Cannondale's OverMountain team of Mark Weir and Jason Moeschler set out to prove to the world that 150mm of all-mountain Jekyll suspension travel can indeed tackle the BC Bike Race, the legendary seven day cross country epic. That's turning out to not be a problem. It was the two days of international travel that tackled them and almost ended the trip before it began on Thursday.
According to Jason, "I was working until 2 am and had to get up at 4am so I turned my phone off. Well, the power went out and my alarm never went off." This meant a rescheduled flight to Friday at 6:15am.
Weir took advantage of the free day and lounged around, played with his son Gus and went on a "really sweet" road ride. It was on this ride that he realized he'd pay dearly for having so much fun.
And he was right. Jason stayed in Novato Thursday night and both got up at 3:30am to catch their new 6:15am Friday flight out of San Fran. Of course, when they got there at 5am and were told their bike bags were too big things again took a sour turn. First, they were sent to oversized luggage and promptly ignored. Left standing Jason, in a moment of clarity, realized they could hit the Premier line, easy as can breezy right? Unfortunately at this point it was too late to catch the flight. Another rebook to a 9:15am through LAX with a tree hour layover would finally get them to Vancouver by 6:30pm Friday instead of the planned 1pm on Thursday. Or 11am Friday as it were.
But the fun never ends. Weir got fully searched thanks to his Shimano Sog knife accidentally left in his carry-on which obviously led to a detection of "explosive material in your bag." Much to Jason's delight Weir got "searched and felt up better than ever before" for 30 minutes in airport security.
"It's my hunting pack so I had all my rounds in there from shooting guns. At first the TSA guy thought it was my EAS nutrition setting it off then I told him I carry firearms in that bag. He was not happy."
Finally, after two days of travel and un-Godly early mornings the boys finally made it to Vancouver but something was missing. Oh, those Jekyll's. They were still MIA.
Luckily, on Saturday the pieces finally fell together. The team registered, the bikes showed up and were quickly built and the trip to Cumberland for the day's first stage on Sunday was completed.
STAGE 1: CUMBERLAND
The 32-mile stage began with a so-called "neutral rollout." Basically it was a half-hour at 22-plus mph behind a lead moto to thin out the 500-strong field before the first singletrack
"We had the sweet line around that gate right into the single track. Up and over the giant dirt mound. I had no idea what was on the other side but Jason was right behind me and we were suddenly in the top 25," beamed Weir.
"We didn't know what was on the other side but we just went for it because we were on bigger bikes, the right tool for that job."
About 45 minutes into the stage the group hit a road section with the second group about 20 seconds up on our Over Mountain boys and the lead bunch about 45 seconds beyond that.
Of the situation Weir said, "We started drilling it to reel them in and we were catching them," beamed Weir. "Turns out they were slowing because they all knew the day's major climb was coming." A near 2,000 footer to be exact.
"It took me the whole climb to recover," he admitted. We got passed by about six or seven guys but as soon as we hit the descent we used our properly equipped Jekylls to their full extent and passed about 10 guys.
When they reached a dusty double track about three quarters in they found themselves working with Team Rocky Mountain. At the following singletrack Weir and Moeschler led again but another brief road section near the final aid station was enough to put Rocky back in front.
Again, into the final singletrack Team Cannondale-WTB took the lead but they were again caught and passed by Rocky on a small climb. Unfortunately this time shortly after, our hero's made a wrong turn "We were chasing hard and we took a wrong turn. Jason tried to ride across the woods back to the trail but fell end over end over a log, I told him he was idiot," explains Weir about his good friend. "We finally got going to chase but never caught them."
Proof that a OverMountain Jekyll is fast and effective enough to do anything you want? The team of Weir and Moeschler ended up 5th overall in Open Men Duo, a class won by the Kona World Cup team of Barry Wicks and Kris Sneddon. What's more, a very small minute and a half separates Cannondale OverMountain from 3rd place.
Stay tuned for more OverMountain action from the BC Bike race.