We left via Station Flats, and everything was going great for about the first 45 minutes, which is when I did a bit of a superman down some rock-strewn single-track. My left side took a bit a beating, but I was able to keep going. No problem...only 6 and a bit hours to go.
I managed to pull myself together for Powderface, but after a bit of gravel, got introduced to real MTB climbing...instead of the usual 100-metre steep spin-up, it was an hour of so of pretty consistent switching-backing as we worked up Jumping Pound Ridge and Cox Hill. I blew to bits.
I eventually caught up to Bakke in time for the thunder, lightening, rain, and reaching the exposed mountain top. Nothing like a few 3-million-volt bolts of lightening to keep you from dilly-dallying. We made it to the descent without incident, and Bakke then got to put on a bit of descending school - when he was in sight, that is. But he waited at regular intervals, while I bumped, crashed and careened down the hill side in typical fashion. No other major injuries, but every little fall involved another body-shot, charlie horse, or corked calf, which was taking its toll!
Eventually we reach the bottom, at Dawson Creek, and had only 30 or so km of foot-deep mud to negotiate until we got on the Tom Snow double-track to get back to the car park. The others looked fresh and clean, I guess they'd had half an hour to kill while they'd waited. Took almost 7 hours on the nose.
As a little post-script, I continued the fine tradition of education-by-injury: turns out the canteloupe-sized rock I took to the kidney did a number on my obliques and/or psoas, which is worst when I try to sit up in bed...like I needed another reason to stay lying down!