Stage 3: Big move up

At the start of the day's stage three , Chris [Eatough] and I were two minutes down on the leaders,...

June 30, 2008

At the start of the day's stage three, Chris [Eatough] and I were two minutes down on the leaders, but we were in good spirits and motivated to take the lead. The day's stage was 82km long with four big climbs, two deep stream crossings and two aid stations. The heat would again play a role as the temps went well over 90 degrees [Fahrenheit], and many of the logging road climbs were very exposed due to clear cutting.

The big carrot of the day was a 10km section of very windy and technical singletrack filled with roots, logs and bridges with no place to pass.

Chris and I started strong, but about half way into the stage, Chris had a flat, and we dropped out of the breakaway group including Gary Fisher, La Ruta, Flight Centre and Cannondale Monavie. It didn't take long for Chris to change it, but we were dropped and had to fight back, leading a chase group of about six other teams who didn't seem too motivated to help us with the chase.

The pivotal moment came when Chris and I approached aid station two and saw the lead group refueling although the lead group didn't see us approaching. Chris and I both had full bottles so we blew through the aid station and took the leaders by surprise. The tactic worked as we held off the chasing teams up one final, punchy road climb before dropping into the singletrack that would take us to the finish line.

It was hard-fought and exhausted, but we are now leading the GC after we gained four minutes on team Kona and 10 minutes on the former leaders Team Cannondale Monavie.

On a lighter note, Poz (who is growing a moustache) and Jason also moved up in the GC, but found time for some fun on the trails finishing very strong. They started the day 44th overall [They finished in 38th - ed.]. Playing it conservative paid off as many teams were fried by the heat and climbs but the dopplegangers finished fast and furiously in the wildly-fun singletrack. True children at heart, they both fit right in at the local kid's water park for a cool-off.

Jeff Schalk
Trek / VW
[Transcribed by Jason Berry]

Trek / VW Team:
Jeff Schalk (USA), 34, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Chris Eatough (USA), 33, Oella, Maryland

GFK Racing Team:
Jason Berry (USA), 33, Arlington, Virginia
Jon Posner aka "Poz" (USA), 33, Catonsville, Maryland

Back to top