Friday, June 10

Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic: Stage Four

Stage Four: R.B. Winter ~ 35.2 miles, 4,616 feet of climbing

I wake up a little hungover.  I blame no one but myself.  A little too much patting myself on the back for surviving Enduro™ day.  I don't mind so much tho, as this means things are back on track.  America is truly great again.

On the long drive over to the park, Dr Jones says there's a very small chance of rain later in the day.


Once again, I think I know how the stage starts.  Once again, I'm wrong (surprised?).  I gas it up the first climb expecting to dive into some tight single track right away.  We don't.  Time to tuck my brain back in my earholes. I try to hold my own when we finally hit the trail. I jockey for position and give way when needed.

Matt Spohn decided his days as a hand model would be over if he didn't keep his Endurble Approved suspension fjork mounted the rest of the week.

photo cred: Matt Spohn
We hit a long, paved section.  Mostly and very slightly downhill.  I get out-fatted and out-geared, losing many positions.  Axel blows by me.  Dan sits in with me for a skinny minute, but then he is gone as well.

And then we hit a two plus mile climb that goes on for close to 1,600 vertical feet.  I think of the classic line from Gattaca.

A little melodramatic, but I decide now is the time to "never save anything for the swim back."  I can see Axel and Dan in the distance.  I close it down to nothing and then breathe.  Then I go off as fast as I can for as long as I can.  I don't want any hitchhikers.  I take it all the way to the top.

Matt Green and Mike Montalbano duking it out somewhere towards the front of the race... I guess.  Never seen it for myself, so I suppose this is what it looks like.

I don't know when the rain started.  It's just a drizzle at first.  It feels nice.  Then steady to constant to incessant.  Not so nice anymore.  I push my glasses down my nose, and now I can only see about four feet in front of me.  Enough to go six miles an hour, but when the trail goes down, things get excite.

Stop at the aid station.  Grab a banana for the road.

Quickly discover that there is no "road," and enter a very uphill piece of singletrack while breathing through half of a banana.  Thooper.  Eventually choke it back and get back on with the rolling around in the woods in the rain thing.

I catch up to a rider slogging through some deep mud and rocks.  It's Matt Green.  He's had a bazillion flats and is currently riding one out, thunking around on rock and root.  We chat about our current predicaments, and then I leave him to his, knowing that I might get third now... unless someone offers him a tube, he takes it, and then proceeds to make great bike race.  I only have one tube, to that guy won't be me.

Getting to the fourth Endurble section of the day, I spend more time off the trail than on it.  I'm Sgt Schultz.  I see nothing.

But I run into everything.

Once I get on the long road back to the happy place, I turn the pedals over with all I got.

Life feels good again.  The sads from the first 2.75 days are forgotten.  I cross the line in third and very much ready to repeat last night's happy time celebrations.

Stop at the Elk Creek Cafe in Millheim on the way back.  Go to order a beer...

"First one is free to racers."


Try to order the Valley Nachos (house made chips, w/Poe Paddy Porter Beer cheese sauce, beef stew and jalapeños).

"Those are coming out for free as well.  Also, free fries."

Well, sheeeeeeeeeee-it.  We order salad, except for Dr Jones, who decides he doesn't want to rely on the plates of things coming our way for sustenance.  The others give up too easily on the bonus food, but I power my way through the "pile" as it came to be known and destroy the fries.  Mama didn't raise a quitter (when it comes to food).

Back at camp, recover from the "pile" session, head over for my (spoiler alert) only podium of the week.

Me, asking Montalbano how he feels about dick punches on the podium.

Matt, mistaking my lean-in as an act of affection, draws in closer to all the machismo on display.

Montalbano, realizing that podium dick punches are really a thing, uses his cat-like reflexes to throw up a block at the last minute. He's on top for a reason, I guess.

Grand finale on Monday and then additional thoughts until my brain runs out of things.


Anonymous said...

nice! anyone steal your bannana during the dick punch? what did you do with that bannana bud? how much single track vs road vs dirt road?

looks like a great race...

dicky said...

It's a really good mix of gravel, trail, dirt, and road. Just enough that when you get tired of one, you soon get another.

Anonymous said...

photo montage is man art.

Anonymous said...

Nice! them green shorts are bitchin...