Final results here
Start of stage 3
Wow, I didn't think today could have been any better than Stage 2 but I was wrong. Stage 3 consisted of mostly singletrack and very few forest road riding. A short 2k start on pavement through a neighborhood led us to the first singletrack section. Entering this section in good position was critical. I heard later after the race that some riders had gotten bottle-necked and had to walk.
Shawn Bullin was feeling good today and shortly after entering the singletrack moved to the front and pushed the pace hard. I was able to get by a few riders to move in to 2nd position and had to work hard to chase him down. I was able to catch him shortly after exiting the singletrack on a forest road, but wasn't able to maintain the hard pace he was pushing. Knowing that I only had a 2.5 minute lead on him in the overall GC, I couldn't afford him to get too far ahead.
Lots of technical rolling terrain today kept us on edge the entire time. Even though the weather was sunny and warm today, the trails had dried out a bit but had turned even more slippery than previous days, and the rooty sections became even more challenging.
Today we had to climb Hyperventilation Trail again (a steep 4 mile singletrack climb) and this was where I thought I could make up time on Shawn. At the top of the climb, one of the spectators had mentioned that I was 2 minutes behind. With only about 8 miles to the finish I had to do everything I could to maintain my overall lead. The majority of the race was downhill on some super gnarly trails. High speeds and narrow singletrack made for a great way to end an epic 3 days of riding.
I finished a close 2nd behind Shawn on today's stage, but was able to hold on for the overall GC victory.
Solo Men Open Podium:
L to R: Mike Vine (not present), Sloane, Shawn Bullin