Stage 2

Wake with the sun as usual, then roll over to catch a few more zzzz’s, long sleeve wooly is perfect to fight the chill. Was up late dicking around trying to get this pos laptop to connect to the webz, no luck. So, sorry ‘bout the delay in getting these words out, I brought untested gear….

Get into the standard stage morning expend minimal energy routine, chomp on some breakfast, forcing the appetite before rolling ‘cross town to the start venue. A nice quiet spin to let the butterflies flock in the stomach, really hope this queasiness subsides. After the shorter than expected ride yesterday, I’m thinking about riding an honest race, no trailside tourism today, see what’s in the tank. Do bring along the gear though in case things go pear shaped, but wanna keep the boys honest, best I can.

Neutral rollout is decent enough, although the field was splintering even before the pace vehicle rolled off. Then there was an acceleration, and I opted to keep on the neutral pace and let my legs come around, watch all the contenders cruise on up the hill. Keep pace w/ Dicky & Jake, then have a blast ripping a taste of AspenTunnel love in the mix, doing what it takes to keep Dicky in sight….takes more than I have.

Time to settle in for another 2 hours of cat n mouse. Stomach is agreeable, doing what I can to keep it full, keep the calories coming in. Hit a decent little climb, then more tastey singletrack along the BlueRiver something or other. Almost reminded me of Meeshowslowvakian creekside love, but that little bit was over in ten pedal strokes and we’re onto a nice elevated ribbon of trail.

Roll that sweetly, keeping pace in the mix with the lead ladies. Then the big mamma climb begins. My blue clad carrot appears ahead, white rims blinging, time to reel him in, again. One foot in front of the other mantra takes over and contact is made over and over, up then down, up then down and finally we hit the high point of the route.

Try to be quick thru the aid station at 11,800ft, but the effort to get there tells me to tone it down a smidge. Volunteer beta is ‘nice stretch to relax on…’ Great, a wide open piece of fireroad bombing, just what I need. Bye bye Rich. Try to recall the profile during the long downward slum, I think there’s another couple of hits coming up. Wave to Danielle M. on the way down, then back into the woods for the daily highlight, hitting that sector that makes it all worth it.

Scenery looks immediately familiar and soon enough we’re ripping down a portion of the prologue climb. Finally, some terrain where I can hold my own. Tight, freshy single with enough off camber and rooty mini drops to keep you on your toes. Pedal, pedal, dodge, weave, pedal, bip, bap, skippity skip, goooooo! Totally dialed into the flow of the trail, Conti’s eating up the RockyMtn loam, get light and let it drift right on over to the outside. Do what I can to reel in the stranger in front, can only manage to keep the gap constant.

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