Sunday, June 29, 2008

Stage Two

Distance: approx 125km
Start Time: 9am
Start Line: Lake Cowichan
Aid Station 1 Distance: approx 49km
Aid Station 2 Distance: approx 95km
Finish Line: Port Alberni Multiplex
Base Camp: Port Alberni Multiplex @ 3737 Roger St

Route: Cowichan Lake District - Port Alberni

They always said, “Read the fine print,” and here’s one of those cases. Some of you may have noticed that little asterisk at the bottom of the route descriptions that says “*Stage and Route details subject to change.” Well this is one of those cases. Day 2 has seen some significant changes and it’s kind of a "good news - bad news" story. The bad news is that the stage is longer, yup longer at over 125 km. The good news is the massive 700m climb in the second half of the stage is gone. Trail access issues have forced us to reroute the stage. New description below.

Hopefully you'll wake up well rested without too many aches or pains from the first day and perhaps your introduction to multi-day stage racing. This is the longest day of the week, boasting a 125km ride from Lake Cowichan to Port Alberni. Use the controlled start of about 11km to spin out the legs from yesterday's riding.

Racing starts when the pavement ends just outside Honeymoon Bay. There's a short 120m climb out of town but it's generally a fast, mostly downhill run to Aid Station 1. Strategy may suggest passing this station by since you're upon it so quickly, but remember to check in with staff to confirm your positioning.

Continue descending after Aid Staion 1 to the lowest point of the day along the Nitnat River. You'll be riding the main route out to the Carmanah Walbran Park, described as one of the most remarkable wild places on Vancouver Island. Unfortunately we won’t be visiting the park today but plan to come back and you won’t be disappointed. After the Nitnat River spend the next 20km generally climbing, but gradually so. The profile looks jagged but close attention to the elevation profile will reveal this is a mostly flat day. Turn right on to the Bamfield Main route bypassing the tiny community of Bamfield. Bamfield, nestled on the south shore of Barkley Sound, is the closest community to the North end of the world famous West Coast Trail.

Rolling terrain leads to Aid Station 2. You may encounter the occasional vehicle so caution is suggested when going around blind corners and we recommend you stay on the right hand side of the road.

Continue north until a three way intersection feeds you onto the same tail end as last year. You’ll climb slightly and then descend into singletrack in the Roger’s Creek Trail system.

The final 2km will feature some great singletrack—icing on the cake after eating up all the day's gravel roads.

Check out how Curvy Butt and I did on today's stage (clicky, clicky)

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