Tuesday, June 7

Trans-Sylvania Epic '22: Stage 4

Stage Four: Tussey Ridge (36 miles, 3,200+ feet of climbing)

To be honest, at this point, I can't remember which night DirtWireTV Thom showed up at Upper Eagle as we were about to go to bed or Buck showed up with the trail marking crew when we were about to go to bed or...

I think there was one night that we went to bed at a reasonable hour though.  Pretty sure it was not the night before Tussey Ridge.  They'd been forecasting rain for Stage Four all week, and it didn't seem like it was going to disappoint.  Like any good boy scout, I put on my liquid umbrella the night before.

Wow... did my legs hurt when I woke up.  Did I mention that I went back to my standard TSE gear of 32 X 19 after Stage Two was over?  Did I mention that I've been wondering if 53 year old me should be pushing the same gear that 41 year old me thought was a good idea?  Did I mention that I tried to separate what I was doing out here from my "ego" after the second day because it's all about fun at this point? 

Well, consider it all mentioned now.

At least it wasn't raining at the start.  Nobody likes to stand around while cats and dogs bounce off their helmets.  

This start never goes well for me.  There's so much gradual pavement and garvel that I just can't help but fall back in the field pretty much as far back as I'll ever see all week.

So by the time we get to the loop around Colyer Lake, I'll need to pack my patience.  They said there would be new bridges where we had backups at two creek crossings last year.  I swear they said that.  

But then I found myself standing behind Dan on a narrow path walled in by waist high weeds.  I couldn't even see the front of the line.

"I bet there's no bridge," I mutter to Dan.

"THERE'S MORE THAN ONE WAY TO CROSS THE CREEK," I yell pointlessly at the backs of so many helmets.

The line doesn't move.

Screw this.

I jump into the weeds and start going around the line of people.  Dan follows, dare I say semi-reluctantly.  I don't think we're breaking any rules... I mean ethically there might be a problem, but anything enforceable?

We get to the crossing and see that everyone is waiting their turn to cross over some stepping stones at... a... very... gingerly... pace.  ZOMG.

I look down to the right of the stones and it looks like it could be anywhere between two to three and a half feet deep or mebbe over my head.  Well, after going around all these people, it would be the asshole thing to do to NOT do exactly what you were screaming about thirty seconds ago...

So I jump in.  Not bad.  Balls deep mebbe.  Dan follows.  Mike Worboy give us a stiff arm as we try to get by him and his dry feet and a "hey, hey, hey," but whatever.  I got shit to do before the rain starts affecting my day (and vision).

Oh yeah, I forgot that when it's gonna rain, I only put water in one bottle so I can rinse off my glasses if need be.  I didn't do that.  Wonder how that will pan out?

Around Colyer Lake, gravel over to John Wert and the ill-shaped, fuck-face rocks begin.  I always "enjoy " this part of the challenge, the constant struggle to move forward, and this time it's enhanced with the addition of moisture.  I just want to get it over with before any real rain comes, and I'll admit I found great delight in the fact that some of the trail had been heavily reworked, giving an occasional break from the need to focus.  Before I knew it, I was at Three Bridges and then out to Bear Meadows Rd...

And then the bottom fell outta the sky.


While I do revel in total shit conditions (I'm fueled by the misery of others, don't you know), I'm not looking forward to doing Tussey Ridge with limited vision.  Mebbe something will reverse my luck, considering that I didn't bring a bottle with water in it to rinse my lenses.


I roll through the last aid station with the rain still coming down hard like a hippo jumping out of a lake.  Up into Tussey and mebbe ten minutes in, someone turns the faucet off.  Hmmm...

Now my glasses are schmutzed.  The lack of rain has brought the humidity levels up enough that my glasses fog up if I move them up my nose, and if I'm looking over them, I can only see about seven feet ahead of my front wheel.  Not optimal on Tussey... and every few minutes, the soaked peak on my tiny hat keeps flopping down and taking away that inch a a half window to the world that I'm looking out of.  

Of course that's when the younger Worboy passes me.  Meh.  If I never get this vision thing back, I'm gonna lose a lot of time today.  Had it stopped raining right before the aid station, I coulda rinsed off the lenses with their water, and the hydrophobic coating probably woulda done its job. 

I fumble my way across Tussey, tag my nut on the stem in the process, get to the Enduro™ segment, feel my way down to the bottom, finally get back to the garvel, hike up that never enjoyable Stovefield Trail, more garvel to the long paved climb back to camp...

Slipped back to fifth on the day and "finishing up" to a virtual sixth place in the 50+... so there's that.

Still stuck in fourth place overall in single speed like it's my job or something.

No comments: