Saturday, September 27, 2008

Stage 3

We left the camp around 9:30 for a police escorted 17 km neutral ride on the road. It was supposed to serve as a warm up before a quick staging and the start at 10:00, but it was so cold and the pace was so slow that I don't think anyone really got warm. Anyway, we only had to wait around for about five minutes before the gun went off. I had managed to position myself in the front third of the start again, and things were looking good right from the get go. The hills hit us right away, and the first 15 km or so were nonstop climbs that reminded me of the power line sections of the Ore to Shore and fast, rocky, technical descents. As an added bonus, I don't think I had to get off my bike once before the first aid station. I was thinking to myself, "now this is what I came here for." My legs felt great, and I was constantly picking off riders on the long climbs. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, it did. I got into a nice working group for a longish dirt road haul, and then we had to slow down for a sharp left hand turn. Low and behold, we were on honest to goodness singletrack. The rest of the race was alternating sections of dirt roads and singletrack. Not a bog in sight. I was in heaven (if you can look past the fact that I was also in fairly great deal of pain from the cumulative effects of three straight days of racing). I crossed the finish line in four hours and some change, and that was good for 30th on the day. This pushed me up to 32nd overall with a time 15 hr and 14 min for the 245 km in three days. All in all, it was a great event. I didn't much care for the bogs and all the walking, but now I'll know what to expect next time. I do think I'll go back, but probably not next year. Hugh and I are batting around the idea of each tackling our first 24 solo next fall, and I don't think I could fit in the stage race as well. But you just never know. Ride tomorrow at Boyne 10 am. WNR @ HQ with a 6:00 start time. Until next time.

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