Stage Five Whiteswan Lake to Nipika 107.5km 1285m. We never did see Whiteswan Lake. It was supposed to be outstanding but the 3k walk from the camp was a bit much for us… We spent yesterday afternoon lying in a creek cooling off our legs or lying in the RV snoozing and we were out of there at 8am sharp. The race started at 8am every day. This is the best shot of the scenery I could muster.
Here is the description of the first 49km of stage five from the official route book:
0 – 49 km beginning in Whiteswan, the race follows scenic Forest Service Road on cliffs above the White River, before turning up the North White FSR part of a long gradual accent for the first half of the day.
This was a totally buff gravel road where packs formed and we all had our heads down bleeding out our eyeballs going as fast as we could so as not to get dropped off the pack. I missed the scenic bit unless you can describe Dave’s rear end as such. One guy once dared to push me off his wheel and was set straight verbally, quickly and clearly by yours truly. Mojo was a rare commodity on this 49 km section.
I felt it for these two guys, Rich and Josh – Team Bad Idea Racing. Those studs did the entire race on rigid singlespeeds and must have been totally spunnered out silly on that road. My rear chafes at the thought. I stole this pic from Dicky’s blog.
After 49km the course turned up and a bit more interesting. Dave stopped to take a leak and I spun up the road ahead. We were having rare wee break from the hammer and some relief that road part was finished. Team Cannondale/LandRover caught us snoozing and came storming by looking strong – woops! I hopped in behind them and enjoyed a few minutes watching them ride and their teamwork. They were working nicely together although using different team strategies that we did. Then I passed them on a steep techy climb they flubbed on and Dave caught back up to me on the following descent.
Next up was the biggest and deepest river crossing of the race. It wasn’t really a big deal but took us long enough to get over that Cannondale/LandRover caught back up to us. Over the river was a checkpoint/aid station. Trish hammered through while Sam stopped to fill up their bottles. Both Dave and I stopped. It was a beautiful quiet backcountry spot beside the river. I filled up my bottle and slammed it back into the cage succeeding to rip the cage right off my bike! My first reaction was to scream F**k… everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at me…uughh… I even embarrassed myself. Trish was up the road and I was purty agitated. Dave calmly got out the tools and switched a cage from his bike to mine while I hoped about going crazy. He is too cool!!!
Back on the bikes we went into chase mode. There was one 450m climb between us and the finish line and we knew that was our best chance to get them. Halfway up the climb we got close enough to get a visual on them and passed them shortly after. Same routine – pinned it to the finish line in Nipika to take the win by 4 minutes. We had to fight for that one today.
About an hour after we finished the heavens opened and poured down on everybody. The ground turned to slop and made finishing that much harder for the racers further down the field. We lay in our RV listening to the rain congratulating ourselves for not being in a tent. Diner that night at Nipika was the best of the race. Steamed salmon, spinach salad, steak, stir fry, veggie burgers – huge choice. I ate a ton – which would haunt me the next morning.