Judith Mole reports from Spain
Today’s task was a more technical task than yesterday – 67km via five turnpoints. A couple of the leaders yesterday had crossed the goal line and then carried on free flying for an hour, so a longer task suited their desire for airtime.
Forecast was for a front to come in and high cloud to appear in the afternoon. This seemed to indicate that we should race through the ‘easy’ section of the task in the Áger valley and then slow down in the flatlands to make goal.
The task was start at the east end of the ridge, out to Áger train station, then back to Corca at the west end of the ridge, a crossing to Castell del Mur, a big traverse of the flats to Oliana and then another ridge crossing to goal at the lake.
The tricky part was the transition across the flatlands. The first part of the task gave lots of tactical options using either the valley, lower or higher ridge. At race start, Laurie Genovese, Nicole McLearn, Arianne Kuenzli and I were in a great position (my position was so great I jumped the start and scored bomb-out points for the day, but that’s another story).
We were ahead of most and we took the first turnpoint and turned back to see a perfect cloud street form along the valley all the way to the next turn point. You couldn’t wish for better. Laurie, Nicole and I picked a bad line and had to dash back to the terrain to get back up, while Arianne surfed along the working side of the clouds and got half way to the turnpoint very high.
To make a long story short, Laurie, Domenica and I bombed, while 30m from me Nicole scraped an epic low save to get back on track and eventually get to goal.
It was a bad day for many who were in the top ten yesterday, and the tricky part of the course did for many. Six did make it to goal, with winner Yuki Sato, being followed closely by fellow Japanese Yayoi Ito. Arianne Kuenzli was third and fourth was goal virgin Catherine Bartoldi. What a day to make your first ever goal!
The top ten have completely changed overnight. Now consistency will determine the comp winner, but at the moment, it’s anyone’s game.
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