Tuesday, May 31, 2011

TSE - Day 3

TSE Day 3 – Gravel, gravel, gravel.

We rode a lot of gravel if you didn’t infer that by the title of today’s review. Our plan was to start slow and maintain a good pace then go faster if we could. Again, I was the weak link, but not as bad as yesterday. The heat is beating me down. I poured every third bottle of water on my head and neck to try and keep my temperature down. It helped a bunch. Bla.

What we saw today came straight out of an issue of National Geographic. Green everywhere. Solitude in the forest is what we witnessed as we climbed for a total of 5300’ in 49 miles. It was hard to imagine how some of the climbs kept going. We’d round a turn and think we were at the top but the next turn revealed more up. It seemed to never stop. Most of the climbs were along mountain streams. We also had quite a bit of shade (thank God). Some of the streams were misting upwards towards the road bed and you would occasionally get a cool treat from the water. The route took us through Coburn, PA and almost to Woodward, PA as well. We hit a fair amount of the Wilderness 101 routes beginning and end and also passed through an old rail tunnel that felt like Mother Nature’s air conditioning. It was a sweet 20 seconds of cool air.

I’m beat and my imagination sweat out of me somewhere on the course today.

We gained a little bit of time on the male duo team who is winning our class and getting all the daily swag.

We have four more days and tomorrow is supposed to be fun rolling man made “for biking” trails.
Hopefully it won’t be hot enough to melt my helmet to my head.

Peace. DJC

10.7 Avg
47.9 miles
Max speed 40

Monday, May 30, 2011

Trans Sylvania Epic - Day 2

TSE Day 2 - Welcome to PA’s finest.

Today hurt. 43 miles, aw shucks - that’s not so far! Well heck, I can ride that far at the drop of a hat... but not on rocky Pennsylvania single track. For those familiar with the rock garden near bottom of Pilot Rock Trail, Pisgah National Forest N.C., – take that and spread it out on 15-20 miles of single track. The rocks weren’t as big and loose as on Pilot, but they seemed constant. Most all of the trail was rideable but throw in the 90 degree heat, steep gravel climbs and 15 extra pounds around the midsection and you have a prime candidate for the sag wagon. Oh yeah, I’m teamed up with Cynthia T. Fowler. I didn’t realize that the “T” stands for tenacious and there was no pity party for me on the trail today. I wanted to stop several times but I was provoked by a cheerful voice that kept reminding me of earlier days, when I was actually in shape and actually prepared for a ride like this. She never let me stop. I am thankful for that. I went through almost 200 oz. of water. Did I mention it was hot? Near the end of the race I stopped in a stream, dropped to my knees and sunk my head in the crisp PA mountain water. That was awesome. The cool water seemed to block pain receptors and pity me thoughts for about five minutes. When I finally came to, we were winding on a sparsely rocked single track trail supposedly rolling us along to the last road section of the day. This last section was about 4 miles and it wound through a PA bog. What a beautiful sight. This trail is not very spectacular for a mountain bike trail but beautiful for walking, stopping and observing. The bog area was full of moss, downed trees and soft loamy soil. Water was rushing everywhere and out of its typical spillways due to the recent heavy rains. This part of the course was a pleasure to witness.
Overall, the day seems less evil the more time separates my memory from the pain. By tonight, I’ll have forgotten most of the pain and will be looking forward to tomorrows 40+ mile stage. Today was supposed to be the hardest day, so I look forward to not suffering as much tomorrow.

We did our best. The leaders had several hours on us but who cares. We finished and we’re still smiling and still planning on getting married eventually. All is well in our world.

From my bike computer:
44.26 miles
8.6 average speed
30.5 max speed
Now I know what it feels like to be the weakest link.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic -day 1.

Pre prologue. Tired. Heavy legs. Nervous. Why? Don’t know. What you scared of? Don’t know. Actually not much unless I’m nervous. Belly full of nerves. Here for fun. This isn’t fun. This is nerve racking. Soaking up all my energy. Instead of into the pedals it’s into my head. Want to be here until I’m here. Then it’s easy to be somewhere else in my mind, but not physically. I need to be here now. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. For me. For Cissy. It’s dangerous not to be here. I’ve checked out. Gotta check back in by 2:30, when the race starts. Then we have 1:30 minutes before Cissy and I start our prologue. I’m racing against nobody but my head. Basket case. I’ve raced 100’s of times. Nothing on the line. This is supposed to be relaxed and easy. I’m so nervous I almost wish I was working. Gotta break through this nervous energy before it consumes all my good calories and mental energy for the prologue. This is what we do. Why? I guess it’s what we know. I’ve raced in this area twice. The wilderness 101 goes through this area. We rode the prologue yesterday so it’s not like I don’t know what to expect. Beastie Boys just rolled on my mp3 thing. That helps a little, “cause I am most ill and I’m rhyming and stealin”. Feel energy turning. Turning into leadership. Gotta lead Cissy through this race. She looks up to me. Why? Sometimes I’m uncertain. But I do believe this is where I shine…on the bike. It’s where our relationship also shines. We work well as a team, now an opportunity to test it on unfamiliar ground. Let us shine. T69 minutes till race start. Peace.
Warm it up Dave. I’m about to.
A billion butterflies later and I’m back. No…I’m back! Thanks to the prayers and faith in what I am and what I’ve done in this life. Cissy and I both stepped it up. About two seconds after the starter said “go”, I forgot every bit of jittery BS that had been in my mind. What fun. The beginning of the course was newly cut single track around the seven mountains boy scout camp (race venue). This stuff is similar to a wet day in the Pisgah woods; slick roots, twisty and some rocks. We circled around then went out of the camp on some gravel, then to awesome fern forest single track, crested a mountain, descended through about 10 brazillion blueberry plants, back down the mountain, through a Pennsylvania bog and back to the start/finish. There was some sweet rocky single track and some fun descents. The best part was watching Cissy kick it through some swoopy, loamy, rocky single track. She kicked it up about 150% and rode so smooth I just had to yell “woman, yes!” to which she later responded “I couldn’t talk because I thought I was going to throw up the whole time”. Awesome!
We finished with a strong, all out team effort. Tomorrow is billed as the toughest day. 42 miles and some very rocky schtuff.
There were only a handful of “duo” racers so the promoter lumped the "all-male" teams and "coed" teams together under one “duo” category. We finished second behind some dudes from Mass. A lot can happen in six 28-47 miles days of racing. We plan on giving it our best.

TSE 2011 prologue
2nd place duo
1400 ft climbing