Racers got a 4:30 am wake-up call on day four of the BC Bike Race. They watched the remnants of a beautiful sunrise over the Georiga Straight while waiting to board the first BC Ferries crossing of the day. After a quick road transport to the next ferry terminal, Saltery Bay, racers headed to the final transfer destination of the day, the Earls Cove ferry terminal, which doubled as the start line.
All eyes were on local men's favorite Kris Sneddon and his partner Barry Wicks, both of Team Kona, as well as the remaining top three teams: Jamis/Santa Cruz, DCM and Trek. Sneddon grew up in the area and helped to build some of the local trails.
For the majority of the stage, Team Kona lead the group through all of the singletrack but always had Seamus McGrath and Chris Sheppard stuck on their rear wheels, even as they ripped through some incredible sections at "mach chicken" speed. In the end, Team Kona took the stage in 3:27:46 and reatined their GC leade, with Team Jamis / Stanta Cruz right behind in 3:28:04.
South Africa's Team DCM, in the process of securing their third place position over Trek, proved strong on the climbs, but weaker technically.
In the last ten minutes of the race Team Kona gapped Team Jamis / Santa Cruz.
"It was mostly just givin'er as fast as we could in the singletrack," said Sneddon by way of explaining his team's stage lead. "There are also a couple of corners where if you don't really know the course, then you are afraid to go too fast around. It's just too scary. We just got a little bit of a gap, and I think they probably hit their brakes a little bit on stuff like that and we slowly spread it out a little bit. But trust me, we were going scary fast. It was sort of a chance we took and it would be pretty easy to go off the bike. We were full out, full throttle and you don't want to be breaking the bike. We don't really want to do it."
Competition in the solo men's category is heating up, too, as current GC leader, Colin Kerr, blasted across the Sechelt finish line in 3:43:13. unknown to Colin, until too late, Ruedi Schnyer snuck up in stealth mode to close the gap and cross the finish line in 3:43:11. Next across was Kevin Calhoun, in 3:49:20, with early stage winner, Tony Hogg, crossing approximately seven minutes later. This will be a close contest throughout the remaining three stages.
Harbour Air, presenting sponsor of BC Bike Race, had to free up one charter floatplane at the last minute to pick up some anxious racers whose shuttle driver missed the ferries prior to the start of stage four.