw him beat such cross-country stalwarts as Rocky Mountain’s Chris Sheppard and Kona’s Barry Wicks and Kris Sneddon. “It’s definitely the best cross-country result I’ve ever gotten.”