Day 3 – Go straight and stay upright!
A shaded and chilly climb/walk of 400m got us to the first section which was a free riders dream! Very quick with loose gravely switchbacks that required a bit of skill to keep momentum and speed high. I walked down the trail a bit and watched some of the top riders absolutely kill the top section – it is quite impressive to watch.
There were only three timed sections today. The first I managed to complete with few errors, so I was pretty chuffed. The second was a complete disaster – heading in the right direction I chose a wrong line and found myself eating dirt. And then still throbbing all over I took a wrong turn which added 150m climbing before I realised my mistake – I was basically at the point I started at. By this time I was almost broken.
I was not the only one (the top woman was among the ‘wrong turners’) so in my opinion the signage didn’t work. If the stage stands it will mean my times will be shocking, however it will probably mean that the pressure is off and I can focus on styling some of what’s ahead – more lush single track.
Today was the first day with a decent amount of climbing included in the timed sections, so the fit riders will gain valuable time on the leader board. It is now clear that anyone can win this event – a technical error, a wrong turn or a bonk can loose valuable time, so the leader board is definitely going to change.
Tomorrow has lots of downs and less climbing, so everyone is in good spirits. Time for food and well deserved wine.