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In its ten year journey, the BC Bike Race has become the model for a new type of stage racing. One where the quality of the trail is more important than long grueling miles and collecting elevation stats on Strava. It has evolved to be a race that prioritizes the experience of the participants who seek the best trails in the world. For seven straight days, the BCBR explores the fabled coastal trails of British Columbia where equipment and skills are tested on terrain that can make you pucker and punch the air with joy a hundred times a day.

Cory Wallace makes his presence known with a convincing Stage 1 win. Photo BCBR ERIK PETERSON
Cory Wallace makes his presence known with a convincing Stage one win. Photo: BCBR/Dave Silver

The BC Bike Race continues to prove to be a legit testing ground for companies like Shimano. Shimano sends engineers from Japan, heads of marketing from all over the world, and a variety of other people within the company to be a part of the event. From the Shimano Mechanical Support at aid stations to actually doing the race Shimano has triangulated our observational positions to allow them to go home with hard data. You might find your local Shimano rep riding along with the President of the company in any given year!

Ryan Sweeney in the Shimano Tech zone getting a rider fixed up so they could finish their day. Photo BCBR Dave Silver
Ryan Sweeney in the Shimano Tech zone getting a rider fixed up so they could finish their day. Photo: BCBR/Dave Silver

This year Joe Lawwill, the North American US Marketing director, decided it would be an excellent idea to put the new XT Di2 through the BCBR washing machine aboard the Kona Adventure team. If the drivetrains survive and possibly podium the race, what better proof would you need of the quality of the equipment?

A few months prior, while attending the launch of the new Deore XT Di2 release at the Sea Otter Classic a simple plan was set in motion. By the time BCBR kicked off there would certainly be some limited pre-production XT Di2 that could outfit the Kona Adventure Team. What seemed like a simple plan suddenly turned into a scramble as three of the four Kona riders became unavailable to attend several weeks prior to BCBR’s start! On top of that, a last-minute realization that the pre-production parts that were being counted on were not going to arrive in time for the start of BCBR. As with most well-laid plans, this one suddenly required traveling down the alphabet to plan B, C, and D.

The men in blue were on hand as always to serve and protect. Photo Dave Silver
The men in blue were on hand as always to serve and protect.

With about four weeks to go, there was only one rider committed to run the new XT Di2. Luckily Joe thrives under pressure and set into motion a plan that involved getting the 'pre' pre-production parts that Jill Kintner, Andrew Shandro, and Matt Hunter happened to be using for Shimano's specific Deore XT Di2 brand videos. To make things more complicated these videos were being filmed literally scattered around the globe. Aside from jumping through hoops to quickly retrieve the parts, the stakes just got higher as these are only show sample parts intended to show at Sea Otter and not be raced, especially not raced at an event like BCBR! So, with three used groups and a couple clean show groups, it would be potentially possible to get four riders in the BCBR on XT Di2 and one spare group in case something went wrong. The next problem was to sort out athletes to putting their trust into pre-production parts and race a truly epic seven-day stage race without having much time if any on the parts before the race.

Wha is an eent with out branded merchandise. Pearl iZumi had the honor of supplying the official race kits and completely sold out before the end of the event. Photo BCBR Dave Silver
What is an event without branded merchandise. Pearl Izumi had the honor of supplying the official race kits ad completely sold out before the end of the event. Photo: BCBR/Dave Silver

Joe headed to Carson City NV for the Epic Rides Endurance race to try and sort out a potential rider or two to run the new Di2 at BCBR. It was Kona rider Cory Wallace’s teammate, Spencer Paxson who showed the most interest but he was on the shortlist for a spot in the Olympics and wouldn’t know until the next World Cup a week before BCBR if he would be able to attend the race. So with Cory confirmed and Spencer as a strong potential, Joe left them two groups to get on a bike and test. With the upcoming world champs XC race it was really unrealistic Spencer would get any time on the parts but at least Cory could get about a week in on the parts.

Spencer Paxson - All smiles day 1 through Day 7 - Photo Margus Riga
Spencer Paxson - All smiles day one through day seven! - Photo Margus Riga

With less than two weeks before day '0' of BCBR a hail mary request was sent to the Rocky Mtn team who is a strong supporter of the BCBR. To Joe's surprise, Rocky's resident Squamish shredder and previous BCBR stage winner, Quinn Moberg jumped at the opportunity. Quinn was the only rider on the shortlist who has any experience on Di2. Both Cory and Spencer would be riding and trusting equipment they had never used. This is not how professional riders normally operate. Although Joe was confident in the parts, it’s their willingness to trust Shimano that really stands out.

Quinn Moberg in his element. Photo Dave Silver
Quinn Moberg in his element. Photo: Dave Silver

A few days after talking to Quinn, an email arrived from US rider Stephen Ettinger who happened to be traveling with Spencer Paxson at the World Championships in the Czech Republic. Stephen was just learning that he along with Spencer weren’t going to the Olympics and was wondering if Joe were still looking for another Di2 rider. This was the week before the race and if you know anything about the BC Bike Race it’s that it sold out months earlier. Fortunately, Shimano had a secure spot as a major sponsor of the race so the idea of using the 4th group for Stephen was a possibility! Especially a rider with his talents and who was a pretty disappointed to not be on the Olympic team meant there would likely be some fire under the hood!

Stephen Ettinger finds himself in the jungle of British Columbia. Photo Margus Riga
Stephen Ettinger finds himself in the jungle of British Columbia. Photo: Margus Riga

Coincidentally right after Stephen's email came in the guys at Anthill Films who were producing the XT Di2 videos called and said they needed a group sent back to reshoot a piece for the brand video which had a strict deadline. Due to the limited availability, the only option was to ship the parts that were now planned for Stephen to Anthill in hopes that they could get what they needed in time and get the parts sent back. Luckily it turned out Anthill was filming in the North Vancouver area so a simple handoff would be all that was needed to get the parts to the BCBR...no problem right!. There was one backup group that was planned for display which could pull together if needed so there was a contingency plan but the goal was to keep one brand new group for the display bike.

Your neighbors are little close but hey they are fellow mountainbikers so how bad could it be Photo BCBR Dave Silver
Your neighbors are little close, but hey they are fellow mountain bikers so how bad could it be? Photo: BCBR/Dave Silver

The plan from April had almost totally fallen apart but was alive again! It might not have all the original players involved but it was a dream team of riders with three previous stage winners and two Olympic shortlist riders. In the last two days before go time Shimano Mechanical Support, Ben Pye, and Ryan Sweeney made magic happen and managed to collect all missing parts and get Quinn, Stephen, and Spencer’s bikes together as well as making sure Cory’s bike was dialed in and ready for the next seven days.

The rest of the week went as perfectly as was hoped. Cory, Spencer, Stephen, and Quinn went on to each win at least one stage a piece and they finished the race in that order overall. There were no issues with the XT Di2 and no one had to charge a battery once.

Stephen Ettinger rolling through just one of the many spectacular trails during the BC Bike Race. Photo BCBR Dave Silver
Stephen Ettinger rolling through just one of the many spectacular trails during the BC Bike Race. Photo: BCBR/Dave Silver

The race itself was exciting to the end with Cory barely winning the overall on his birthday by beating his teammate Spencer on the last day. Besides being one of the wettest years on record for the BC Bike Race, Cory also had the roughest week with a couple flat tires and several crashes that caused him to continually chase the other riders and erase time deficits. Cory definitely put his Di2 through the most stress with his crashes, but his impression was that the precision and ease of use helped make the difference.

The harder the event the better for Cory Wallace. This guy is ready for any back woods challenge Photo Margus Riga
The harder the event the better for Cory Wallace. Photo: Margus Riga

bigquotesIt was great. Especially in the rainy days. Sometimes the mechanical stuff gets a little tougher to get the precision. It was precise all week long and was one less thing to think about. It saves a little bit of energy and you need that after seven days of racing when it comes down to 40 seconds. It makes you feel like a machine too, right! - Cory

Day 3 s start was a little wet...Photo BCBR Norma Ibarra LaPir0
The start of day three was a little wet...Photo: BCBR/Dave Silver

For the Shimano crew, it was exciting to be a part of this group of men who were battling it out for the top spots. Though he was second again for the fourth year in a row, Spencer did wear the leader’s jersey for several days and we’d like to think the Di2 helped him keep his mind on the race. Spencer who is always trying to find the smallest percentage of improvement gave his approval of the electronic drivetrain.

Late entry 416 Spencer Paxson hammers up one of the many picturesque sections of trail. Photo Dave Silver
Late entry #416 Spencer Paxson hammers up one of the many picturesque sections of trail. Photo: Dave Silver

bigquotesIt was my first experience with any electronic shifting. What I noticed most was the precision through the week. Day in day out, no matter how sloppy it got. I didn't change my chain, I didn't change my battery once. I felt very confident in my equipment which is huge here. I'd run it again for sure. Your brain gets a little foggy and the more of that energy you can put down into the legs, the better. - Paxson

As a company, Shimano got a huge thrill when Quinn Moberg won stage six in front of his hometown crowd in Squamish aboard the Di2. It was the cherry on top of this journey since Squamish is the stage that Shimano has sponsored for years and where product debuts have occurred. Even though Squamish had the trails Quinn knew the most, it may have been the energy saved from the other stages that helped him clinch the day.

Quinn Moberg is a Squamish local and is very fast in these woods. A couple stage wins and a 4th overall. Not bad Photo Margus Riga
Quinn Moberg is a Squamish local and is very fast in these woods. A couple stage wins and a 4th overall. Not bad! Photo: Margus Riga

bigquotesIt worked incredible this week. I think the biggest advantage was riding trails you that don't know with it. You come around the corner and there's a wall and you just press a button and you ride up it. The older stuff you have to fight it a little bit more. It takes one less thing to fight with. You press a button and it works. Come around a corner, get in a gear, and you get on with the job. - Quinn

bigquotesDi2 was perfect. Didn't drop a chain, didn't miss a shift all week. 300km of the toughest singletrack that you can ride anywhere. Through mud, inclement weather, sand, it just kept clicking, no issues at all. - Stephen Ettinger after seven days of racing the BC Bike Race

Stephen Ettinger high posting his way down a nice BC slab. Photo Margus Riga
Stephen Ettinger high posting his way down a nice BC slab. Photo: Margus Riga

As with any idea, it’s only as good as the hard work that is put in to get there. All the athletes who do the BC Bike Race arrive having sacrificed something to get them to the start line. The time and commitment required to do the BC Bike Race is something that Shimano is intimately aware of and respects. We couldn’t be happier to be part of the journey of so many of the athletes at all levels. A huge thank you goes out to the guys at the top who trusted the newest product we have and to all the other riders who use Shimano on their path to the finish line.

Stephen Ettinger in the Leaders jersey leading the fast guys through some stunning single track. Photo Margus Riga
Stephen Ettinger in the Leaders jersey leading the fast guys through some stunning singletrack. Photo: Margus Riga

Quinn contemplates what lies ahead. Photo Margus Riga
Quinn contemplates what lies ahead. Photo: Margus Riga

It takes a boat ride to get to stage 1. lovetheadventure photo BCBR - Dave Silver
It takes a boat ride to get to stage one. #lovetheadventure photo: BCBR - Dave Silver

BC Bike race has numerous patrol guys making sure nobody is left behind. Where do I sign up for this job Photo Margus Riga
BC Bike race has numerous patrol guys making sure nobody is left behind. Where do I sign up for this job??? Photo: Margus Riga

For those not crushed by the previous days ride there was group yoga available. Photo BCBR Norma Ibarra LaPir0
For those not crushed by the previous day, there was group yoga available. Photo: BCBR/Dave Silver

BCBR is not your typical XC race Photo BCBR Dave Silver
  BCBR is not your typical XC race! Photo: BCBR/Dave Silver

Cory Wallace with his eye on the prize and blood on his legs. Photo BCBR Dave Silver
Cory Wallace battles through crashes and flat tires never wavering with the goal of winning BCBR. Photo: BCBR/Dave Silver

Andreas Hestler may have retired from full time XC racing many years ago but he is still a beast out on the trail. Seen here sporting some flashy new shoes.Photo BCBR Dave Silver
Andreas Hestler may have retired from full-time XC racing many years ago, but he is still a beast out on the trail. Seen here sporting some flashy new shoes.Photo: BCBR/Dave Silver

Andreas Hestler of Rocky Mtn Bicycles shows of some fancy new Shimano XC-7 shoes. Photo Margus Riga
Andreas Hestler of Rocky Mtn Bicycles shows off some fancy new Shimano XC-7 shoes. Photo: Margus Riga

How many events can you sign up for and have the chance to ride in a sea plane to your next stage of racing Photo RavenEyePhoto.com
How many events can you sign up for and have the chance to ride in a sea plane to your next stage of racing? Photo: RavenEyePhoto.com

There are miles and miles of this stuff Photo Margus Riga

No caption needed. Photo BCBR - Dave Silver
No caption needed. Photo BCBR - Dave Silver

One of the stages had a timed downhill segment wth a spirited pitch fork carrying mountain man. FYI the winner of the DH stage was Enduro PRO Dylan Wolsky of the Santa Cruz Nomads. Photo BCBR - Dave Silver
One of the stages had a timed downhill segment with a spirited pitch fork carrying mountain man. FYI the winner of the DH stage was Enduro PRO, Dylan Wolsky of the Santa Cruz Nomads. Photo: BCBR - Dave Silver

Team Rocky Mtn Rider Greg Day navigates through some interesting bits of trail. Hats off to the people behind all of these amazing trails. Photo BCBR - Dave Silver
Team Rocky Mtn-Rider, Greg Day navigates through some interesting bits of trail. Hats off to the people behind all these amazing trails. Photo BCBR - Dae Silver

Bucket list check for Shimano s Marketing manager Joe Lawwill as he and BC Bike Race teammate Flyin Brian Lopes take the overall team category win. Photo Margus Riga
Bucket list check for Shimano's Marketing manager Joe Lawwill as he and BC Bike Race teammate, Flyin' Brian Lopes take the overall team category win. Photo: Margus Riga

Old men Joe Lawwill and Brian Lopes still having fun riding bikes. Photo Margus Riga
Old men Joe Lawwill and Brian Lopes still having fun riding bikes. Photo: Margus Riga

The BC Bike Race is a great place to lauch a new product and this year it was the exciting new Shimano XC-7 shoe complete with a rubber Michelin bottom. Legit XC racing shoe with a rubber bottom
The BC Bike Race is a great place to launch a new product and this year it was the exciting new Shimano XC-7 shoe complete with a rubber Michelin bottom. Legit XC racing shoe with a rubber bottom!

Each day is specially sponsored by a different BCBR supporter. Day 6 is well know as Shimano day and on display was the new Deore XT M8050 Di2 groupo
Each day is specially sponsored by a different BCBR supporter. Day six is well known as Shimano day and on display was the new Deore XT M8050 Di2 groupo.

Close up of the new M8050 Di2 RD and the 11-46 cassette
Close up of the new M8050 Di2 RD and the 11-46 cassette.

Day 7 final stage finish line Photo BCBR Dave Silver
Day seven final stage finish line Photo: BCBR/Dave Silver

Tippie amplifying an already happy finisher to 11 Photo Margus Riga
Tippie amplifying an already happy finisher to 11! Photo: Margus Riga

Your overall Pro Mens podium Cory Wallace 1st Spencer Paxson 2nd and Stephen Ettinger 3rd all on pre-production XT Di2 Photo BCBR Margus Riga
Your overall Pro Men's podium; Cory Wallace 1st, Spencer Paxson 2nd, and Stephen Ettinger 3rd - all on pre-production XT Di2! Photo: BCBR/Dave Silver

Cory Wallace shows off the BC Bike Race overall trophy.
Cory Wallace shows off the BC Bike Race overall trophy.

2016 Results.
www.bcbikerace.com


MENTIONS: @shimano / @BCBR




38 Comments

  • + 60
 Longest ad ever
  • + 11
 The 'By Shimano' sentence at the top is very decieving.
  • + 9
 +1. I don't care that the video is sponsored by Shimano, but they don't need to be a di2ck about it.
  • + 1
 This video only changes my perspection about Di2: apparently it's not for people who want good shifting, it's for annoying people with small dicks who need to compensate by talking about how much they spent on their bikes. Jeez...
  • + 3
 In fairness it is probably the first noticeable ad Shimano have put together so they have been long overdue! Usually the stuff just sell itself Wink Smile
  • + 2
 Given that there's only really two main drivechain manufacturers, the chance that one of them gets a podium clean sweep is 1/8. So once every 8 races. Hardly worth writing about?
  • + 12
 I'm having a really hard time getting excited about needing batteries to run my bike when cables work so darn well, are cheap and easy to deal with. I replace my shift cables less than once a season in Coastal BC riding year round.
  • + 14
 Great BCBR photos though!
  • + 6
 Don't have to buy what they're selling homie! Let the roadies chase their wallets around buying speed. Keep mtb gritty!
  • + 2
 Don't the batteries only need to be charged like once every 30 rides? The cable never needs to be replaced unless you smash it on something. And it shifts better.

That seems worth getting a little excited about.
  • + 11
 soo much lycra mixed with soo much gnarr!! it really shows how much skill and fitness these XC boys have, awesome stuff
  • + 3
 Agree. Riding the tech is tough. Riding the tech at race speed, with your heart rate redlined, is a whole other level.
  • + 7
 Seems like such a cool event. I wouldn't be competitive at all but to just ride a multi stage event guiding you over some proper fun trails would be an amazing experience. And then to think that Kris Holm was actually competitive on a unicycle there. The Di2 thing doesn't bother me. Shimano supports the event, Shimano provides us with a pretty article, Shimano is free to express their joy about their new product. I actually do trust it is good. It is just that I trust that if they release an SLX Di2 group next year it would be just fine for me too.
  • + 4
 Isn't the whole point of going to electric shifting, being able to lose the cables and go wireless? I don't see the advantage if you still have to install cables on the bike. Sure, you can say it's a "smoother" shifting experience but is that worth the potential issues of having to deal with a dead battery or other problems on the trail? Mechanical shifters and derailleurs are so easy to fix.

By the way, that's some wonky cable routing for the RD you've got on the Ibis.
  • + 2
 100%

Once Di2 goes wireless I might take a look. Otherwise it's like going to a lap dancing club- very expensive and you still end up jerking off at home on your own.
  • + 1
 I love Shimano and would never chose not to. This "article" made me lose a little love. I wanted to read somethign about the BC bike race. Not read the ice road truckers version of how they got their parts there. I almost expected them to go to commercial break with every near disaster... then I realized. The whole thing is a commercial. I was going to buy this when I go to Japan next month. I am going to save my luggage space for fermented soya beans instead. I will buy it at some point, but this honestly was a waste of my time so you can wait to get my money now.
  • + 1
 I definitely wasn't a sponsored Shimano rider but rode the BCBR 2016 with XTR Di2. With the heavy rain and mud I never had any drivetrain issues. The motor just pushed through the muck. I never once had to recharge the battery, it lasted about 600 miles a charge for me. I thought it was amazing system and the 2x up front with synchro shift was very helpful on the big climbs! If you want a huge range of gears and/or perfect shifting every time get Di2.

All that said Im now running SRAM Eagle on my new bike but its far from an XC bike.
  • + 1
 Also, I used SRAM XX1 Cassette with the Di2 setup. Lighter cassette and more range. Shimano needs to up their game with cassettes.
  • + 1
 If I snag my shifter cable on some twig or root while riding, I can still generally shift, albeit with some inaccuracies possibly. A couple turns on the barrel adjuster and I'm good again.
Now that little wire coming out or the Di2 (I assume that's a wire, say similar to an iPhone charger), might just pull right out of the mech....game over?
  • + 1
 It has to be wireless or it wont be worth it most people are saying it`s flawless and works like magic that`s all well and good when but these guys are getting it fettled every night by the tech heads I`ve always rode Shimano because it`s bomb proof and you can still ride home after you`ve banged it on a few root`s steps and the odd adder that i skinned once when it tried to hitch a ride is the Di2 stuff gonna shift right after that looks good just not bodge able me thinks to you average Joe whose gonna be scratching his head when it all go`es tit`s up???
  • + 4
 Thats pretty impressive for pre-pre-production. Then again, I wouldnt expect anything less from shimano.
  • + 4
 Cory Wallace putting small town Jasper,AB on the map. What a beast!
  • + 2
 In the display bike for XT di2, it's an Ibis HD3. But can anyone tell where they stashed the battery??
  • + 1
 @jaydubmah the battery is in the steer tube using the PRO components stem that does not use a star nut.
  • + 2
 Drinking game; take a shot every time Di2 is being mentioned in this video.
  • + 3
 "triangulated our observational positions"
????????????
  • + 1
 Great story and coverage of an amazing event. ---only tiny critique from me is that there should be BC wine FTWinner in my humble opinion.
  • + 1
 That last pic of Wallace holding his trophy, looks like he's flipping the bird to someone off camera.
  • + 2
 Can almost hear the snoring in that tent-city pic...
  • + 1
 Anyone knows what glasses are those? www.pinkbike.com/photo/14176460
  • + 1
 Smith Pivlock Arena Max
  • + 1
 What is this Newport News 66?
  • + 2
 Such an epic event!
  • + 1
 THAT SHOT AT 4:45 !!!!! Wow !!!!!!
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