Irvinebank to Mt Mulligan: 105km, 1200m climbing
While the Subaru-MarathonMTB.com Team were divided overnight between hotels and under canvas, we were united on our plan for the day. We hoped to get Justin into a break, whether it was before the rougher section at km21, or after, the race would have to dictate. It was a gamble, as getting caught may mean getting shelled out of the group on the next acceleration.
We rolled out of town along the same route we had taken yesterday, and at about 10km in the break went, with Justin Morris, Kevin Hulsmans, Brad Davies and Christoph Sokoll. Distinguished company. But by the more technical rough terrain about 10km later, all were brought back, and the bunch had splintered. Mike and Graeme had popped off the back of the chase, and were in small unorganised groups. In general, the rougher terrain suited all three Subaru-MarathonMTB.com riders, but luck didn´t favour us. Justin broke his seat post, twice. Mike had a small crash into a hole, and bent his seat and bruised his shoulder. As well as having a yard sale of the contents of his jersey pockets.
Mike and Justin did some bike surgery at Depot 1, managing to get a new seat and post into Justin’s bike. A huge thankyou to Ollie from Ashfield Cycles for the lend of the seat post! And thanks to the support staff for lending a hammer and large tent peg to shatter the remains of the post into oblivion to make room for the replacement. A lot of time was lost, but we forged a good group with Huub Duyn, Sokoll and his team mate Josef Benedseder. All riders had suffered problems, and were keen to make it to the finish and minimise losses on GC. It was a huge swap off session for the next 60km or more, over the corrugations and rolling dirt roads.
Thankfully, Graeme stayed upright and trouble free, finishing inside the top 10. He is also leading the Master 1 category, and the Subaru-MarathonMTB.com Team are leading the Teams classification. We are halfway through the days of the 2011 Croc Trophy at the moment, and coming into the Queen Stage tomorrow, with 189km planned. Bikes are being repaired, legs are up, SIS Recovery formula is being consumed, and it´s not even raining. This camping is fit for a princess!
Mt Mulligan is pretty remote, and Justin has little option to live up to his new nickname ´Princess´ that he has been given within the Croc Trophy. There are no hotels nearby.
Graeme came in 7th, maintaining his lead in the Masters 1 category. That means Graeme and Justin are about the same on GC, in 9th and 10th overall. Mike slipped back to 19th – but the lead of the Teams Classification remains.