Local cyclist Travis Hauck won big last week at the BC Bike race. Hauck was the second Canadian finisher in the seven day, seven stage cross country marathon mountain bike race. The race began in North Vancouver, moved over to Vancouver Island, across to Powell River, down the Sunshine Coast and over to Squamish before the grand finish in Whistler.
Hauck, 36, finished 11th in the open men’s solo category in spite of picking up a cold on day three. Not bad considering he was competing against professional racers from 26 different countries.
Professional riders included event winner Canadian Khris Sneddon, a 32-year old Kona racer from Sechelt, who also won the race last year. Lea Davison (United States) took the ladies solo lead while Olympian and 2013 world champion Catherine Pendrel won with team luna chix.
Rest is a precious commodity on a seven day race. His cold didn’t effect his performance during the day but it impeded his rest at night. Between the camping, traveling, trying to clean and prepare his bike for the next day of racing there wasn’t a lot of time for sleep. Hauck was up at 5:30 a.m. to eat two hours before the 8 a.m. starts.
It was his first time at the race but he has been racing successfully for years.
The BC Bike Race has been on his to do list for a long time. When a fellow cyclist friend sponsored his $2,500 entry fee, added to the continued support of Oso Negro, NRG and Gerick Cycle and Ski, he jumped at the opportunity.
When asked how long he has been training for the event, he said, “All my life.” He began training specifically for the race in February. By April he was riding four days a week for two hours.
He said the BC Bike Race would be comparable to biking the Nelson routes of Silver King to Mountain Station, down Fat Chance to the rail grade, down Log Jam and the Svoboda trail network, every day for seven days.
The riding was a mixture of rail beds, logging road, single track with 310 km (44 kms/day) and 10, 000 metres elevation climbed over the seven days. Each stage was added for the combined lowest time.
His cross country racing bike has full suspension with four inches of travel that locks out and weighs only 24 pounds thanks to the carbon fibre frame.
What gave Hauck the competitive edge over his international competitors? He said he beat guys because he didn’t go full-on in the technical sections.
“I was smooth and steady and was going hard. There were lots of injuries.”
He explained that a Norwegian rider on a hard-tail kept pace with him until they would hit the root sections.
“He would fall back then. On day six, he crashed and broke his helmet. Luckily he didn’t get too injured but he could not finish the race on day seven.”
The technical riding in Nelson also helped prepare him for the more technical section in Squamish. His total race time was 16 hours and 41 minutes.
In spite of his cold, Hauck said he almost felt rested going into the race. Two years ago he was racing every two weeks. Curiously he said he hasn’t been racing as much since his son was born a year ago so “I almost felt rested for this.”
With a success like this he would like to do the race again. But he does have his sights set on races in other countries like the Trans Andies, Trans Portugal and Cape Epic in South Africa.
And he will likely race Sufferfest in Kaslo and New Denver this September.
The 100 km race also offers a shorter 40 km route. It’s not surprising that Hauck can claim he is the only person to complete the entire 140 kms.
“They started the 100 km route earlier. I just happened to finish it when they began the 40 km leg so I kept going.”
Travis’ second highest placed Canadian finish seems to be inspiring local riders to sign up for the 2015 race which is already 70 per cent full with a 600 racer cap.
For a taste of the race, check out Hauck in the video link. (At the video three minute mark, he arrives at the tent and high fives the support crew before dropping into an enduro decent.) As one of Hauck’s fans said, who says dad’s aren’t fast?