So, the second day of my first stage race. I wasn’t sure how waking up this morning would feel, but after a good breakfast and a quick warm up, I felt as fresh as the first day.
CLICK HERE for my GPS readout for the day. Only just startied using a GPS, so hopefully it will provide some useful info!
Brief version: Finished in 7th place with Blake, to hopefully move up a couple of spots on the General Classification. Last nights rain was fantastic and the Colorado Trail sections were in prime condition. The climbs were all super steep, but I think I pulled through without digging too deep in the energy supplies.
Details: The first climb of the day went off at crazy pace. I think mainly because the 3 day race started with us this morning and there were a lot of fresh legs in the mix. I hit the first section of singletrack in about 25th place, but as there was a long dirt road section right afterwards, I wasn’t too concerned. The dirt road climb that looked pretty hard on the elevation profile turned out to be a disgustingly steep grind, and as I expected, I moved up a good 15 places instantly. The rain last night was a blessing as the sand had been turned into perfect tacky dirt. At aid station 1, 14 miles in, we had a good working group of Travis Brown (Trek), Jorge Espinoza (Horizon Organic, racing 3 day), Blake, and myself. Blake had the misfortune of a bee sting to his eye, so I hit the biggest climb of the day holding onto Travis’ wheel. I went way too hard up the climb, and suffered, only just avoiding the bonk before hitting the fastest, smoothest trail I’ve ridden in Colorado. At nearly 5 miles long, it gave me a good recovery time, and after eating a ton of food, I held on for the last 3 smaller but still significant climbs. Blake bridged back up to me and we rode the last 14 miles together. I was really happy to have someone to ride with, not just for pacing but also because the stage racing intensity is just low enough that occasional conversation can be held, and that makes the grinding dirt road climbs a lot more interesting. I was willing the finish to come as I’d used up all the energy I wanted to for the day, and didn’t want to dig to deep into the reserves.
Overall, I felt really good and capitalised on that to place higher that I expected. Tomorrow is a really big day with over 8000 feet of climbing. I think it will be the deciding stage in the race, and my aim is to consolidate my GC position with another top 10 finish.