The plan was to hold a solid pace through the next aid station and work the next small climb. We stuck with the plan, but for the first time all week, neither Mike or I had a lot of "zing" in our legs. I was dragging myself over the course to the first Aid station. The trail and surrounding scenery seemed to all blend to together. I felt as if I was barely awake.
After trudging along through the middle miles, we hit Aid Station 2. We get the news that we are only 2min behind... I am thinking "Great. Maybe we can close a bit over the last 3miles and maintain our overall lead."
As we came through the finish chute, we are actually berated by the announcer. "Well, the Flag Boys couldn't hold on and they lost the lead... The Boys from Bend really put it on them today".. and so on. Ouch!!.. not sure that was called for, but I guess it was true.
We finished in 2hrs 53min 55sec. Team Bend finished in 2hrs 47min 3sec. Last year's winning time was 3hrs 7min 4sec.
The next few hours were undoubtedly the lowest point of the race. We lost the lead. We were tired. Oh yeah, and it's only Day 3. I was starting to make excuses and become resigned to the fact that we may have to settle for 2nd place.
After a few hours of sulking, a few "things" happened at camp that sparked the competitive fires. By the time the Stage 3 ceremonies were over, I was literally on fire... I wanted to race.. now!.. After digging ourselves out from that emotional low, Mike and I now found ourselves with a new, fiery edge. We were ready to compete again. Bring on Day 4!!!