Thursday, June 6

2013 Trans-Sylania Epic: Stages Five and Six

I woke up with a very unhappy knee.  It told me as much.

"I'm very unhappy."

Putting weight on it hurt, and I was walking funny... funnier than normal.

It was a sad, long ride in the back of The Hub/Pisgah Tavern Sprinter to RB Winter Park for Stage Five.  I dug into the cooler.  Amongst the unwanted Scottish Chubs, I found my saving grace.

I got dressed.  My knee didn't like the idea of putting on a sock.  It fought back.  I couldn't find my Tülbag.  I scrambled around the parking lot scabbing parts and tools from No Tubes Richie Rich, Karen Brooks, and Eric McKeegan.

And then I was solemn for awhile.

photo cred: A.E. Landes/TSE

So what better time for an interview...

As you can see, I was none too pleased with the situation which an unsupervised me had put me in.  My knee did not want to be a knee or do knee-like things today, and I was going to have to deal with it.

Stage Five: RB Winter State Park ~ @30 miles

I know how this stage starts from previous years.  Hammer up the hill and get to the single track quick.  I sorta did just that.  I figured out that if I pulled up on the bars an exxagerated amount on the right side, I could keep my knee from being too bendy.  It made for some awkward climbing, but at least I was riding.  I got into the singletrack melee and found my place in the world.

More single track, more rocks, and I quickly discovered that if a techincal section couldn't be conquered with one powerful stroke on the right crank, I was in trouble.  Awesome.  This situation will probably only happen like eleventy thousand times in the next few hours.

 photo cred: A.E. Landes/TSE

Thanks to the slightly rolling roads, punchy trail climbs, and very demanding (steeeeeeeeeep) descents, I was back and forth in traffic all day long.  I finally found myself going back and forth with Andrea Wilson and Sonya Looney until I hit a big enough climb to put some space between us and get some much needed alone time.  I finished up, ate some pizza, reflected on the day, and found out that Dejay (along with the front ladies) got way lost.  I was fourth on the day, and now fourth overall.

BTW:  RB Winter, although I don't fare well on the long road sections, is still one of my favorite stages.  The steepest, gnarliest descent of the week... one that is so unsustainable and stupid, it just gives me a semi.  'Nuff said.

Stage Six: Rothrock Tussey Mountain ~ 38 miles  The Queen Stage

  photo cred: A.E. Landes/TSE

Another start, another fuzzy headed morning.

My knee was still unhappy.  Whatever.  The more I rode, the better it felt, so riding is good for it (in my medical opinion).

We started on the other side of Highway 322 on some flat-ass road.  Not only was I off the back, I was riding at a talking pace with Dejay.  He'd gotten lost enough the day before to stop giving a shit and was not in a hurry to be anywhere.  Once we got going in an upwards direction, I decided to do my best to get to the good stuff ASAP.

I really, really like the lower technical trails of the day.  Lotsa challenges and rock fields... and a rattlesnake.

No shit.

Right on the trail.  I called time-out.  I stopped the riders behind me.  A chasing Vicky Barclay rolled up, and she joined our snake watch.  Finally the snake got out of the way, Vicky led me out for a ways, stumbled, and then I just hammered away at the rocks like a prisoner in stripes and leg irons.

photo cred: A.E. Landes/TSE

More trail to go before hitting Tussey Ridge meant more rocks.  I so love the rocks in PA... can't get over my desire to defeat them.

photo cred: A.E. Landes/TSE

None of those said rocks are in any of these photos.  Somehow Abe managed to be everywhere the rocks weren't.

Once I hit Tussey Ridge, I got excited.  I love this trail... errrrrr, loved this trail.  For some reason, it felt longer, hotter, and harder this year.  I also started getting crazy homesick.  Strange.  Never felt that way at a stage race before.  Lost in my mind, Dejay passed me and caught up to David Yacobelli who was unknowingly right ahead of me.  Doh.  Down the descent off the backside of Tussey, all I could think about was calling home.

photo cred: A.E. Landes/TSE

Unfortunately I was still miles from my phone.  I blew through the last aid station.  Shortly thereafter, I realized I had no water left.  Then I started to cry.

Yes, cry.

I missed home something awful.  I started to fantasize that The Pie had used her wily ways to somehow make the nine hour drive to be at the finish.  This fantasy drove me all the way to the finish sans beverage.

She was not there.  I went straight through the finish, grabbed some cold water, and headed for my cell phone back at camp.  I called The Pie.  No answer, so I grabbed a shower and a beer and then waited for a call back.

She called, we talked, I calmed down.  Maybe I do have "feels" after all.

More beer, late night watching stars with Buck, and then one more day to go.


TheMutt said...

Modus Hoperandi...mmmmmm.

You gots good taste.

Anonymous said...

Crying?! WTF?

Need to get the sand out your vag!

Karen said...

That ridge brought out the emotions in everybody. I was cursing like a sober sailor once I realized I'd missed the first enduro swipey thingie.