Monday, Stage 1: 46 miles, 7400 feet of climbing (or so it was supposed to be...)
It was a hot day. The 9 a.m. start in the increasing heat took its toll, but I kept it together and did not get lost. Apparently that was key today, because I heard from the competition, that they all did not fare so well. I took the initial stage and had some time put in on 2nd and 3rd.
Tuesday, Stage 2: 39 miles, 7000 feet of climbing (again, perhaps not the most accurate)
Another hot exposed day. My goal was just to ride with Amanda and/or Sarah, or whomever was going to push the pace. I was not going to push the pace. It was hot and that can be dangerous. Amanda and I rode a lot of the day together and at one point, I looked back and she was not there. I took a nice digger going mock speed through some sage brush. I think I clipped a pedal or something. I flew off my bike so fast, head first into a rock. Stood up, looked around, no one in sight, I didn't see blood, just stars, so I got back on and finished. Didn't gain a lot of time on this day, but was still sitting in the lead.
Wednesday, Stage 3: Uh, who knows???
All first year races have their challenges. This day was a great example. Unfortunately, there was a huge delay in the start due to some issues with some local threatening to sabotage the markings in 'his trail'. Hmmm? Well, a decision was made to shorten the stage, avoid the area that was under question and just race. Well, the race was neutralized at some point in the game, most were lost, arrows were backwards, people were pissed. It was a worst case scenario. But heck, the riding was fun and no one got hurt. Or wait, Jeremiah did take a digger that crushed a few vertebrea and he is out for a while and lost his lead and chance at $10,000. A rough day for the team, especially when the times didn't count. I had a good day, but I'll give credit to where it belongs. Jen, the gal from NZL living in England had a great day. She would have had the stage for sure.
Thursday: Stage 4: 55 miles, 6900 feet of climbing (although some say it was way more?)
What a great day! Great trails, the course markings were good and I felt good. We started at 7 a.m. and it was cooler, making it a lot easier to push the pedals. Some super fun singletrack, gnarly descents, and just great riding. The BAD part of the day, however, was when another teammate was down. I passed Ben Sonntag on the ground with Chris Sheppard attending to him. He did not look good. It scared me, but I was told to continue on. He ended up with a concussion and he too had to abandon the race while in 2nd place. 2 down, what else could happen to our team? I was a bit paranoid. I rode safe to a nice victory, making up more time on 2nd and 3rd.
Friday, Stage 5, Time Trial: 20 miles. Not sure how much climbing, but enough.
Our start was delayed. We started just before 11 and it was hot. Lucky for me, I could roll the stage. At this point, I was just in completion mode. Stay safe, no mechanicals and just ride for fun. It was good I didn't have to 'race', because honestly, I didn't feel so great in the heat. I have heat rash all over my arms. It is nasty. So I rolled a nice easy pace and had fun. I let my competitors by, fully pulling over. They still had a race on their hands, and like I say in stage racing, "anything can happen." But lucky for me, nothing dramatic happened and I get to go home with a big fat check. Literally. $10,000 CDN. I guess I will have a budget for cx afterall.