Day three was looked forward to by everyone as it was guaranteed to be dry(er). We also were able to sleep in a little bit, as the ride didn’t start till 9:30. The race organization ran into its first hitch this morning when we were greeted by one coffee maker with one pot for everyone. The line for the coffee was unbearable long. After a couple shots of weak coffee we got packed up and headed to the start for a 17km neutral ride led by the OPP.
Matt and I rode near the front and as we looked back it was quite a sight to see 260 ish riders two wide on a awesome country road. We had to stop once cause the a few people were falling off the pace. It was also the coldest morning, which saw a lot of people bundled up.
We staged quickly and were under way for the short 50km run into Haliburton forest base camp. I do have to say one person who was notably missing from the weekend was Kyle Fry. But he thought it would be more fun to stay home and jump over parking cones. Back to the race, the start was the hardest of the race with a 1 km climb up a gravel road with the leaders setting a high pace and everyone else hanging on as long as possible. As we turned onto the hydro cut I got the feeling a couple of the solo riders who had been finishing in front of us the first two days were a little tired, Dave Dermont, Parnel, Ingram were all showing signs of fatigue so I wanted to try and get away with Matt and have a good stage finish. I could also see the 4 lead solo riders and set out after them. I put a little time into them and kept the pressure up.
I got the smell of blood in the water and just went with it. I would check over my shoulder to make sure Matt was still there. When I did I would see a Norco jersey and was pleased with the pace Matt and I were riding. At the top of a climb I looked back and realized it wasn’t Matt and it was actually Norco solo rider Imad. Matt was at the back of the group of 4. When Matt and I got back together we settled into a high tempo and got back to riding our own race. The stage had some big climbs and along with them came some good decents. We played these safe even with my 800 gram unflatable tires I didn’t want to take any chances with flats as we were only 25 minutes up on second place who I know are strong riders. Ingram, dermont, both flatted early. Matt and I rode straight passed the first feed station and headed up a long climb. We were joined by "random dude" Basically after two days of seeing the same riders around us it was odd to see some new guy come out of nowhere. I would later find out it was Les Symmes the Senior expert provincial champ from mountainview cc. He quickly rode away from us. As the stage went on Matt and I started to have more fun just riding the awesome trails, and kinda let the stage just happen. Knowing we at least had the overall barring a big problem.
While on a long climb all we could here was yelling from behind, Matt informed me it was Mark Summers. Riding a fully rigid singlespeed, we quickly formulated a plan that involved Matt holding him down and me breaking his leg. He rode up to us on a gravel road section and just settled in behind. We hit the normac trail which we knew was the last section of trail before the finish. I stopped for a nature break, figuring with all the press at finish line, cnn, cbc, bbc, to name a few I wouldn’t be able to get away. We gathered up up Imad who also flatted and finished up together.
As the olympic single speed champion I have to give Summers mad props and fear that he will show up the worlds next year. I have to say I was more sad than relieved to finish. I had an awesome time, the whole experience was awesome. I couldn’t have gotten a better race partner Matt kept me positive the whole time and kept me pushing right to the line each day.
After an awesome BBQ and awards Starbuck and mom drove me back to buckwallow to pick up my car and I headed home. This morning I woke up and felt weird not getting dressed and heading out to a start line with over 250 other people for a day of pounding through mud bogs.
"Do you guys have any brake pads"