If there's one thing I remember from the last 2 stage races I've done, it's that day 3 is the worst. With all the fatigue from the first 2 days, and possibly one too many celebratory beers, it feel substantially slower to warm up on day 3 than the previous 2. Also today is the longest stage, at least in duration, at 47km of mostly single-track. Today's stage starts and finishes at the Limeburners Distillery on the outskirts of Margaret River township.
Before starting the race, I realised my front tyre was not spinning as freely as it should so I decided to get it checked out by the good people at Dr Bikes. Thankfully it was just a slight friction from the relatively new front brake pads, but they were able to adjust them and improve the situation substantially.
I once again seed myself at the very back of the "light blue" dot pack and within a few kms I have all but lost the rest of the pack I started with. I don't feel myself warming up nearly as quickly as yesterday, and I start to realise why people do warm up laps before a race.
Unfortunately by the time I get into the first real single-track descent I find myself with a bunch of riders who consistently go slower than I would like to be riding. Due to the limited chances to overtake, I'm stuck with this for much of the race, which as well as being less fun makes the riding more physically taxing than if I were able to ride at my chosen pace.
I will say however that about 3/4 of the way through the race there was a section of single-track with proper downhill sized berms and jumps, which I was lucky enough to have entirely to myself. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have the odd near miss from a less than ideal line choice, but overall I managed a no stack day while taking real speed over some serious single-track.
After suspecting there was something wrong with my rear tyre for most of the ride, I became 100% sure in the last quarter that my tyre pressure was too low. It was actively slowing me down on gradual descents and had a tendency to slide out at the first opportunity, but the dead giveaway was really the drag on the smooth dirt road as I headed towards the finish line.
Once I got over the line, I immediately checked the pressure and found I had about 15psi in my front tyre and closer to 10 in the rear, which I quickly rectified. So despite riding nearly 47km of single-track on flat tyres, I came in with a reasonable time of 2:47:31 putting me at 61st place in my category. This makes me 237th overall, which is a slight slip backwards from the previous 2 stages but still sitting in the top third of riders and well on track to finish the full 4 stages in under 12 hours total.