Whew. 81 miles of pure suffering. Actually, it started off a bit fast but like all long races it cooled off. We were running in a pretty good moving paceline for most of the day. Long stretches of sandy trails and headwinds caused everyone to duck for cover. There were no supported feedzones so if I wanted bottles I had to stop in the start/finish area to grab some out of a bag I had there and then chase back on.
Halfway through the second lap I got caught up in a minor crash due to someone taking a dab in front of me. O.K, I tipped over and dropped my chain. The created a gap from me to the group. I chased and chased and finally caught the 4th place rider. After that I was able to get a bottle in the feedzone from a lady who felt sorry for me for having to stop. God bless her soul. SHe helped me more than she will ever know. She wasn't at the finish when I came in.
Going out on the last lap I was able to catch 3rd place in a few miles and then caught second about halfway through that lap. At that point I only had Eatough in front of me and if you know anything about him, well, lets just say he was gone.
Funny thing is that I didn't realize that I had caught second place so I was surprised on the line that I was called in as second. I was out of it and exhausted. Jesse and Scott were there to feed me endless gatorade. I just slugged a bottle instantly. I was pretty excited to get on the NORBA podium with some serious big guns. My upmost respect to those guys. Very tough riders!
After a night of eating, eating, and eating I woke up and dragged myself to the time trial. I attempted to warm up by the legs were stiff. The TT course was a fast 8.2 miles and the rocky sections from the day before had smoothened out a bit. I have to say that the rocks beat the hell out of me on the marathon. My wrist are still sore as I type. Anyway, I had a good TT. I felt very fluid on the course and had very few errors. The bike ran awesome. My power was a bit down for obvious reasons but I still managed 10th place. Of course, NORBA has the clocks all messed up. The winner is 3 minutes ahead of me? Doubt it. The winner does! Hopefully that will get straightened out by tomorrow. If it does I am only 40 seconds out from the true leader. Damn close enough to take this stage race for the overall win.
Tomorrow is the short track. Fast and hard but a rest day all things considering. Tomorrow it is just about being there. Don't make it happen but be there when it does. I have podium pictures and there is a good article on www.cyclingnews.com. I will get the pictures up in my next post. Internet access is difficult right now. Ciao for Phoenix AZ! Land of some serious traffic problems. -Ian