The first time Powell Jones heard about the BC Bike Race (BCBR), he knew it was something that he had to do.
“For me BCBR represented challenging myself physically and mentally in a sport I absolutely love on some of the the world’s most renowned mountain bike trails,” Jones says.
BC Bike Race, a seven-day mountain bike stage race in British Columbia, Canada, is described as the “ultimate single track experience.” In 2018, it featured 600-plus racers from 40 countries racing over 200 miles with more than 80 percent of the course being single track and 31,000 feet of climbing.
Racers are transported, or ride, between communities on Vancouver Island and the mainland to experience some of the best trails that each community have to offer.
According to Jones, BCBR is located in a mecca for not only riding, but for trails specifically designed for mountain bikers.
“BC trails are a measuring stick for all other trails in the Pacific Northwest. As an aspiring trail builder I had to not only ride BCBR, I had to see and experience the trail building for myself,” he says.
“There are harder mountain bike races, but many of them require an element of self sufficiency that I am not prepared to take on just yet. I just want to go fast and not think about the logistics of getting to the next ride.”
Racers are well taken care of off the bike with locally sourced meals, medical staff, and tents even being erected for racers each night.
Despite participants being so well taken care of off their bikes, BC Bike Race represents some unique challenges. Keeping the body fueled, sleeping well for eight days in a tent and keeping your bike well maintained and running are just a few.
“One of the hardest parts for me was fitting all of my racing gear into the provided duffle bag” Jones jokes.
The staff at BCBR is excellent and do everything they can to keep racers going, he says.
“Mountain Biking is unforgiving to people who overestimate their abilities, push beyond their limits or begin to think about other things while riding,” Jones says.
It’s the required focus of biking that makes it one of Jones’ favorite activities.
“I have a very busy and sometimes cluttered mind, mountain biking lets me release almost all thoughts beyond the present moment,” he says.
Though the mental part of biking is his favorite of the activity, Jones admits that racing for seven days makes it the biggest challenge as well.
“Preparing your mind every day to ride technical trails is difficult, but necessary,” he says. “It is one thing to ride trails fast recreationally but when I race I can’t help but push myself harder which requires mental preparation”
To add even one more challenging dimension to this adventure, Powell decided to compete at BCBR on a single speed bike. “I love single speeding because it reduces both the noise and what I have to think about when riding … it is the simplicity of it all that I love,” he says.
Of the 625-competitor field, just one other rider raced on a single speed.
“I was asked a lot during the race why I made the choice to race on a single speed,” Jones says. “I always told them that it brought in the uncertainty of whether I would be able to finish the race … really it is because shifting is just too much for me to think about while racing.”
About the presenter
Beyond family and his job as the director of the Dungeness River Audubon Center, Powell loves to casually get lost and find himself on familiar or unfamiliar pieces of single track. He has a passion for all things related to two wheels and dirt.
Racing, building trails, advocacy, and even camps for youth, his passion for mountain biking runs deep.
He travels with his bike to find new terrain, epic trails and to challenge his hidden — but extremely competitive — spirit.
About the presentations
Traveler’s Journal is a presentation of the Peninsula Trails Coalition with local adventurers sharing their stories and photos with you. All of the money raised is used to buy project supplies and food for the volunteers working on the Olympic Discovery Trail.
Admission is $5 adults, youths 18 and under free. Shows start at 7 p.m. at the Guy Cole Event Center at Carrie Blake Community Park, 202 N. Blake Ave.
Each year the dream of a continuous trail from Port Townsend to Forks gets a little closer. In 2017, about 200 volunteers put in more than 9,000 hours of labor on the trail.
One selected photo enlargement will be given each week as a door prize.