Neal Kindree entered Saturday's (July 7) final stage of the B.C. Bike Race with a four-minute cushion over two-time defending champ Chris Sheppard and needed nearly all of it to hang on and win the overall men's title.
Kindree suffered a flat tire as the leaders entered the Lost Lake section halfway through Saturday's course, but the Squamish resident charged to the finish, placing third for the stage and finishing the seven-day race just 15 seconds ahead of Sheppard.
“I'm stoked about it,” Kindree said of his overall victory at the Whistler Olympic Plaza finish line. “That's what I said last year that I wanted to do — to come back and win it and I'm glad I did. I would have been choked if I had lost today because of a flat tire.
“If I had have lost it because of that, it would have ruined more than my day. I wouldn't be drinking in celebration; I'd be drinking in sorrow, that's for sure.”
Kindree's cumulative finish time for the week was 16 hours, 15 minutes, 52 seconds as he picked up his first B.C. Bike Race title. Sheppard was the only rider with a real chance of catching Kindree on Saturday, but the 39-year-old said he knew that would be tough even after Kindree flatted.
“My game plan was to hammer Lost Lake as hard as I could,” said Sheppard. “But it would have been a tall order to get almost four minutes (back) in just that end section. It's only 14K, so I knew it would be almost impossible.”
Oregon's Barry Wicks was third overall for the week at 16:34:44.
Sheppard did earn the stage win at 1:11:28, while Cory Wallace was second on Saturday, clocking in at 1:14:52. Kindree's time on the Whistler trails was 1:15:08.
Wendy Simms won the women's solo epic stage in 1:35:27 on Saturday and won the overall title by more than 2 ½ hours over Australia's Melinda Jackson. Whistler's Fanny Paquette was fifth in her hometown stage and placed seventh overall.
Team Jamis, comprised of U.S. riders Thomas Turner and Jason Sager, was the men's epic team of two overall winner at 17:06:54 after claiming the Whistler stage in 1:15:57.
Check out the print edition of The Chief for more coverage from the race.