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BC Bike race adds North Shore to its route

The BC Bike Race announced a new route for 2009. It will kick off with a ride over the Lions Gate Bridge - from downtown Vancouver to the legendary trails of the North Shore. Built in 1938, the landmark Lions Gate Bridge connects the city of Vancouver to the North Shore Mountains and communities and is the gateway to BC's famous singletrack.

"To be the best mountain bike race in the world we must include the North Shore," said Dean Payne, who originally brainstormed the BC Bike Race. Payne had always envisioned a stage on the trails of the North Shore but navigating the hoops and hurdles of big city bylaws without a track record was prohibitive in years one and two. With two successful years done, the North Shore trails will make their race debut.

A few preliminary phone calls to BC Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon and a few more to District of North Vancouver Mayor Richard Walton set the wheels in motion. Mayor Walton, known to some as the "mountain biking Mayor", immediately embraced the concept and shares Payne's overall vision of the future for both the BC Bike Race and Vancouver's North Shore.

The North Shore, considered one of mountain biking's birthplaces, has produced numerous professional riders, cultivated a range of riding styles and developed innovative trail building techniques that are currently in use the world over. The BC Bike Race will showcase some of the classic trails that have been staples since the earliest days of riding "The Shore".

The North Shore joins the BC Bike race venues such as Vancouver Island, Cumberland, the Sunshine Coast, Squamish and Whistler.

Other route changes include a new stage two and a variation on stage three, while the remainder of the race route remains the same. With these modifications, some longer fire road sections will be removed and more singletrack will be added. The changes will simplify logistics for participants.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.