Saturday, June 30, 2012

Furious 3 - Stage 1

Race results here

The morning of the race brought sunny skies again.  After a small breakfast and getting dressed I headed to the start which take place on the streets in downtown Fernie.  Over 300 racers gathered around the streets warming up their legs.

The start began on pavement for a short neutral roll-out before turning to a gravel/forest road.  No one was eager to attack so the pace was moderate.  After about 6 miles the road turned uphill and that is when the race "officially" began.  I immediately rode to the front and set a high tempo pace. A few minutes of suffering began to spread the pack out and soon there was a group of 6 of us.  The road continued for another 4 or so miles and slowly a few more riders began to drop off the pace.  It was now just 4 of us as we entered the first singletrack section of the day.  I was the lead rider so I was able to choose the good line, or at least the line I wanted to.  All I can say about the first 2 minutes of the trail (Trail 48 Hours) was sweeeet.   Full on singletrack at it's best.  The trail had lots of switchbacks, tons of off-camber roots, several 2-3 foot drops, and some mud mixed in to add to the bliss.  This was probably the most memorable trail of the day, unfortunately I didn't have my camera on for that section.

We popped out of 48 Hours and began more climbing on forest roads.  With sunny skies and humidity it was starting to get pretty warm.  Some more climbing and another fun singletrack section brought us to the forest road that lead to the first Aid Station.  There were still 4 of us together as each of us quickly dropped a bottle for a for full one and continued on.  We descended down some singletrack and eventually made our way to the queen climb of the day, Hyperventilation Trail, which is true to it's name.  Slowly another rider and myself began to pull away from the other two riders.  Lots of heavy breathing and sweating lasted for about 15 - 20  minutes.

This clip is climbing up to the top of the Hyperventilation Trail and descending.
You'll notice the trail is dry on the climb, one of only a few trails that were.

Upon reaching the top, I took a quick glimpse to try and soak in the views but it was too short to see anything.  Here was another epic section which included many of the same features as 48 Hours, only this trail had more steep descents.  The trail went on for a good 10-15 min. before we reached yet another forest road.  Energy level was still pretty high and the 2 of us seemed to be feeding off each others efforts.

As we entered the final singletrack section of the day, I was in 2nd place but only a short distance behind.  This trail included some "unwanted" climbing through some very technical and rooty sections and a lot more mud.  This was by far the muddiest trail of the day, saved the best for last I guess.  I kept looking at my Garmin Edge to see the mileage and I started to think we were on the wrong trail because we only had a few mile remaining and we just kept climbing and climbing.  Later I heard other riders saying the same thing.

The final 3k to the finish was a combination of a forest road and pavement.  I was roughly 30 meters from the leader and was slowly closing the gap.  As I gave it everything I had it wasn't enough, as I crossed the finish line just a few seconds behind.

All in all it was a great start to the 3-day event and I can't wait to see what else the race directors have in store for us.  If it's like today it's going to be 3 days of pure fun.

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