Ice Ultra 2014 Race Report – Stage Three

The Lakes is an awesome stage! Designed to test the mind and spirit of the athletes as they cross the featureless Lakes, all 20k of them…

25th February, 2014

Stage 3 – The Lakes
The Lakes is an awesome stage! Designed to test the mind and spirit of the athletes as they cross the featureless Lakes, all 20k of them.
First thing we need to mention is competitor Maik Stugk, staggered in to CP1 and collapsed.  Our medic worked wonders with Maik, keeping him warm and checking vitals whilst waiting for the chopper to arrive.  Maik was then airlifted to the nearby hospital for treatment for suspect Hypothermia.  Well – they must make them tough in Austria as he was then back out and in Jokkmokk that very same evening!  I think this is partly due to Maik’s fitness, but also due to our medics amazing work at CP1.  Maik even contacted us to ask if he could come back out to the race, unfortunately we could not allow this on medical grounds, but the thought was obviously there.
As you start the lakes, all that lay ahead of you is km upon km of flat white ice covered in snow.  It would be a truly daunting prospect at any time in the race but when you have the long one tomorrow – the Sami, and we’ve thrown in the Red Jersey competition to boot it’s more than that, it’s an adventure in to the unknown!  It was so interesting to chat with the runners afterwards and find that there was a polarised opinion on the section, some saying they were great fun and that they loved the fact they felt they could handle the challenge, whilst others said they were just horrific!
The red Jersey Stage spanned from CP2 through 3 and 4 and the end, all in all a huge 20km lake of pain!  The first section of the stage was really cool with awesome single track routes undulating through a forest, there were so many twists and turns in this section, it was just awesome!  Ed Catmur (Super ed to us) came in first again, maintaining an 8kmph average throughout, even with snow shoes and CP stops.
But a special mention today for the middle of the pack and back of the pack athletes, after a very tough 1st day Dave Garner and Mark Golton are really going from strength to strength, you can almost see them realising they have what it takes, a joy for all of us to see.  Matt Dunn completed most of this stage with extreme pain in his Achilles, imagine – he has just complete 2 stages of this race, he gets injured and still works through the pain barrier to complete the already mentally challenging lakes section – amazing!
Then we have the ladies – Stephanie – looking really good at the front, managing herself extremely well, then there’s Sally – Sally looks completely unflustered by any challenge.  Seriously, if we said there was a 100km stage instead of a 40km stage tomorrow, everyone would have something to say, except Sally, we’re sure she would just “okay” and nail it!  Belinda completes every day with a smile, seriously – this is how you race, a smile and a spring in your step.  Then last but not least we have Camilla – going for her Grand Slam is wasn’t lost on us that she was not in her usual mind-set.  Camilla has attacked each of our previous 3 races as if winning was as certain as night follows day, but for some reason (it may have been her knee injury) her confidence was not as high.  Yet she still pushed on, sometimes with a smile, sometimes in tears – but always with that famous Danish Viking mentality.  Camilla came in last today at 20:30 completing the day on a high.
Cabins again today on a remote island at the centre of a huge frozen lake.  Tomorrow it’s the big one – the tension in camp is building.
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