Leaving Elkford we climbed the 5km paved hill - which I'll refer to as the horsepower drag race - and managed to stay as the last stragglers off the real riders group. Once we hit the single track I popped and rode it at my own speed, nice to have open terrain ahead.
On the gravel road, Craig and I rode with the Espresso guys for an hour, then when the Trek guys came by we jumped on their wheel. Lots of gravel road paceline action.
On the second climb, Trev and Charlie and the Sobe guys passed, then the climb got technical. I rode my Turner today as my new Lefty is having issues, and it was doing everything it could on the technical climbs to buck me off - front and rear shocks were not working together at all. Lots of stuff I could ride I was dismounting to walk just to avoid frustration. Craig was climbing 99% of the terrain.
We crested racehorse pass, and I learned that my terminal velocity on the Turner was 10% slower, had a hard time keeping Craig in sight. We did see a badass badger crossing a bridge toward us, neat to see.
Eventually Espresso caught us again, as well as the Tamarack team. We rode into checkstop 3 together, then it was off to brave the steep, hot, direct sun baked quad trails going straight up the mountains around Blairmore.
All in we got passed by 5 teams, which left us at the familiar 12th on the day... which surprises me a bit at how fast our start was. Nothing like a 15 minute all out time trial to start a 100km mountain bike stage, I was tired at the end.
Pat and Geoff had a good day, but Pat crashed on the first bridge in the singletrack which was cause for a little pause. They were 4th on the day.
It was hot, dry and long.