Photo Credit- Mike Crane
BC Bike Race is now in its twelfth year and Whistler Cooks has been involved for the last 8 years, since 2011. We first catered in Sechelt, then added Squamish and then North Vancouver. Two years ago I became the manager of catering for the entire race, managing the booking of other vendors throughout the race. This year, Whistler Cooks will be active operationally on all 7 legs of the race, in some capacity. The BC Bike Race has grown since Whistler Cooks got involved, we started feeding 500 racers each day and we now feed up to 650 racers and 250 staff daily.
Planning, Planning and Planing
Its not surprising that there's a a ton of planning that goes into a 7 day race, the team works on it all year long! It is a massive task to run a race this way, setting up in a new community every day with full services. The basecamps include a tent village, full meal services, technical support for bikes, showers, medical facilities and wellness support for the weary bikes and bodies. There's over 100 trucks, and a full entourage of vehicles and people that pack
up and re-set basecamp every day, not to mention the four ferry crossings that take place throughout the race.
My Thoughts on the Event
It is definitely one of my most enjoyable events that we work on annually. Whether it's because the event is BC born and managed, or that we get to travel through some of the most beautiful southern coastal and mountain region, or maybe it's just the participants and staff, that are so awesome in theory daily quest and efforts. There's a fantastic culture at the top in their management circle, that transcends the whole crew in such a way, the entire racer field becomes one big team.
Favorite WOW Moment
True friends- Trish and Christy racing and carrying Wayne Katz race plate throughout the 2017 edition. Wayne was supposed to race that year, but ended up having to cancel, due to a battle with cancer that he lost his leg too. The human fortitude element in races like this, touches me deeply.
Holy F**K Moment
No matter the experience or planning you put into an event, there will always be a moment you just didn't see coming. At Sechelt basecamp dinner one year, the racers had a very long day on the bike, and came in hungrier than usual. Chicken was just one item on the menu, but it went fast.....our portioned amount for the evening, gone when we were only 50% through dinner service.....so 3 grocery stops later we had bought every ounce of chicken available in the community, and we made it through...not the smoothest service, but we always make the show go on.
Why is it exciting for you to work the event
Every year since I took the expanded manager role, I try to put my finger on why it's so much a part of me to be with the team. I sometimes think it's because I raced bikes when I was a teenager, and the lifelong connection I've always had to two wheels, other days, I think I am affected by the hundred's of volunteers that plan their entire year around being involved year after year, many of them for ten years and more. The founders Dean and Dre and several of the core managers are all the same age as me too, and there is definitely a good dose of just hanging with a troop of forever young, forty year olds, that simply just want to play forever....