McGrath and Sheppard retain narrow lead

Team Jamis/Santa Cruz's Seamus McGrath and Chris Sheppard blasted through the trails of day three of racing at the BC Bike Race in a blistering 2:51:53, with rivals, Team Kona's Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks, literally on their heels at one second later. McGrath and Sheppard retained the coveted leader's jersey for the GC but will have to work hard to keep it, with Team Kona only 1:13 behind in the overall.

Third place in stage three went to Team DCM Chrome 1's Max Knox and Brandon Stewart, who crossed the line ahead of the 2008 race winners Trek's Chris Eatough and Jeff Schalk.

Another category that proved interesting during stage three is the solo men. Colin Kerr (Team Kerr) relinquished the stage win to Tony Hogg (RnR Sport New Zealand). Hogg is racing in a Canmore, Alberta, area 24-hr race at the end of August, and is using the BC Bike Race as a serious training opportunity. Depending on how things shake out in this category over the remaining four days, Hogg might find himself with an overall BC Bike title in hand as he makes his way to Alberta.

Despite the hot action in the men's solo and men's duo categories, there were real changes of note in the remaining categories.

Before the third stage of BC Bike Race was even underway, event organizers were dealt a potentially show-stopping challenge: sabotage. The course had been flagged in advance, and racers were lined up in the start chute ready to ride when the word came in over event radios.

Without hesitation, course director Jeremy Grasby jumped on one of the safety team dirt bikes and blasted onto the course to replace the critical missing flags while riders fidgeted on their bikes in the start chute. Sabotage is not uncommon during races like this; community members opposed to using the land for mountain biking make their point by removing flagging, placing obstacles on the trail and more. Beyond being a huge inconvenience for race organizers, such interference can be downright dangerous for riders.

Within eight minutes, flagging was fixed, the start gun fired and racers were off, spinning through the Village of Cumberland streets enroute to the trailhead.

The slight morning delay did not slow down the action on course, a mostly singletrack affair.

Canadian mountain biking phenom Geoff Kabush joined the starting ranks as a guest rider for the past two days of Vancouver Island riding. Kabush is known for tearing up the World Cup circuit, and he's currently tied with legend Ned Overend with four US national cross country series wins and with John Tomac for most cross country series wins ever - 14.

Kabush, who cut his teeth on the local Cumberland area trails, was on a mid-season break from his regular racing schedule when the opportunity to join in the BC Bike Race came along. "It's pretty fun to come back and just do a fun ride with a bunch of the guys I know," said Kabush referencing the day two ride. "They've (local builders) done a lot of work there - it's super fun, flowy, buff. There's also been a ton of development in the trails up's pretty easy to see how I got into mountain biking from growing up here."

Kabush's approach to day three of racing was much different, "Today I decided to ride with the front guys and just kinda stay out of their way. And it was amazing how hard they were battling it out day after day." Kabush was riding with the top men's duo teams, which are caught up in a fierce battle for the leader jersey.

Results and photos coming soon!

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