We left beautiful Powell River (only accessible by Ferry and float plane) in the am and headed by Ferry to Earl's Cove on the Sunshine coast.
Day 4: Ah hump Day. So far so good. 4 days in, 3 to go. Geoff and I have been a good team. We've had some good laughs, some good mishaps and lots of good riding and racing. We've been able to stay close to the front at the start and then gradually settle in with a fast, but not the fastest group (Barry, Kris, Corey, Collin, Chris, Jason).
Hump Day: Earl's cove to Sechelt. I started with a slight headache and a delicious breakfast before heading to the Ferry. Then another race from the Ferry. This was the hardest stage last year and it was tough again today. There was tons of climbing, steep climbing and not a lot of single track until over 2hrs in. Fire roads make your mind and legs feel flat and missing a turn lost us our rhythm and time advantage over Jeff and Mical, but we got back into rhythm and pulled away through some loamy singletrack and kept working for the advantage the rest of the day. Finally we were rewarded with singletrack. Unfortunately still lots of up hill before the down, but the down was pretty sweet and we still came in in under 4hrs. Pugsley sprinted us for the finish. Today was 3:41.
Geoff captures me and Pugsley climbing mid race
Day 5: Sechelt to Langdale. One of my favourite stages from last year thanks to the sweet long descent down to the Ferry Terminal. The day started pretty rainy and we had a large creek crossing to Fjord. The neutral road start would be the messiest and from there a dirt climb and then mostly singletrack. We got a good position into the woods. Managed the stream crossing. Geoff wanted an inflatable raft that he could ride ahead, inflate and then porter us across on, but Peter didn't have one. Jeez Boss!
Photo by Patrick Grahm. For more great shots check out www.flickr.com/photos/lungsnot
I felt great in the singletrack and after a while we started catching the 3rd place men's team and lots of fast guys. We realized we could be in a position for a top ten overall that day if we rode well. With this motivation we snaked our way through the woods, past guys and into 8 and 9th position. At the crest of the singletrack all we had to do was maintain our lead on the guys on the descent. It was tricky railing a descent while keeping our eyes out for pink ribbon and having to pee like a race horse, but we managed it. Manny Prado road up on us as we were less than a km from the finish, but a little scoop on the corner and down the chute to the finish and we held our top 10 finish. Geoff got a kick out of chixing the guys. 2hr50. Sometimes he even had time to twitter about it mid race or take photographic evidence!
Showers and then onto the ferry to Horseshoe Bay and Squamish.