Today’s stage was a 78km loop around Greyton ending where we started this morning at the race village. The start was flat, super fast and super dusty. My legs felt great this morning and so did Brad’s, so we were off to a good start. We must have been heading east directly into the rising sun along dirt farm roads. The dust kicked up by the peloton of riders in front of us made it almost impossible to see the road. I just focused on staying upright and trying my best to see Brad ahead of me. The first 10kms were over in less than 20 mins.
|This is what the start of the race looked like|
We then hit some climbs and fun singletrack sections. We skipped the aid stations at 20 and 30 kms because we both had plenty of water and were chasing a co-ed team who was in front of us. We almost caught them at the top of a steep singletrack climb, but unfortunately Brad’s chain broke. He pulled off to fix it and I did my best to help him get the quick link on. In an 8 day stage race, mechanicals out there are bound to happen. We finally got the chain back on after about 10 minutes of working to get the quick link to fully snap into place. When you are pulled off the trail at any point in a race, it feels like an eternity and it felt like so many teams cycled past us. We finally got going again and luckily were not too far from an aid station. The mechanic there was able to get Brad’s shifting straightened out so the chain stopped skipping during each pedal stroke. We re-filled our camel packs and were back out on the course, trying our best to make up for the lost time. We had a great pace going and were able to pass at least 20 or 30 teams in the last 25km.
It was definitely a day for mechanicals. We saw quite a few teams pulled over with flat tires today. My Maxxis Ikons with EXO protection are holding up great in the rocky terrain. I really think it is the ideal tire for this race.
Here is video of one of the climbs we did today. The soundtrack is the song they play at the start line each morning. It is stuck in my head for most of the day. Now it can be stuck in yours too. You're welcome. https://youtu.be/dBtTZc-qpPI
We lost a bunch of time today but still finished the day 6th in the co-ed division, which we were really happy about. I am doing a much better job at descending; I think Jeff would be very proud of me. I kept up with Brad on almost all the descents today, and a guy from one of the other teams complimented me about how well I rode the Land Rover technical descent section at the end of today’s stage. I think that is the first time anyone has ever complimented my descending skills!
We are both still feeling really good, legs feel strong and we are ready to tackle tomorrow’s 112 km stage!
|A new way to get infinite recovery down. Mainly it just ruins the ice cream!|
|Our wonderful team leader, Jane, one of the CTS coaches. She works non-stop to keep us all happy, hydrated, organized, supplied with clean clothes, and knows the answer to every question we have|