Saturday 21st October 2017
START/FINISH: COLONIAL BREWERY
The legs will be heavy, the body tired and the fatigue starting to set in but today is the day to put that aside and get excited because it is time to hit Middle Earth! Just like Boranup, Middle Earth has received an upgrade for the 10th Anniversary of the Cape to Cape MTB with the best of the best being included. By the best of the best, we actually mean near on all of the Middle Earth trails making an appearance in Stage 3!
Vastly different in trail building style to the trails already ridden in the past two days, Middle Earth will have riders on their toes looking for the next feature as they flow and traverse through the rabbit warren of trails in the area. Normally a feature of Stage 4 at past Cape to Cape events only a small 5-6km section of Middle Earth has traditionally been used. But for 2017 the plan is to more than triple the amount of trails used through the area to make this truly one very special stage!
The stage may seem long but finishing at one of the best breweries in the South West of WA will be the best incentive to battle through to the end as Colonial will have their award winning beer on tap. Beginning with a 15km all out smash fest through forest, back roads and farm tracks will have everyone battling to find a group and get the pace going. The start will seem familiar to some as we use part of the normal stage 4 alignment then break out into some open roads to get everyone out to Middle Earth as quickly and directly as possible.
The fun and games start around the 20km mark when riders will enter Middle Earth heading straight into a Baptism of Fire before continuing on to Mirkwood and Sagon. With more trails in Middle Earth than our crafty Race Director knows what to do with, he thought that he best off to include them all other than three nasty pinch climbs (as JD really does hate climbing and could not see the fun in Burning Legs). Some of the included trails are Helm’s Deep, Frodo, Eagle’s Nest, Bilbo Baggins, Fangom Forest and The Creek. However, the most notable trail inclusion goes to Mordor which will test the ability of all. Appearing near the halfway point of the Middle Earth network riders will need to have their minds switched on to avoid snagging a “Gotchya” rock and becoming a pinball!
Everyone loves singletrack but don’t fret, there will be short respites of fire road throughout the Middle Earth alignment to grab some food on or if you are near the front of the race it may be your opportunity to make a move! Riders will exit Middle Earth and begin to make their way back to Colonial with the final 15km seeing riders follow parts of the 2016 stage 4 start alignment in reverse as they belt along fast double track and gravel road before facing one or two new pinch climbs that have been added before they hit the back gates of Colonial to finish.
Be sure to grab the best recovery drink possible, a carbohydrate dense cold beer from the good guys at Colonial Brewery! You will have well and truly earned it!
Much like Stage 2, the highlight of Stage 3 would have to be the vast expense of singletrack experienced in the Middle Earth area. Each rider will have their own personal favourite trail but the whole area is a highlight with the amazing mix of jumps, berms, rocks, drops and burnt out trees!
HISTORY OF STAGE 3
Much of the trail used in Stage 3 of 2017 has previously been used during Stage 4 of the event as riders would make their way up to Dunsborough. To celebrate year 10 of Cape to Cape we have gone for an overdose in Middle Earth, swapping out the normal 5-6km of trails we use through here to jam-pack in 20km of Middle Earth goodness with all the best trails included this year.
Feed Zone 1: The feed for Stage 3 will be held at approximately the 43km mark. This is the point where riders exit Middle Earth at Carbanup Road South. To reach this point handlers will be required to drive North on Bussell Highway until Churchview Winery (opposite Metricup Road) where they will turn right on to Gale Road and continue along before turning right on to Carbanup Road South. Parking will be on this road and the feed will be reached by foot.
It is again recommended that spectators access the same point as the Feed Zone for Stage 3 on Carbanup Road South. We request all cars to enter the area via Gale Rd and park along the north end of Carbanup Road South to avoid impact on the course. It is possible to walk in to Middle Earth from this point and view riders on singletrack if this is desired. Please be careful of riders on the course if you wish to do this.
Please see the Information Tent or follow our Facebook page for updated Spectator Locations.
MAPS AND ELEVATION