Stage Three Podium!This morning I woke up cold. Apparently spending 6 hours in the rain yesterday finally caught up and I was dragging. My body felt fine but my mind was in a different place. It was still raining and I could only imagine the suffering that was about to renew. On a whim, I decided to check the chain length of the new setup on my bike and sure enough it was too short at full suspension compressi0n. Shoot, back to the repair stand.After a quick fix we were on the road and the clouds had lifted slightly. My confidence was nearly zero because despire using a completely different tensioning system I was realistic about the ensuing mudbath and what sort of havoc it would release on my drivetrain.

The race began with a stiff climb and a quick sketchy descent before crossing the start/finish and heading out for a larger climb heavy loop. I hammered into the climb with gusto, not as a shot of strength but rather to give my drivetrain ample opportunity to fail before heading into the wilderness. It responded with nary a skip so I had no choice but to continue.

The Marvin--Works!For a time I rode with the single speed leader Josh but we begain to separate on some of the descents so I pressed on. The second major climb to the ENDURO section was a little firmer so I was able to kick some power into the soggy ground and open a decent gap. I rode the downhill well despite falling into one of several creek crossings near the bottom and botching my time. As a result I ended up just off the podium in 4th for that competition today!

With a healthy advantage, I caught the Duo leaders on the final climb but took a conservative approach on the final descent of Black Mountain and won the stage by about a minute. It was a relief to finally find some sort of resolution to the chain problems and ride my bike as planned. Hopefully tomorrow goes as well!


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