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  • Rory

TAR stages 3 and 4

Okay, I'm actually struggling now to remember stage 3. Yesterday (stage 4) left such an impression.

Stage 3 The forecast was bad for this day so we had a later than planned start from St Anton, 9am instead of 7am. Turns out the weather suited us just fine: a wee bit dreich but not cold. There were clouds and it was overcast for much of the day but it didn't spoil the views which were again spectacular. After the first hill Tim and I were accosted by a cameraman for a short interview (same happened on day 1) which made the cut for the stage video https://youtu.be/pfCjoI6IzpQ I think we're about 3mins 30secs in. The stage finished in Landeck and with about 7km to go we had noticed there was a German team and another UK team from Kendal around us that are in the same masters category. I said to Tim that I was not racing this one in for the sake of one place in the rankings. Still a long way to go, not even half way. Anyway, that went to shit and we ended up in a ding dong with these teams as we approached the finish. It turned out to be really good fun and we all crossed the line with whoops and congratulations! Stage 4 This stage should have its own movie style intro. It was massive. 46km, 2895m ascent. A beautiful day which saw us heading up, through and beyond the clouds, looking back down as they covered the landscape like a duck-down duvet, the alpine peaks poking through and we pushed on to the top following the route of a popular ski piste. 3 aid stages punctuated the route today. 2 at the top of the highest points. Aid stations are well stocked with sweet and savoury so plenty to suit your preference. I went for a top up of water and some watermelon while Tim grabbed a burger with chips. Joking. He grabbed some cake and coke, I think! The course then took us down a little before some traversing and crossing over a few colls. It was tough going and what we initially anticipated might work well in our favoure kind of didn't, really. I wasn't having a particularly good day from the start: fatigued, mentally weak and a bit of an unsettled stomach. Tim really motivated and kept us both going today. The stunning vistas continued, the landscape changing, taking us through grassy alpine fields, river crossings and boulders, passing by high alpine pools and some boggy trails. A long descent, at times very steep, eventually led us to the final aid station of the day and the dreaded 6km trot along the "flat". This went on for longer then anyone wanted. By now the sun was blazing and we were led into tar and road, through villages and finally along a trail. We still couldn't see the finish. Eventually it appeared, approximately 1.7km after the last 1km sign. I turned the air blue on that final approach. We are in Switzerland. Today is a short "sprint" 7km up a mountain. This is our rest day! X


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