Tuesday, June 4

2013 Trans-Sylania Epic: Stages One and Two

Stage One... just a prologue... with it's own prologue.

We'll just skip over Saturday's trip in The Hub/Pisgah Tavern Sprinter and the road sodas that started at 10:58AM.  No one wants to hear about that mess.  Suffice to say, ten hours in a Sprinter next to a giant cooler of Oskar Blues does not end well.

Sunday was an individual time trial, advertised as eleven miles, and probably slightly more.  Not a make or break stage, but an early opportunity to measure one's penis and compare.  My start time was not until @ 2:55PM, so I had lots of time to kill.

photo cred: A.E. Landes/TSE

Talking to coach Mike Piazza back at the home office.  He said not to go hard in the paint that afternoon.

Some people were out pre-riding.  I don't believe in such nonsense.  I'd see enough of Central Pennsylvania in the coming week, so why see some of it twice?  Instead I decided to just hang out.  I was rewarded when Elk showed up with fresh pretzels from Philadelphia.

Fresh pretzels means beer.  Beer means go see Buck.  Buck joined me in a beer lunch, and whilst enjoying our moment together, a woman from Panama showed up with her XT crank in her hand.

photo cred: A.E. Landes/TSE
We got down to business.

photo cred: A.E. Landes/TSE

Craig Lebair looked on in interest and disgust.

It took another beer to work out the problem, but the person who had built her bike used a SRAM bottom bracket and SRAM fiddly bits with her XT crankset.  Why?  Who knows, but we spent the better part of two beers getting her bike back in working order.  Once done, she rewarded us...

with more beer.

But I needed to get to the business of racing, so I headed back to Eagle Lodge to prepare myself and polish off my earnings.

photo cred: A.E. Landes/TSE

Dressed and ready way too early and feeling slightly fuzzy, I headed over towards the start.  My traveling compatriots were returning from their pre-ride.  A sad faced Sonya Looney was dealing with some tire issues.  I returned to a supportive role.

photo cred: A.E. Landes/TSE

What was thought to be a leaky stem was indeed a torn sidewall.

photo cred: A.E. Landes/TSE

And that's how things go in Central PA.  Rocks can do a number on you at any minute.  Air compressor, new rubber, sweaty moments, and she was ready to rock.

By the time I actually started, I was feeling a bit weathered.  Dirt Rag's Eric McKeegan went off 30 seconds before me, and last year's winner Dejay Birtch was 30 seconds behind me.  I went into the first section of trail, a trail I had only ever ridden in the other direction totally covered in mud, with some trepidation.  This extra caution meant that just minutes into the race, Dejay was up my ass and right by me.

photo cred: A.E. Landes/TSE

At the same time, we could both see McKeegan up the road.  Following Dejay's wheel for as long as I could, we passed him and then I was dropped like a pack of lit Lady Fingers.

From that point on, it was just a matter of keeping an unfortunate three beer lunch down while trying to hammer it out for over an hour.  Not much happened that was terribly exciting except for a few ill-timed vurps, and I managed to eek out a fourth place just a couple minutes behind Dejay.

Stage Two: Rothrock Cooper's Gap @ 39 miles

I have done well for myself here before.  I woke up a little hazy, but semi-confident that I might at least finish behind Dax, Matt, and Dejay again.  Who knew what David Yacobelli or Tyler Welnak had up their sleeves or if McKeegan was going to fire a shot over my bow.

Early on, Dejay, Dax, and Matt were gone.  I was alone.  I don't know for how long, but upon coming into a left hander onto some singletrack, I saw Dax coming from the wrong way.  He had missed a turn and was just getting back on course.  I wanted to see if I could hold onto a chasing Dax's wheel, so I gunned it.  Moments later, we were on Dejay's ass.

I yelled some taunts about Mashing for Math VS Ride for Reading.  Dejay did not seem in a playful mood, and as soon as the first enduro section began, a fjorked Dejay and Dax dropped the crabon frocked Dick.

photo cred: A.E. Landes/TSE

They put a good gap on me, but the next time the trail went up, I lifted my pace and closed it down.  I passed a laboring Dejay.  I caught a donkey strong Dax, and at one point had him behind me.  Holy shit.

Dax and I regrouped and started working the singletrack together.  It was a blast.  He asked me how far down on Dejay I was and he insisted we work to get the time back.  Moto noises and passes were made on other riders until we hit the second enduro section where Dax made his way down the trail creamy smooth while I chundered away in the rocks.

The rest of the day, I dug deep, felt great, kept my head in the game...

 photo cred: A.E. Landes/TSE

 and came across the line hooting and hollering.

I squeaked one out and got on the podium, third on the day and third in the GC with an almost three minute lead on Dejay.

Didn't think I'd make it up there... now what?


Anonymous said...

You are my hero!

Big E said...

Way to go Dicky! Shoving yourself into the annuls of Epic history. Awesome!

BUCK said...

Where did you see ELK and his pretzels?

dicky said...

At Eagle... that's where all the good shit goes down.