|Start line of day one, and elevation profile.|
|Nice thing about climbing is there's always|
time to grab the camera and take pictures of the view.
Once back to town I met up with our group again, and unfortunately three of the six of us didn't finish the day. Catherine's shifting caused her to throw in the towel partway up the last climb, and Sue and Jeff turned back to town somewhere before that. But we were still all excited for the next two days to come!
|Start line of day two (Bob missing from picture)|
and elevation profile.
I tried to eat but knew I was way behind on my calorie intake. I hit the rockface section that apparently only three guys in the whole race could ride, and pitifully pushed my bike over it. There was a volunteer at the top warning riders about the descent... which seems kind of ominous in hindsight. At the time I barely registered what he was saying, but as soon as I saw the rider in front of me drop in, then garage sale right away and release a mushroom cloud of dust, I knew things were going to get interesting.
|Official race photo of a couple racers on the rock face.|
The last 10 km that day was on the Coal Discovery Trail, that normally I would have enjoyed as it was rooty, flowy singletrack along a river, pretty similar to west coast riding. But I was still not recovered from my lack of calories, so every pedal stroke was a struggle. Sabrina (my riding partner from the day before) caught up to me and shouted for me to stay on her wheel, but passed me pretty quickly. Finally I was back to town and crossing the finish line. Tears at the finish are always a sign of a tough day. Catherine basically led me to the pub where our group was, and huge props to Rick (a friend of Sue & Bob's from Calgary) for buying me a couple of cokes and fries. That got my recovery for the next day started.
|Start line of day three, and elevation profile.|
Kind of fuzzy picture, but totally worth it for the
"Crazy Larry" photobomb!
The third day's weather was a total departure from the hot & dry previous days. It was raining lightly (with bouts of heavy rain) and cool. Fine with me! I was in the mood to have fun and make up for the sufferfest of yesterday. The five of us lined up on the start line (spoiler alert - everyone finished day three, hooray!) - this time the start & finish were at the ski hill south of town. The start time ended up being delayed by about ten minutes as there was a bull moose hanging around on the route, so the organizers decided to change the first few trails they were sending us down.
Yet again, Kris and Bob were off ahead of us, and Catherine and I started the climb together. Almost at the top of the first climb, a volunteer stopped us as a cow moose and her calf were hanging out on the trail. We had to wait for over ten minutes the moose to finally move off our trail, and this allowed Jeff to catch back up. So we headed off again together, and then a traffic jam on the first technical singletrack separated us all.
|The calf moose looking for her mom, who was right in front|
of Catherine and I. We definitely didn't want to get inbetween
them, so gave them their space and waiting until they moved along.
I had decided to end TR3 on a high note and not ride myself into the ground on the final stage, so rode with a friendly guy from Seattle named Dan for the day. He and I were pretty evenly matched, except I was better on the singletrack. We had fun trading stories, and of course I enjoyed every time he mentioned what a good technical rider I was (oh, if he only knew the truth!) and thanked me for waiting and the end of each piece of singletrack. We had some fun rooty trails, creek crossings, and steep short climbs through the first two-thirds of the day.
|Cold feet but cleaned some of the mud off my tires!|
|Into the alpine and still going up...|
After the second checkpoint, the route went straight up into the alpine. It was a total grind of a climb, but was kind of fun. Dan and I kept chatting and laughing, and it was a long, steep climb but overall I think the third day was the easiest of them all. The final descent brought back memories of the previous day, however, as it was a black diamond downhill trail called Rumpelstumpskin with big drops, steep, tight corners, and high bridges and ramps. We couldn't ride most of it (but check out all the youtube videos of the downhillers absolutely tearing it up), and of course I crashed again, making it a perfect record of one crash per day.
It was a blast to get to the finish line of the final day! Stage racing is really fun, but I admit I'm not the best mountain biker. Perhaps I should spend more time on my mountain bike on technical downhills... or not! I'd love to do more stage racing - honestly it's not as tiring as I thought it would be. But that may be because the final day wasn't as hard as the first two, I'm not sure.
Now I have a bit of time to heal from my crashes, and then ramp it up again for my final race of the season - the Leadman 125 in Bend, OR in September. Back onto the TT bike!
|Some TR3 souvenirs.|