Wednesday, June 9

TSE Stages 4-6 (holding #7 back to keep up the suspense)

After stage three was over I headed to the showers. I grabbed a beer on the way back to the bathroom and the gauze the medicine man gave me to scrub out my wounds. The scrubbing went well, the beer went better. I decided to drink more and scrub less.

I had lost a whopping amount of time to Greg and suffered yet another minor blood letting from Doug pushing his gap up to more than ten minutes. This is the first time I've actually been racing at a stage race, and it had officially sucked 50% of the fun out of the experience. The decision to handicap myself before the fourth stage was not taken lightly. I figured out my gap to Dave "Wrong Way" Cormier and had determined that he would have a hard time catching me (mostly because he spent so much time riding off course). Peter was still not a threat, and the girl was still being all girly with her gear swapping and outfit choosing. Doug was still catchable if he would just slow down, and Greg was just busy being Greg.

One of the best things about the Trans Sylvania was the late start times. It's a lot easier to shake off a slight hangover when the race doesn't begin until 11:00AM. Add in a delay so some elite athlete can go back to camp to get his shoes and I almost started feeling human again. The Raystown Lake stage promised to be a roller coaster ride for over 30 miles. It certainly started like a roller coaster with it's start going straight up a blacktop wall of a hill. Most of the top riders fought for position on the hill since passing was going to be tough, but I hung back and hung over.

Once we hit the trail I had a notion to go fuck with Doug and Greg. I rode pretty hard for quite awhile passing everybody between me and them while trying to save something special. Greg didn't know it was me when I caught up (it was pretty hard to look behind you and stay on the trail), so he moved over along with Doug when I came up on them. Once I made my move I gassed it for @5-10 minutes as hard as I could. I forced them to lift their pace and hold my wheel as I punched it on every turn and grooved for all I was worth as if the race was only going to last an hour (not three). Once all my matches were burnt I sat up and said "That's all I got", and I let them go by as they grumbled their humorous discontent with my shenanigans.

After being playful and then feeling dead I ended up getting lost along with Garth, Greg, and Doug (almost all being done exclusively and at the same point). Unbeknown to us Dave "Fourth Place" Cormier ended up getting by us while we were out seeing other parts of PA we didn't really need to see, and only Greg managed to catch him. It didn't help that Greg let Dave know we were ALL lost, as Dave's heart grew three sizes that day when he heard the news. He added a little something to the pedals from that point on, and Dave, who had a taken a wrong turn every day except this day, went on to snag the second place on the podium.

The fifth stage was going to be four mini XC races with a mostly downhill slant. In between the timed sections there would be some parade paced riding to get to the next stage. I enjoyed this stage immensely. There was a certain amount of pain associated with redlining it off the start line to get into the woods as high up in the rankings as possible, but I have to say it was certainly different. Certain elitist riders did not enjoy the stage at all:

Cycling Videos on CyclingDirt

Some did not enjoy the elitist rider at all, but most thought the stage was an absolute blast. There was a nice camaraderie amongst most of the racers that day. Not only did Jebediah Bisquick roll up on me and get all chatty, but Mark Wier even made an effort to quickly catch up on times since we last ran into each other at the 2007 Hell Ride. It was just that kinda day... fun social rides interspersed with intense asses and elbows racing for 10-17 minutes. The standings would not change though as Greg and Doug still ruled the roost, except for the final heat where Doug was worried he would pinch his dinky little CX tube he had to install after flatting on the third heat, and he let me by for my novel and insignificant second place (that didn't matter since Doug beat me 3 outta 4 times).

Doug was impressed to see that Greg remembered his shoes for the podium.

The sixth stage was going to be another doozy. We would get to ride in the Rothrock area where the 2005 SSWC took place. Rocks, rocks, and more rocks with plenty of ridgeline fun and nasty descents. Although I was feeling good at the start and took an early lead once we hit the first technical decent I pulled over and let Greg and Doug by. My Niner crabon frok and skinny load were no match for their squishy forks and fat asses. They left me in the dust as they crushed the rocky drop that headed off the side of the mountain. I did manage to get close to Doug after the first checkpoint and I let him know it, but Doug left me and gapped back up to Greg while I fumbled alone through the rock fields that make up the Tussey Mountain Trail. Once again they managed to put some time into me, and both of them managed to get another 4.5 minutes on me.

This was good news. All the single speeders had agreed that if none of the gaps were closed down amongst our field we would ride a celebratory ride on the final stage. Since I was the only one in shooting range of the person in front of me I was the only one who could fuck it up... well, I guess if Doug had a flat or a compound fracture that would have made things messy too. So with the race basically settled in our division we would ride stage seven together.

"Yes Greg, I do have a kung fu like grip... bitch. Why is Doug being creepy on the second place step now? Should we be worried?"


Once again all non-professional type images courtesy of Peter "My worst sponsor" Keiller.


dougyfresh said...


Peter Keiller said...

using stock images INSTEAD of el'photoshoppe...FAIL.

Big Bikes said...

Wow. I could teach that whiny-douche a thing or two about cylingdirt interviews. How about this: when you feel like you're about to start sounding like a whiny-douche — laugh nervously. It totally throws off the whiny-douche detector.

So glad I didn't say that on my blog, people might get mad at me.


Nathan said...

Yesterday you made the point of "Greg not being very "single speedy" wearing compression tights". Well you more than made up for it with your commando style.

Luis G. said...

Wow, that video made my day!!

Paavo said...

Novice...switchback...Alp d'huez...