Bearded Man gets bogged down in the quagmire on day 2 of Crank the Shield. Part 3 in our 4 part special following the Bearded Man around Crank the Shield.
Day 2: Camp Kandalore to Camp White Pine 76km 1,031m climbing.
The chief route designer made it very clear that today’s challenge would be amplified by the previous rains. Like yesterday, the hard work would be done in the early stages. The start was 3km from the camp and so half an hour before the official start time there were long streams of riders making their way to the Pine Springs Road start point. This road was hailed to be the boggiest road ever and some of the riders would be travelling at less than 5km an hour to get to the first feed station which was at 15km.
We were relieved, as it wasn’t as tough as we were expecting, with nice portions of riding between the quagmires. Again, the bogs created havoc for some riders and a few swims were unintentionally taken early on in the stage. Between feed station one and feed station two, it was the toughest part of the day with lots of hike a bike sections, predominately to avoid thick gloppy mud and ponds of water with no clear line to ride through. The only respite was the change in the terrain which now included large boulders which helped with traction and kept the ponds rideable with more rock underneath. The most difficult elements of these trails are that they are shared with ATVs, which create massive ruts on the trails, making it very difficult to judge the best lines through the pools of water.
Approaching one pond, we noticed a group of ATV riders all with big bellies and beards giving directions to the riders about the best lines to take. The cynical amongst the riders weren’t sure whether to take the completely contrary line to that suggested, however the advice proved very reliable. I guess the fact that they were laughing the whole time meant it was difficult to judge their intentions.
After refuelling at feed station 2 having not had water for the last hour (my own fault!) we were presented with probably the only medium length technical descent of the day. I would compare it to something like Jetlag on Skyline in Afan forest (although this had no switch backs). After the descent we were all of a sudden spat out onto Duck Lake Road which is a tar road and we were on it for almost 17km, which was a godsend. There were no flats though and so we were either going up or down.
With about 3km to go we were back onto ATV terrain and I finally crossed the finish line at Camp White Pine in 5 hours 14 minutes, again not having much luck with my rear gears and dealing with interesting brake stick.
Both of the camps have been summer camps which are well suited for accommodating large groups. Camp White Pine is more luxurious than Camp Kandalore, although there was something nice about the ruggedness of a wooden hut on the lake side with no electricity and a couple of bunk beds.
The weather today was dry with rain coming only after the vast majority of the riders had finished, which given how wet and muddy everyone was, probably didn’t matter too much. Again we were treated to good food and beer whilst listening to a few of the stories from various riders of their day’s adventure before resting our heads for the final days riding.
Best time of the day: DerekZandstra & TysonWagler (team) 3RoxRacing 3:37:49:34