OK folks: we have a race. After the usual comfortable run together at the front of the pack for the first couple of kilometres, Salvador "pressed on the gas". His assessment earlier that he was a much better technical runner than Stefano was borne out today in the slot canyon. Salvador broke away on a very steep, loose descent from the sandy double track to the entrance of the canyon. Cameraman Dave McMahon - a legendary descender in the trail running community around Ottawa - went with him. The Italians could not. Race over.
According to Dave it was classic scree running on the descent, with both he and Salvador flying down in giant bounds or moon hops. Once at the bottom Salvador pushed very hard through the slot canyon, often running on and skipping from wall to wall Matrix-style. He blazed through CP1, giving poor Dave barely time for a drink and a couple of electrolyte tablets before hammering on.
By the end of the last big climb at CP3, he had put over 30 minutes into Stefano and Davide, all but assuring him of the overall win. Felicidad, maestro!
On the women's side, it was still a 4-peron slugfest for the overall podium involving Sharon, Caroline, Sarah, and Heather. Caroline won the battle of the day again, clawing back 8 minutes from Sharon. However,this still left Sharon with enough of a lead to likely assure her the overall win after tomorrow's short (15km climb) final stage.
The day, however, undoubtedly belonged to Miranda. She also made her move in the slot canyon, setting such a pace that she actually dropped Jerry for the first time. I saw them both in the canyon, and Miranda asked me to tell Jerry to catch up. "I have some blue pills for him if he does." Not sure what those are...
I passed the message along to Jerry, but there was nobody going to catch Miranda today. Coming out of the last climb into CP3 she had passed all the women and most of the men, leaving the CP in 4th place overall. She would in fact arrive at the final CP while the Italians were still there, which lit a fire under their butts for the last run into the finish. When all was said and done, Miranda finished 4th overall, only 4 minutes behind 2nd place Stefano and almost 40 minutes ahead of Caroline.
It would appear that this is no flash-in-the-pan, but the birth of a new ultra running star. You heard it here first: Miranda Jamieson will win a stage race within the next 2 years.
FYI: Jerry continued his inspired running, coming in 6th on the day. Something about the Florida air, maybe...
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