Friday, September 21, 2012

Stage 4: Ground Turkey

 I woke up this morning, and that was good.  I was somewhat dreading today's stage because it is pretty technical and does not suit my strengths.  I decided to bide my time and go my pace.  I lined up towards the pack so as not to get caught up in the frantic rush up the mountain.  It was cool when things thinned out, I was able to watch the top 3 women duke it out for a while on the climb up Black.  Then the right turn on Turkey Pen and I got left behind.  Turkey Pen was unevenful and I continued my pace, waiting to get passed by a hoard of people.  I only got passed by a few. 

On to Mullinax and Squirrel Gap.  Squirrel is a fun trail, but I had to take it slow.  It was hot and muggy down in the little coves and I was not feeling great.  I assumed that my race was over, because anytime my heartrate went up,  I started feeling bad.  I kept eating and drinking though, hoping that I would feel better.  Up Horsecove, and down funnel top, I was able to pass about 4 people and held them off while I climbed up to Buckhorn gap, passing a few more.  Up and over Buckwheat, I rode more on the decent than I did last year, cool.  Then came the gravel road down to the horse stables,  no one caught me, cool.  I hit the rest stop hot, and ready to be done.  Got some coke, water, lube and a gel.  The rest stop staff was lightning fast,  20 seconds or less. 
They said there were 3 people a little ways in front of me.  I was feeling good again, and I enjoy a good gravel road climb, so I geared up and started the climb.  I felt good, really good.  I passed two of the 3 and hit the hike a bike at a steady pace.  My goal now was not to get caught coming down Black Mountain.  Jason Luque was not too far behind me, and so were several other fast descenders.  I didn't rail it, and didn't take any chances, just kept it steady, and it paid off.  I hit the finish alone,  4 minutes faster than last year. 

Tomorrow, is the last stage, 40 miles including the Laurel/ Pilot trails.  This is my favorite stage.  We even get 6 miles of pavement to start us off!!

Tomorrow: Stage 5

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