The 2nd annual BC Epic 1000 Grand Depart leaves the town of Merrit at 7am on June 24th 2017 and follows a 1040km route (mostly along the Trans Canada Trail) to Fernie, BC.


Date: June 24, 2017

Time: 7:00 am


Cost: Free

Event Website

Organizer: Chip Andrus


BC 1000 Epic Grand Depart

Merrit, British Columbia Canada

UPDATE (Race Recap): The 2017 grand depart saw close to double the amount of participants, and finishers, than in 2016. Most notable were the first three women to complete the route; Diella Siemens (6 days, 3 hours, 30 min), Corrine Leistikow (6 days, 4 hours, 40 min), and Cheryl Lynch (6 days, 10 hours, 42 min). Dion Clark of Calgary broke the course record on his westbound ITT coming in at 3 days, 15 hours, 33 min, just 8 minutes ahead of Lennard Pretorius (3 days, 15 hours, 41 min) who rode eastbound with the grand depart. Visit the BC Epic 1000 website for up to date standings. 

This is an offroad, unofficial, completely self-supported bikepacking ride/race in the spirit the underground ‘Tour divide’ style and under the same rules. No registration (other than on the website), no support, no insurance, no prizes – it is simply a plotted route with a suggested time for an unofficial group ride. Show up and ride at your own risk. The BC Epic is a 1000km (1040 to be exact), 11,000m elevation traverse across South Central BC starting in Merrit and ending in Fernie (or vice versa if you choose) mostly along the Trans Canada Trail. The route is about 80% off road on mostly old decommissioned rail grades (Kettle Valley Railroad from Brookmere to Midway, Columbia Western from Midway to Castlegar and Great Northern from Salmo to Nelson), with a few sections of challenging singletrack and the rest mostly rough gravel forest service road and about 100km paved. It is spectacular ride crossing through a great diversity of terrain and ecosystems with remarkable scenery, trestles hundreds of feet high and multiple tunnels (longest almost a kilometer!) along the bed of some of the most expensive railway ever laid through the mountains. There are plenty of camping, re-supply points and services along the route. Take on the challenge and ride the Epic!

Please take note – don’t let the rail grades deceive you – this is tough route! During the inaugural ride only 7 of 15 starters finished. The rail grade is often very rough with loose gravel, washouts, and washboard and often hard work to ride. A cross bike​ is not suited for this surface. Although it had been completed with a trailer, it is not recommended and the singletrack section between Castelgar is not rideable with a trailer.

  • See everyone there!

  • Lennard Pretorius

    It’s gonna be a good one Miles – 33 riders and counting so far!!

  • Now we’re at 37 riders for the grand depart!

  • Jamie

    Hey Miles,

    Much training needed for a ride of this caliber? I’m from Aurora, ON and will attempt your COLT route in early July. I would ideally like to go to Banff and make a run at the GDMBR but this route looks like it could be a great training ride for next year’s attempt on the GDMBR.

    Good luck either way!


  • Hi Jamie – I think if you are planning on racing the Epic 1000 there is definitely some training to be done. It is 1000km after all, and not all hard packed and peachy rail trails like many people assume. I am definitely NOT racing, not my style really, so I’m just focusing on getting comfortable with my setup and putting in a few longer days .. just in case! Does that help?

  • Jamie

    Hey Miles,

    Oh, I’m not looking to race anything at all… I would just grab the ECR and ride the trail and enjoy the scenery. Same if I found myself on the GDMBR – I’m there to ride and take my time learning as I go… Thanks for the help!

  • I hear ya! That’s how I’m riding it this year as well, I’m no racer.

  • Lennard Pretorius

    Hi Jamie – I plotted this route specifically as a prep ride for a run at the Tour Divide – so would be a shakedown for that in my opinion. As Miles said you need to be able to put in a good day on the bike to finish this in 7-10 days. The trail and surface is often slow and harder work – it is harder than 1000km of gravel roads for sure – as long as you keep that in mind and manage your expectations for speed and distance well the scenery, landscape, history, culture and camaraderie on this ride is the best BC has to offer!

  • Trackleaders link for those interested!

  • Just embedded it above. Good luck out there!!

  • Jamie

    Hi Lennard,

    It looks like a great ride and by no means a simple gravel road. I’m only starting to muster 100km or 7-8 hours days on my bike and feel tired by days end. I’m thinking maybe trying this route at some point. Kinda like Miles said – more or ride than a race at this point.

    We need more group rides and races here in Canada and I’m thankful this is one of them.

  • Jamie

    Good luck tomorrow!

  • Jamie

    Hi Miles,

    Congratulations on finishing the BC Epic1000! You did really well from the looks of it and I take it the atmosphere motivated you to put in those long days on the saddle.

    Hence, I’d love to pick your brain about the ride as I was thinking of heading there in a few weeks and riding the trail.


    Aurora, ON (Canada)

  • Shoot me an email:

Follow Us

and join the conversation.