Of all the events we attend every year, nothing makes us quite as proud as BC Bike Race. A seven-day international stage race, it’s amazing to see so many people from all over the world enjoying our backyard’s choicest trails. It’s a tour of British Columbia’s rugged coast, and some of the world’s most challenging cross country singletrack—all explored while camping between the Pacific Ocean and the coastal mountain ranges.
This year’s 10th annual BC Bike Race was the perfect occasion to give our updated Element platform some real-world marathon XC testing. Bikes and bodies were pushed to the absolute limit over seven days of racing. The weather was wild, the trails were aggressive, and conditions were perfect to put the Element through its paces.
22 year old Quinn Moberg is a young rider from Squamish, BC that’s been with us for several years. It’s been incredible to see him develop into a true force to be reckoned with on the XC circuit, and he had some lofty goals for this year’s BC Bike Race.
Bike Check — Quinn Moberg
“BCBR is probably the roughest cross-country race around. This year’s race was especially cold and wet for all seven days, and I went through the whole race without a mechanical. I think that really says something about the quality of the gear I was running.”
“The new frame was a very big deal for me. I was immediately more confident technically, but also felt more efficiency from the suspension. On this new frame I choose not to run a shock remote, simply because I don’t think it’s necessary. Along with the new bike I was using the new Shimano XT Di2 for the first time. I found the electric shifting to be intuitive and lightning-fast, which was especially helpful when riding unfamiliar trails.” — Quinn Moberg
Frame: Element 999 RSL T.O. (size Large, Quinn is 5’11”)
Setup: Neutral RIDE-9™ position
Shock: Fox Float DPS Factory (100mm, no remote)
Fork: Fox 34 Factory (120mm)
Drivetrain: Shimano XT Di2
Cranks: Shimano XTR
Brakes: Shimano XTR Race
Wheels: Stan’s NoTubes Valor
Tires: Maxxis Ikon 2.2 EXO TR 3C (23 psi front, 24 psi rear)
Bars: Race Face Next 35mm (10mm rise, cut to 740mm)
Stem: Race Face Turbine 35mm (80mm)
Grips: Race Face Half Nelson
Saddle: WTB Silverado Carbon
Seatpost: Race Face Turbine dropper post (100mm)
Pedals: Shimano XTR Race
Stage 6: Squamish, Presented by Shimano
The Squamish stage is always a crowd favourite. From raw, steep, and technical singletrack, to smooth, flowy jump trails, there’s a reason that Squamish is on a lot of riders’ bucket lists. There’s something for everyone on this stage, but after five previous stages it’s got the potential to crush even the strongest riders.
Distance: 53 km / 33 miles
Climbing: 1,944 m / 6378 ft
Average Time: 4 hours 57 minutes
Winning Time: 2 hours 43 minutes
With one stage win under his belt already, Quinn had his eyes firmly on taking top-spot on his home terrain. But, with a strong field in play, and several competitors working together to protect the lead from the young local, a win in Squamish would be no easy task.
“I went into the Squamish stage of the race with a mentality of two steps forward, one step back. I knew that with my confidence on the new bike and my familiarity with the trails I could descend faster than anyone else on course. Just before the the first decent I pushed to get away from the other top guys, I didn’t want anyone around when I was descending because I didn’t want to give away my lines. From there, I was able to conserve my energy on the climbs versus everyone chasing me down, and just put in time to grow the gap.” — Quinn Moberg
Quinn’s racecraft belies his years, and he came into the day committed to the strategy of winning on the descents he was all-too familiar with. He executed his plan by pushing hard to enter the opening section of singletrack three corners ahead of his nearest competitors, and then proceeded to nail all his lines while his opponents’ small mistakes began to stack up a time deficit.
From there, Moberg held onto his lead and put several minutes into the rest of the pack. Arms up across the line, he’d accomplished his goal. These 55 kilometers of racing have been the competitors’ favorite stage over the last few years, and to take the win here was a massive accomplishment.
As BC Bike Race celebrates its ten year anniversary, we’re reflecting on where we have come from. The event, our bikes, and the trails here have all evolved in parallel. The bikes we race today, with advanced suspension platforms, dropper posts, and properly aggressive geometry, are nothing like the past. Neither are the trails that are built by dedicated clubs and meticulous trailbuilders. As for the event, it’s evolved from riding a lot of gravel and piecing together little bits of flow, to riding a ton of handcrafted singletrack masterpieces.
“BC Bike Race is a rough, tough, seven day singletrack adventure. Throughout the week, bikes and bodies take some serious abuse. The best bikes for this event aren’t pure XCO whips or enduro sleds, but something else instead. This year I rode the new Element, and it excelled over multiple days of demanding terrain, and delivered a hell of an experience. I’ve ridden many different bikes over the years, and I can say without hesitation that this is the best bike I’ve ever ridden.” — Andreas Hestler, BC Bike Race
“Racing at home is a bit different than racing anywhere else for me. I feel a strong sense of community here and there are so many people that support me and allow me to do what I do. I put a lot of pressure on myself to win races at home because I treat it as my end of the deal. People in town support me, cheer for me, guide me, and motivate me. This is my way of giving back to all those people.” — Quinn Moberg
Thanks to the whole BCBR crew, the many volunteers, and all the trailbuilders for helping make this event possible! Thanks to Tristan Uhl’s moustache for existing, Tippie for keeping the stoke high at all times, and Andreas Hestler for repping BC on a global stage. Thanks to Manuel Weissenbacher, Andreas Hartmann, Greg Day, Sammi Runnels, Udo Bolts, and all the other racers who came to battle it out. And of course, a huge congrats to Quinn Moberg for taking two stage wins and claiming fourth in the GC!
Video by Mindspark Cinema
Photography by Margus Riga & Norma Ibarra