Phew! I am tired tonight.
Stage 3: Earls Cove to Sechelt. 57km, 1400m D+
Day 3 was a point to point race from the ferry terminal in Earls Cove to the town of Sechelt. Everyone talks about that day as the hardest of the week, because it is longer than other stages and there is a lot of climbing. Still, it was quite a nice day and we had a good time out there on the fire roads and trails of the Sunshine Coast of BC.
I started out fast as I thought I could maybe get away from Katerina, but didn't want to go over my limit because I knew it was going to be a long day. Obviously, that didn't work out! She was right there, so I slowed down and we rode together for a very long time. We had a pretty good group of about 10 (all guys except the 2 of us) and it was nice to have company out there on these open roads.
The course was mostly on fire roads and power lines today, but all these long pedalling sections were separated by some fun singletrack trails, which was a nice way to break things up. Katka and I exchanged the lead at the front of our group all day. Sometimes it was really hard and I wondered how I'd get to the end, and other times it was quite comfortable and I enjoyed myself and took these opportunity to eat (I discovered the Vanilla CLIF Shot this week - it tastes like cake and I love it). In times when it gets really hard, I always convince myself to hang on just a little longer telling myself that the next descent can't be that much further!
Our group got smaller and smaller throughout the day, until it was only the 2 of us with Brett, a nice Aussie guy. I went in front in the second to last climb and tried to go fast to see if I could get rid of Katerina...of course, that did not work out! She led the next downhill section, and even though it wasn't easy, I had a blast following her. With 5 km to go, we hit a super steep singletrack climb and Katka led it at a pretty fast pace. "Just hang on a tiny bit longer Maghs, you can do this". I was suffering. I hung a bit longer, and a bit longer again until I just cracked. She opened a tiny gap and when she realized it, she accelerated and the gap grew bigger. I did my best to keep it together until the end and suffered pretty bad to finish about a minute back.
So if you were wondering how to crack Katerina. Well, don't ask me! I have not figured that out yet hahaha! If you wonder how to crack me; ask her!
In all honesty though, it's a very friendly competition. Of course I want to beat her, and I think she also wants me to try my best to beat her. But at the end of the day, I learn a ton from her and we have lots of fun.
I was cracked and tired after todays' stage. All I wanted was to eat a burger, so we went to McDonalds. After that, we hung out a the CLIF lounge at the finish line and chatted with other racers, sharing stories of the day - another good day at BCBR!
See you tomorrow!