Stage 3

Queen stage, we were warned to drink plenty of water. I stick with my ‘there’s water in beer’ philosophy, quaff a couple beverages to keep the blood flowing. Then drink a liter of water, and another throughout the night. Still wake up with a niggle of a headache, oops.

Otherwise, I do wake up refreshed, body adjusting to the thermarest reality, mind is tranquillo. After trying to keep it real yesterday, and seeing no real effect on placement, today is a day for a steady tempo ride, take some breaks, snap some pictures. Legs are feeling fresh enough during the rollout, so I opt to mix in with the lower steps of ss podium battle for the first hit of climbing. Use it if you got it, right? Pushing the 18 thru the thin air eventually catches up to me, let the elastic stretch a bit, then try to limit losses on the downhill, mostly just to mess with Dicky.

Out into a meadow clearing, stoked that I’m holding my place, looking to keep it rolling, and blow right thru a corner then down a rock n roll steep loose jeep track. Heard a holler from behind…’I think we go lefffffffff….’ I though the dude was talking to a teammate, I was in the groove and put on a fixed descending clinic for absolutely no one. Pop out on some tarmac, see no arrows. Fuck. Turn around, hike ten-ish minutes back to the course, and see the half dozen arrows I rode right past. Dumbass.

Now, it’s definitely an enjoy the ride day. Think it’s kinda funny though, ‘cuz now there’s a chance Dicky and the rest still think I’m in front of them, giggle about them chasing a ghost up the trail. I get to settle in with fresh faces, rip some sweet benched piney love and stop to take in the view. Carrying the camera, may as well use it, spend another 10 minutes taking it in, snacking and getting the head straight.

From there, we climbed, and climbed and climbed and I stared at remnant snow wishing I was slogging a pack w/ skis up this mother instead of pushing the silly fixy up to 12,000 feet. Then we dropped down, and down and down. And down and down and down, until we find a road, then we climbed and climbed and climbed, and climbed and climbed and climbed up to Georgia Pass. Nice three and a half hour tour to get warmed up for more CT love. The CT delivers yet again, first with hi alpine shredding, then shwoopy abusive rooty railing before dropping some sweet east coast style techy gnar. Long stretch of on it descending until the hands and arms are blown. Manage to finish it with the wilted stumps then it’s just a quick ‘25minute climb’ up over to the finish….as usual, the 25minte climb is followed by a bit more than told.

Clear the climb one foot in front of the other, rocking the pedal push tempo then throw in the towel and begin thinking about tomorrow. Bring it home slamming the water bottle, keep the calories topped and definitely don’t burn anymore matches. Finish the 42mile + detour route in about five and a half elapsed, 5:0something ridden on the gizmo, staking a solid claim on that 8th spot.

Follow all that up with a massage and some chill time before awards and dinner. Ohhhh, the dinners. We are eating like kings on the catered plan! More food than you can possibly put down and a variety that can’t be beat. Two nights out to related restaurants, Monday was trout with crab, tonight saw a big fat burrito served up. The catered on sight was delish pot pot pie and primo lasagna options last night. No reason to be left wanting ’round here, Mike and the crew are taking most excellent care, thanks guys!

Tomorrow, Wheeler Pass at 12,400, that’s 12000 feet higher than my apt, should neat!

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