Stage 3 was the unofficial queen stage – 75km with the last 30km going up the biting 9 ramps of the Sameong hills. For Open A, we had the pleasure of a hastily added additional loop following the climb where we’d then descend the switchbacks and climb it from the other side giving us an additional 10km of pain.
the day started easy enough with the 1st 50km being flat and at an easy 40km average. Singha controlled the front and I had a hit off the front early to test the legs. Later we went again through boredom rather than for tactical reasons but Singha snuffed it out. Konstantin Fast was up the road and they were keen for CCN to do some work chasing.
the pace ramped up when we turned off for the hills. The Sameong loop is really 9 ramps which increase in intensity with the last one being a 3km beast with some sections at 20%. Rowdie and Mark stuck with the lead group until Pouly and CNN took off on the steeper stuff. I sat 30 seconds back in the next group.
on the steepest section of the final climb my Bont shoe boa gave out and I ended up with a floppy useless shoe – bit of a hinderance on 20% gradient!
The open group were then onto the extra loop – which consisted of a 3km descent on nasty 20% switchbacks. Mark Scoular earned some plaudits when he managed to pass Takai – Japanese national MTB champion – on the descent. The steepness of the switchbacks proved a problem for braking and Rowdies front wheel completely buckled and he was lucky not to go down. Even mybulletproof Enve’s deformed under the extreme heat.
Konstantin held on for the win with CCN taking 2nd and 3rd. Mark was our best placed rider – coming in 7th on a tough day.
My afternoon trip to fix the broken Bont Boa proved costlier than expected. No spare parts meant I “had” to get some new shoes and the wife also picked up a new bike. $1000 trip for what should have been a $20 part!
tomorrow is the mountain ITT. Not the best day to try new shoes but they’ll at least look good in the pictures!