As I write this I sit in the river beside the venue icing the legs. The current is not strong but could easily wash me away I am so tired. Today’s stage 3 covering 63 km (40km for the short distance) was another tough day in the saddle, there will be riders out in the mountains for many more hours.
The route took the race straight into the hills from kilometre zero. No easy start today. 3 climb’s all about 300 metres of ascent over the first 25km. Then it was up Rysianka mountain again, a different route today but still 650 metres of height gain. We were treated to some amazing singletrack on the mountain, kilometres of beautiful root covered technical trail. Then the 700 metres descent, often steep in places. Then 2 more 300 metre climbs including a hill top finish.
My legs were really tired from yesterday’s effort’s, I woke this morning feeling like I’d not been to sleep. Fortunately the suffering was worthwhile with so many great trails to ride. I planned to attack on the Rysianka mountain descent and use the advantage to win the stage, this is how it worked out but was far from easy.
Torsten Mutzlitz was with me at the top of the Rysianka making me hurt on the steeper gradients. We had a gap of about 2 minutes to Ryan Sherlock at the top. By the bottom of the mountain Ryan had caught Torsten, I was in the distance speeding towards the finish. I say speeding but the sun was hot today, almost 30 degrees and the kilometres often slow going, I was getting a bit delirious by the finish!
The last climb was an absolute beast! I doubt many people outside the top 50 would have ridden it. The race was 6 kilometres longer than advertised, extra value for money!? Every one of the finishers deserves a big pat on the back. I happily took the win and extended my lead in the general classification. Ryan beat Torsten to 2nd by a minute. In the women’s race Laura Turpijn won, with Daniela Storch 2nd and Sandra Backman 3rd.
Only 1 day to go. Stage 4 covers 68 km and 2753 metres of ascent!