Thursday, June 9

Trans-Sylvania Epic '22: Stage 5

Ahhh... bless Stage Five's little heart.  Promoter Ryan has chosen to give us the gift of a short stage to end the week for the past few years.  It's a nice way to take the "pressure" off those of us just looking for a chip shot to the finish line.  Coming in at something close to eighteen miles as opposed to the thirty or so we used to do back in the day, I wasn't even worried about swapping out the well-worn brake pads I probably wasted coming down Tussey Ridge (with so-needs-replaced rotors).

Stage Four: Bald Eagle (18 miles, 2,000+ feet of climbing)

Right off the line and I'm in great company with Dan (third place SS) and in a group of people faster than my normal companions.  Dan kinda gaps me in the chunk gnar up Summit Trail and at some point (dammit) Young Worboy gets by me... again.  I'm just going to assume at the age of twenty, recovery isn't even a thing you have to think about.  I member at that age I could play tackle football, racquetball, lift weights, run, ride, wrestle, drink, and dance seven days a week, and my body felt absolutely nothing more than the occasional hangover.  At fifty plus?  Everyday is a baby step closer to ded.

photo cred: Bruce Buckley
I come up behind Libby and she's descending cautiously.  Unbeknownst to me, she went down and got broke off.  Dammit, Libby.  Sorry.

I get over to the Enduro™ side of things, and I'd totally forgotten just how steep and gnarly this is.  I member riding most of the steeps on my rigid bike... or do I?  I come up on SS GC leader Thad, and he's walking down...

I give him a quizzical look.

"I suck."

I think that's what he said.

He had a dejected appearance.  Did he break his bike (like he did last year on stage one)?  If so, did I just move into third overall?

Dammit.  I've just been given a reason to "try."  That's the thing about stage racing.  Anything can happen at any time that can change everything.  I spin my dick off on Decker Valley Rd, make the left turn to do the heinous climb back up Old 322, drool streaming down from my chin.  I'm mebbe a half mile up before I look over my shoulder and see a corn-fed figure in a leader's jersey behind me, standing up and making ground.

Dammit again.

Just like that, I went from an imaginary third overall back to fourth and not "trying" as Thad mashes potatoes past me.

Ryan did his best to pay tribute to the TSEs of old and routed us all over the Boy Scout Camp for a couple miles of meandering loam so desperately and constantly close to the finish line (as a crow flies).  I end up fifth... again... virtual but not really sixth in 50+... again...

To finish the week fourth place SS, seventh 50+ (but not really)... again.

But content to finish my tenth TSE in eleven outings, and honored to enter the newly formed TSE 500+ mile club. 
Obvs with the first few years being seven days and with some stouter mileage back in the day, I'm more like in the very exclusive 1,500+ mile club, but who's counting?

So that makes TSE year number 10.6.  Now what?

No comments: