Yesterday's word of the day was "rocks", today's stage 2 word of the day was "rain", and lots of it.
Great video stage highlights from Thom Parsons
The race began with a neutral roll out on pavement for a few miles before taking a left turn onto a jeep/rocky road. This was when the race officially began as was noted by how quickly the pack separated. We climbed this road for a few miles before leveling off and descending a bit. Not before long though we were to climb what the locals call "heinous hill", a steep, rocky, loose, kick on the balls climb. Not sure how many miles the climb was but definitely too long to remember. Lots of heavy breathing, un-clipping from pedals, and profanity was heard during this climb...good times!
Once we crested the top we were rewarded with some sweet singletrack twisting in and around trees. this lasted for a while allowing me, and others I'm sure to get their breath and drink some fluids. Around this time is when the rain began falling; starting off as a mist at first and then turning into a downpour. It would continue for the remainder of the race; very reminiscent of Furious 3 Stage 2. We were fortunate enough to ride part of the Colorado Trail today which is a buff section of trail (think Pacific Crest Trail but for riding your bike on). The trail was so fast there were times where I just couldn't help but coast and enjoy it.
By this time my hands and feet were beginning to get pretty damn cold. The trails were lined with puddles which was splashing mud onto my face making it very difficult to see. I had bagged the sunglasses at Aid #1 for clear lenses, but those didn't help much either. So riding without glasses and wearing contacts is a nightmare when it rains and it's muddy. I remember one experience riding at Capitol Forrest in Washington State where the same thing was happening but that time my contacts actually fell out. Shit, I couldn't see anything and I slowed way down. Fortunately, today things worked out alright although my eyes are quite dry at the moment and took a while to pry my contacts out of my eyes.
After we reached Aid #2 I grabbed a rain jacket that I placed in my "drop bag" and it was a welcome treat. For the next 2-3 miles we rode on pavement and the combination of rain, cold temps, and wind would have dropped my body temp even more, so the jacket was hugely critical. We reached some more jeep/rocky roads followed by more technical/rooty singletrack climbing before the final descent to the finish. See the finish today was another sense of relief and getting my cycling clothes off as fast as possible and into dry clothes was priority #1. I finished with a time of 3:34 and in 11th place. I am currently sitting 9th overall in the GC (:38 min back).
Great article here worth reading