Mountain Ultra 2013 Race Report - Stage Three

'The Bears' is 56km of tough mountain trails, a more than adequate warm up for tomorrow's 80km Aspen stage...

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Stage 3 – The Bears
‘The Bears’ is 56km of tough mountain trails, a more than adequate warm up for tomorrow’s 80km Aspen stage.
Competitors need to not only manage their energy for the day, but for tomorrow as well, this is stage racing at its toughest, cruellest and most exciting, only the toughest will survive.
The day starts with a shuttle to the start at Crystal Mill, once on their way the course starts to rise, and keeps on rising.  Switch backs that seem to go on forever finally gave way to some of the best downhill single track they have ever seen, it’s just a shame the weather took a turn for the worse.  We monitor the forecast each day, but due to the mountainous region it is very difficult to rely on.
When it says cloudy, showers, sunshine with slight chance of thunder you get the feeling the weather station is just covering all of its bases! None the less we had an alternate route in place should the weather really come down around us and boy did it do just that.  Beautiful 25°C sunshine turned in to 10°C with rain; at this altitude hyperthermia is a real risk, especially when you’ve been exerting yourself as hard as these guys, time for the alternate course to be put in to effect.
Our alternate course shortens the stage by 12km, getting the runners off the mountain much faster and back in to camp so they can warm up, prepare food and get ready for tomorrow.  Without this alternate course we were sure there would be weather related withdrawals, something we were trying to avoid.
Once again Simon came in 1st, but this time he was not alone, he had the company (as yesterday) of Jonas Christensen, but also a new arrival – Ryan Herzog.  With only a small time gap between the 3 of them this race at the top is heating up, even if the mountains are cooling down!  Camilla remains in the top spot for the ladies category, although yesterday Camilla found the stage very tough and needed ice treatment throughout the evening to try and get back in shape for tomorrow.  Mimi as always is getting stronger as the race progresses, she was a little tearful when crossing the finish line yesterday, it had been tough.
Roberto and Allan Leed are still putting in extremely solid performances, each day coming over the finish line looking strong and well managed.  The back 3 yesterday Alex Flynn, Hugh Glyn-Jones and Jasmine Pierce were all finding the stage very tough.  In all it took them just over 9 hours to complete, meaning not only that they were out there all that time but that they were out there in the worst of the weather.  A truly heroic performance.  Everyone was happy to be back down from the pass today, many war stories were being told whilst preparing food and tucking in to sleeping bags.  No doubt their dreams will be filled with thoughts of the mighty 80km they all face tomorrow.

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Will Roberts

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