OKay, the task ahead was to makeup a 7.5min deficit due to two flats yesterday. Keefer in his newly acquired yellow fever was going down. At least that was my hope. We parked by the river at the Woodstock parking lot, and headed out for prime Massenuten ridge riding. Fawley took the first sprint on the way up, and then we regrouped and started the time section. It began with a 15min gravel climb. Freshlegs Sam Koeber jumped at the start and the pack was willing to let him go, with Chinese Medicine Man Eric Williams pacing the peloton on his magic potion 96'er Giant Singlespeed. Towards the top I came around and caught Sam just as he was ducking into the singletrack. His freshness and 5" dualie definatly had an advantage over my hardtail. The crowd of rocks were large and ready to mosh. No real rythmn could be found but if you had some trails moves everything was fine.
I held on and came to the bottom about a minute behind Sam with Ralph hot on my tail. He finally had a day without a mechanical and rocked the rocks. Keefer down to about 4min. We regouped, looked at some funny graffiti, then moved on to the next section. With a power line shadow acting as the start, we took off. I got into the woods first and Sam again was hot on my tail. He bobbled on a log and then I bit the dust when I caught my bar on a tree. But up and ignoring the pain I managed to hold him off for a while longer. This proved to be the longest and most crushing of the mountain stages. Lots of crackers in the field by days in, but the last downhill was five miles of bliss. In the end I got back all but 54sec of the time I lost the day before.