Heading into stage 3 I was 55 seconds down on AJ and around 30 seconds ahead of Ben Henderson who was sitting in third. Stage 3 was a 50km race and started out with mostly 4wd track. This changed as the race went on to include some pretty sweet single track.
For some reason getting ready for a race seems to take a little bit longer when you also need to think about a couple of school students and so we managed to arrive at the race start with less than 5 minutes to go!
From the start the pace was a little more controlled when compared to stage 1 and so we had a bigger group of riders together for longer. There was a lot less getting off the bike during this stage and the average speed was much higher. At the half point drink station there must have been around 6 or 7 of us still together and one of the local NT riders took the charge as other riders slowed to grab bottles. I manged to sneak past after a couple of kms while the NT local forced a little gap to form before Ben Randal got past and started to chase. I was torn between riding with Ben and working with him on the fireroads or the idea of trying to stay ahead. I decided to go alone and started doing the maths to work out how long to the finish. I started to enjoy the second part of this stage, it was fun to ride fast on it and most corners I was hitting a little to fast meaning I often ended up unclipping as the bike drifted out too far. When we got closer to civilization I thought the end must be near and started to put the power down, I was really unimpressed when I got to the 2km to go sign when I was sure the race finish should be approaching! Coming across the line I was keen to check the time split to see if I managed to grab the yellow jeresy for stage 4. AJ came in about 4 minutes behind me giving me a handy 3 minutes for the 98km stage tomorrow. Did I go to hard today? Only time will tell! My goal heading into this race was to secure 3rd place, Im stoked to have a yellow souvenir to take home.