After the success of day 1, and a very carb'y meal, day 2 of the Cape to Cape comes with an ominous weather forecast as it is meant to rain from 7am all the way through until the race is going to finish. Thankfully the weather stays fine and is instead a beautiful day, but despite my best efforts in trying to arrive at the start line early, at 7.10am I find myself stuck in traffic a little over 1km from the entrance to Mr Barval Winery, where today's stage will start and finish. When it reaches 7.40am, 5 minutes before the race briefing, and I still haven't reached the entrance I decide enough is enough and park on the side of the road, as so many people have started doing at this point.
After gearing up and reaching the start line just in time for said race briefing, I have a couple of minutes in which to take a photo and chat to the riders around me. The atmosphere is once again excitable as everyone is ready and rearing to go at the Cape to Cape's longest stage, in Boranup forest.
While I'm initially quite happy with my performance within the "light blue" dot pack, after a few kms I realise my legs might not be quite as fresh as I thought they were and it's not the time to push it, so I slow down slightly to a more comfortable pace I could ride at all day. Clearly although my seeding was good, it might have been just a little too optimistic, though having said that, once I've fully warmed up I do find myself making a fair amount of overtakes on the steep technical climbs which are definitely my jam.
Today's stage is brought to you by: sand. Just about every time I was enjoying a nice descent, or even some decent momentum on the flat, cue the sand. At the very least it was taking away my hard earned momentum, but on many an occasion it was also risking significant stacks as I saw many a good rider take a fall in this deceptively soft surface. Lets just say I made quite a few quick gear changes and miraculous recoveries, only stacking it once, ironically, as I tried to get *back* on my bike after stopping in the bog.
Some riders were not so lucky, and I had the unfortunate experience of watching a rider only 30m or so in front of me completely flip their bike over a sandy water bar. As is the good spirited nature of these racers, two other riders stopped to check the rider was okay while I moved their bike off the track and directed traffic around the commotion. Thankfully they seemed to survived without serious injury, but it was good to see everyone out here is looking each other.
It seemed like only a few more kms down the trail and I could make out the event centre through a fence as we traversed the perimeter of the winery where it all began. Coming in at just under 2h 30m felt pretty great until I checked the leaderboard where today's effort placed me at 230th out of 681. Not quite as good as my first stage, but at 211th overall I'm still going okay- definitely well enough to complete my goal of the whole 4 stages in less than 12 hours total!
So after celebratory beverage and dumplings at the finish line its back into Margaret River for a much needed bath and a relaxing afternoon, all in preparation for stage 3 tomorrow.