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By Nat Ross
Pure Singletrack Bliss.
Today’s course was something that Max Plaxton and Andreas Hestler (Rocky Mountain) will remember forever. On top of riding some of the best singletrack that North America has to offer, they won today’s stage in style.
The incredible 65km course was a combination of two local top-notch cross-country courses: The Test of Metal and The Gear Jammer.
After the brief sprinkles of rain this morning, we blasted off the start line with a police escort out of Squamish and immediately hit amazing singletrack. At the front of the single file line was Hestler, setting an intense tempo to start our first climb up towards Dead End Loop. Andreas ended up pulling at the front of the group for at least the first fifteen minutes — that’s about when my teammate Chris Beck and myself started to fall of the race-winning pace.
Hestler and Plaxton rotated pulls and quickly formed the two-man escape, putting all the other teams on the defensive. From that point that on, they kept the hammer down, not looking back until they crossed the line with the stage victory. Team Kona, Flight Centere, Trek, and La Ruta chased from behind fighting for the remaining spots.
Over the course of the day there were numerous great descents and mind-blowing sections of trail. The opportunity to ride Squamish’s world-renowned trails brought loads of shared smiles and shouts of enjoyment. The singletrack we raced today (pretty much the majority of the course) was just plain sick. It’s hard to put into words. Most wouldn’t believe that so many amazing trails exist in one place. Today we encountered all the best ingredients for singletrack bliss. We crossed bridges of all types, rode over logs, through twisty and rooty off-camber sections, crossed streams, railed through built up S-Shaped continuous berms, and crept over rock gardens galore. The course flowed amazing well. Of course we had to climb quite a bit today, but man was it worth it!
It’s no surprise that Max and Andreas won today’s stage. Max is in incredible form at the moment, and stage racing only makes one stronger, faster, and fitter. Max is certainly the next generation of Canadian cycling as he is only 23 years old. Although, his early season World Cup campaign did not go as planned, now his season just started to shape up, as less than a month ago he won the Test of Metal race held on Squamish’s trails by over 5 minutes. For him, it was a great prep race for the upcoming World Championships that were held in Val Di Sole, Italy, as well as a key factor in winning today’s stage with Andreas.
Plaxton is a rising star in mountain biking, and is sure to be making many podium appearances over the course of his career. The competition at Canada’s National Championship cross-country race will be tough. Max will definitely be a marked man as his competitors will be keeping a close eye on him as he enters the race in the best form of his racing career. No one will forget his performance last year when he was only 20 seconds behind Geoff Kabush in Canada’s one-day National Championship.
Congratulations to Andreas and Max as they dominated today’s uber-fun stage. I am excited to get some good sleep tonight as tomorrow’s final stage ends in Whistler. I have raced a lot of the trails in Whistler and am very excited to end this year’s BC Bike Race on such a good note.
Thanks for reading,
Stage 6 Results