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Today’s Basecamp in Crofton had more than a few nervous racers this morning as they prepared for a 47.8 kilometre, 2-mountain day in the Cowichan Valley.

Though less technical than Victoria’s trails, Mount Tzouhalem and Maple Mountain are still challenging in their own right. In particular, Maple Mountain took racers up a long technical climb, and it’s signature trail, Maple Syrup, features a steep downhill chute near the top and plenty of punchy ups in between downhill segments.

Still, racers were prepared for fun and some rolled up to the start line with a little flare, wearing tutus, Hawaiian shirts and fun jerseys.

Stoke was high on the start line this morning.

Racers wait for their wave to be called forward in the start chute. Some racers decided to spice up their riding kit with additional accoutrements.


Today’s course was the longest of the week with two mountains: Tzouhalem and Maple. The aid station in between the 2 segments featured real maple syrup, no doubt to prepare racers for the most challenging trail of the day.

Above: A rider enjoys a spicy section of trail on Maple Mountain.
Below: In addition to an assortment of standard race fuel, volunteers at the aid station handed out doses of maple syrup.

The Fox Timed Downhill on Maple Mountain was the beautiful bermy Phloem.

Victoria’s varied terrain gave racers a lot to smile about, from the uber flowy Torpedo run to the more common janky downhill on Northridge and Sidewinder.

Want the full story on today’s stage and how the pro riders performed?



After all the riding was done, riders had a chance to relax with a beverage from Vancouver Island Brewing, socialize and cool off at the misting station.

Before we wrapped up the day with awards, emcee Brett Tippie kept the show going with games and prizes, followed by a performance from Tzinquaw (pronounced :Sing-Kah) Dancers from the Cowichan Tribes in Duncan. Originating from the historic Tzinquaw Opera that began in the 1940s, this group carries forward a legacy rooted in the rich traditions and legends of the Quw’utsun (Cowichan – pronounced “Kow-ut-san”) people. The original Tzinquaw was a full opera based on a Quw’utsun legend, sung in English and infused with the melodies of ancestral Quw’utsun songs created by Abel Joe.

The Tzinquaw Dancers invited all racers to join them in a friendship dance.

Tomorrow we pack up camp again and travel to Nanaimo for Stage 4 and to Cumberland for our final Basecamp. Thanks for another great year Cowichan! We’ll see you again soon.

Words by Carmel Ecker
Photos by Deniz Merdano, Jens Klett



Sean Fincham pushes hard to distance himself from Andrew L’Esperance, Quinton Disera, and brother Peter Disera. Tyler Clark stays rock-steady as the first half of todays stage unfolds on Mount Tzouhalem, at break neck speed.