Today’s stage climbed over one of the most spectacular points in the race: Wheeler Pass. Since I was out of GC after yesterday’s adventure into mid-stage bike repair, I took the opportunity to shoot some video footage of the race in action while we were on the pass. You will have to excuse a few mis-spoken words, errors in rider identification and other statistical data, as the extreme elevation had clearly influenced the oxygen levels in my skull.
The climb up Wheeler involves a solid 20 minutes of hike-a-bike, at about 12,000 feet. It is a stage for those who are determined to lay the smack down. At the end of the day, despite being one of the first ten riders who went off course for a few minutes, Colin Cares took the victory ahead of race leader Lico Ramirez in the men’s race. Sonya Looney remained in the lead of the open women’s event, battling back after a bit of a crash on the extremely bombed-out Wheeler Pass descent into Copper Mountain. This descent was in pretty rough shape, and even when it is in good shape, it is the real deal. There is definitely potential for bodily injury.
Tomorrow is the Gold Dust stage, which includes possibly the most fun section of single track in the entire race: the Flume trail. It’s like a water slide on your mountain bike, but better, because you don’t need sunscreen or have to land in a pool filled with chlorine and urine at the end.
Enjoy some video footage of the top of Wheeler – the view does not suck.