Monday, August 10, 2009

Stage 5- Fort and Olympic Ski Jump

89 km (55 miles) with 4066 meters (13,400 feet) of climbing

I wasn't feeling my very best when rolling out of Torre Pellice, but the race doctor gave me something to settle down my stomach again. Luckily, we had a 70 km transfer until the first special stage even started. We had 2 big climbs, and I was being really conservative, because I wanted to make sure I felt ok by the time we started the time trial. I can't really remember anything significant about this part except for that people at the checkpoints were asking if i was feeling ok: " Tutto Bene??"
The Race Doc following the Ironbike on his Dirtbike

The last climb was 1400 meters (4520 feet) of climbing, and we ended at this little restaurant (see below), where there was a checkpoint. I left the checkpoint with Hamish, one of the Brits.

From the checkpoint we had a long decent before finally reaching the Fort which was the beginning on our first special stage. Eric came up with the idea of bringing zip ties, so I stopped before clocking in with my chip and zip tied the petzel light I was carrying to my helmet. There were conflicting data on if we were going down 4000 or 8000 steps, but there were a lot. We started going through a few pitch black tunnels, and I got off my bike. Even with the light I couldn't see, and I didn't want to risk crashing.

Descending from the Fort

I was able to ride some of the first steep stair cases but it was very rough. My quads felt like they were going to cramp. Once the stair cases started making turns, I had to get off and run carrying my bike on one shoulder. Once you stop, it is almost impossible (at least for me) to get back on your bike. There were some really fun tight switch backs toward the bottom of the hill. i clocked out at 15:58. The Kobins were standing at the bottom of the hill. I think they were a little nervous....

After riding out of this checkpoint, we only had a couple of miles before the 2nd time-trial started. I was feeling pretty good. We had a fair amount of climbing, but for the most part it wasn't that steep. We followed a river and were going up and down without too many long climbs. I finished this stage in 1 hr 1 minute at the Olympic ski jump in Pragelato.

When we finished we each had the chance of riding up the ski-jump for bonus points. For each centimeter we got past the first white-line (see picture) we earned one bonus point. It was actually pretty fun, but hard. You can't quite tell how steep it is from the picture, but it is STEEP! Also, the fake grass covering the jump is super slick. Once you fell off the bike, a couple of guys had to catch you, and help you walk across the slick surface.
Eric making it past the white line..

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