An inauspicious beginning to the 4th stage. I felt well recovered despite sleeping on damp ground and tossing with bike dreams all night. We rode incredible single track to CP #1 at 15k, then another climbing slogfest to CP#2. Dennis's back gave out on the steep climbs, so I grabbed his bike, and pushed. And pushed and pushed, until he was able to ride again. No shame in it, this was the purpose of the the team of two. I knew I was going to have some hard days ahead where I would likely be whining and teary, so for now, I was content to be the one pushing, without the pain. While he lagged behind, frustrated and cranky, I took a few seconds and marveled at the soaring golden eagles and the huge landscape in which we plodded along. The peaks gave way to the endless valleys, filled with cow shit, mud from hoards of cows, and mud rivers. Cattle country they warned us last night. Stomping along in it, sliding down hill in it, losing my favourite Oakleys in it and up to my shins in the sticky brown stuff for hours now, I wondered whether at a certain point, cowshit acts as chain lube. 15k of it, it took us over 2 hours to hike a bit, ride a bit before we hit the dry trail again, in 4th place again, exhausted and disappointed, but ready to settle down at Anchor D ranch. Having been mired in shit all day, we were more than disappointed to roll into camp and find the tents all perched neatly on piles of wet cow shit, Cattle country indeed. The long day finished with marble sized hailstones, pelting us as we stripped for the showers, then denting the shower truck as we giggled inside.We were finally warm, somewhat clean, our bellies growling for dinner (justifiably with Alberta beef on the menu!) and we were ready another shot at the podium after a good nights sleep.