We started and finished at The Cradle of Forestry. We took the gravel roads out and up to Funneltop, down Horsecove with a left turn on Squirrel. I rode my own pace which had me alone for most of the day. That was fine, I was pretty down after my ride yesterday.
We started under overcast skies and the sun came out after about an hour. Nice. I enjoyed the ride. No use hammering myself to death and still winding up in the same place. I figured I was still putting some mile in and I should make them count.
Down Laurel Creek, up Bradley Creek road, I was feeling good.
On the way to the race, my stomach was still feeling queasy so I stopped to get a Coke. While I was there, I bought a honey bun. That hit the spot. I ate most of it and saved 3 bites for later. This and 2 bites of a p b and j were the only thing that I ate all day. I also drank 3 bottles of my sports drink and one bottle of Coke. I'm not sure what is going on, but I'm figuring that my body is so depleted that it just can't process solids while I'm riding.
Regardless, I had the energy to move forward at a steady pace so I was pleased.
After a quick stop at Yellow Gap and then up Laurel and down Pilot.
I walked quite a bit on both sides of the mountain, but survival was the name of the game at this point. The focus was no longer on moving up in my category, but finishing.
I made my way to the bottom of Pilot, and got ready to cross the creek, about 6 miles from the finish. I noticed some sticks on the ground marking something, like a directional marking. I started to ride into the creek. I clipped the edge of one of the sticks, it flipped into my front wheel. Instantly, I was underwater from the waist up, my legs elevated on the boulder above the water. Briefly remember the thought that this could be really bad. I came to my senses, sat up and assessed the damage. My left knee hurt like mad as well as my shoulder.
I sat on the rock for a few minutes then got up and back on the bike.
Everything seemed to be working fine so I pedaled to the finish. Over 4 hrs on the bike but feeling good, except for the bruising!
Stage 5 tomorrow. And I promised not to attack 5th place. We'll just ride in and enjoy the views!