Day 5 done…and what a day. 68km in 7hrs 10 mins, and we’re both exhausted. I’m sitting in the drying tent – a big gas barbecue burning in the middle, with about a million bits of smelly, wet cycling gear drying all around me. And I paid money to do this.
We woke to grey, cold, rain-filled skies and everyone was dressed in wet weather gear for the start. ..the forecast wasn’t good. As usual the day started with a long fire-road climb…it’s taking longer and longer for my legs and head to wake up in the mornings, as I get more and more worn down, so these big climbs are really painful. It didn’t help that it was only 7C.
After the fire-road, we turned onto a nice long singletrack descent through the woods, covered in “snow” (actually all the hail from overnight that hadn’t melted). It made the downhill more exciting…you really had to stay on line! As we popped out of the woods, ti looked and felt like biking in the UK in January, with a watery sun peeking through the cloud and snow on the ground.
After some more stuff that I can’t really remember (other than passing LostBoy, my internet stalker, who was fixing the first of his 3 punctures of the day), we hit the big climb of the day…it started off as a nice rideable single track twisting up through the forest. Towards the top, it got less and less rideable – this must be the “gnarly” bit they mentioned. And it started raining. By the time we got the top, there was nothing to see except cloud..it really was like TransRockies 2009 again!
The descent from the top was fantastic…steep and rocky at the top, and big, bermed switchbacks all the way to the bottom….really great fun. Sadly, that’s where the fun ended for a while. The next thousand miles through the woods was horrible…totally boggy, rooty, up and down crap cut to a swamp by the all the riders. By now, Mark was having a serious sense of humour failure…chainsuck on his bike was causing him real problems (not that it would have made much difference, ‘cos it wasn’t rideable anyway). The last 2km to the checkpoint took forever!
After that, to be honest, the day turns into a bit of a blur…I knew we were going to be out for at least 7 hours, so it became a bit of a survival day after that. I seem to remember some pretty good singletrack stuff, but mostly I remember Mark’s many “useless piece of ****” moments, and the 12km road section at the end…it just seemed like an endless climb…maybe because it was! We finally got the end of the climb, and dropped down the final road section back to camp…completely exhausted. We’re in serious recovery mode now…tomorrow is the longest day of the 7, and with all the rain we’ve had (and our still having) it’s going to be a long, exhausting day.
Apologies for not posting this yesterday…no interweb available!