Saturday, June 4, 2011

TSE - Day 7, the final day

TSE Day 7 – the final day

“I think we worked perty well together”, a quote straight from Cissy. Yeah. We finished. We’re bad. Oh yeah! 7 days! We made it. What an accomplishment. I feel great and I don’t want it to end. It was painful during the entire process but now I want it to continue. I want to have to wake early in the AM and hop on the bike on my sore arse and ride 40+ miles of difficult trails and spend 4 hours suffering. I want to do it again. What in my genetic make up makes me crave such suffering. Why do I enjoy punishing myself? What aspect of suffering gives me pleasure? Don’t know. Uncertain. I do know that I’m in Pennsylvania and they sell beer from the bar in 6 packs and 12 packs and I have a 12 pack of Pennsylvania brewed Yuengling sitting here beside me that probably won’t make it through the night (well at least 6 of them). I just returned from the bar (beer store) with said 12 pack which is extremely celebratory and now my wonderful woman is cooking macaroni and cheese from scratch in a camper after riding 7 days in a stage race and what could be better? You tell me and I’d say you are wrong. This is what I live my life for and I’m currently knee deep and enjoying it and here I am…. Smiling and happy and don’t want it to end. I see yoga poses out of the corner of my eyes, smell macaroni and cheese in my nostrils, hear rain on the camper roof, feel food and beer in my belly, feel pain in my quads, feel 7 days of racing just under my belt and I need nothing else.
All is good.



Official finisher of the 2011 Trans Sylvania Mountain Bike Stage Race co-ed duo team.

26.47 miles
30.5 max speed
2:46 time
9.5 avg

we're done

Friday, June 3, 2011

TSE Day 6

TSE Day 6

It was actually cold this morning as opposed to the 93 degree heat on Monday. The race start began about 4 miles from the race headquarters base camp. All racers left the base camp and did a slow ride to the start.
The race director said “go” and we went. Cissy and I stayed on the wheels of our only competitors for the first hour and twenty minutes then they pulled away from us on a long downhill. We saw them at the end of the race. Only one of them had taken off their helmet, so we weren’t far behind. Actually, we were only 10 minutes behind…so not too shabby!

The trails today were mostly rocks and some rocks and then a few more rocks. After the first trail of rocks, there were more rocks. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention the rocks? The rocks were rideable though and it took fierce concentration to navigate the smoothest line.

We started on a gravel road and quickly entered a forest service road which evolved into double track then single track and finally hike a bike. The hike a bike was not too long and we were rewarded with a beautiful overgrown single track descent in which your front wheel had to part its way through the blueberry bushes covering the path. All you could see was a narrow strip of dirt so you just hoped that there was not a big rock or downed tree that the person in front of you just happened to miss and leave there for you to hit. After the narrow path through the blueberries, the trail turned into an old double track road that descended for about 3 miles. This part of the trail had a creek running through it for a while so by the end, we were wet and muddy. From here we pedaled gravel roads, hard pack and some more single track.

The day ended with a grunt up a wet, sloppy section of single track and a quick descent to the finish.

Overall, Cissy and I put forth a huge effort today. We were both “on” all day long. We worked it like we know how to do. When I was tiring, she’d pull up and take the lead, then I’d return the favor. We both agreed that the four hours plus in the saddle today seemed to go by quicker than any of the previous days. We put forth a huge team effort and were rewarded with knowing that we gave it our all, and worked well as a team. Cissy stepped it up through the last rock section and over a beautiful ridge on Tussey Mountain. Once again, she was riding with a new set of skills that she’s been keeping in her back pocket for a while. It hurt to stay with her on that ridge but I did, and we finished.

One more day.

39 miles
30.5 max
9.2 avg

Thursday, June 2, 2011

TSE - Day 5

TSE - Day 5

Today was four short xc style races formatted in a rolling ride. All racers rolled out of the staging area at a slow pace until we got to the start then each group raced a short race to the next finish. After all the racers finished, we rode together to the next start and did it all again. Four little races in one large rolling group. Total miles were only 28 or so. It was a very relaxed stage and most of the lead riders sorta took it easy. Since the individual races were so short, most leaders didn't have to worry about losing much time in the overall standings. It was a fun format.

Cissy and i did our best in the rocky terrain, passing a lot of people who obviously don't ride Pisgah or Pennsylvania often enough to scurry over the rocks quickly. Cissy saw a huge rattlesnake on the side of the gravel road in between two race stages. We started and finished at R. B. Winter State Park. It seemed like a nice place. Lake, beach, pavilions, camping sites etc.

Not much more to say other than our legs are tired and only 2 days remaining in the race. Tomorrow will be another long day in PA. We should see some good views as we will be riding a ridge line trail for quite a ways.


28 ish miles.
top speed ?
avg ?
legs: tired
belly: bloated
eyes: heavy

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

TSE day 4

TSE Hump Day – Day 4.

It was day 4 of 7 today so only 3 stages remaining. Once again, as predicted, we gained on our sole competitors. Our course today consisted of Tsali like trails mostly on contour following the edge of Raystown Lake. We had two twenty ish mile laps to complete. Today we gained 6500’ in 42 miles. Yesterday we gained less but it hurt more because the climbs were continuous. Today we had 42 miles of fun rolling-dip-grade, side hill bench cut, machine made trails much similar in fashion to the trails at Dupont State Forest and that worn out place known as Tsali. This course made us smile. We laughed and had a lot of fun.

The race started with a controlled start from a paved road at lakes edge. We had to pedal about ½ mile up an 8-10% grade then into the single track. Cissy and I started a little too hard and had to back up off of it for just a tad. We shortly got into a good rhythm and started to gain on who ever we saw ahead of us. There was only one aid station today and it was located at mile 9 of the course. On our second lap just as we were approaching the aid station, I noticed the leading team in our class just up ahead of us. I was psyched. I had been telling Cissy that we were gaining on them since the second day. Finally, what I had been whining about came to fruition – our competitors wearing thin and in our sites. The aid station had tape set up to guide our path into the open field that was now a bike race aid station. When our competitors saw us they switched out some empty water bottles for some full ones and kept on. We did the same. Now we were right on their tails with 13 miles of race remaining. I thought since we had caught up to them that they were worn out, but they were evidently discounting us. Needless to say they picked up the pace. We could see them in the opposite side of the coves on the trail, just a little ahead of us then their gap kept growing. Finally they were out of sight, but not out of mind. Cissy got up to my wheel and I told her we were going to have to grunt out every hill in order to catch them. “Just look at the ground and pedal. Don’t think about nothing else except pedaling as hard as you can”, I told her. We employed that specific idea and cranked as hard as we could. I was a little sad that our competitors had gotten out of sight but I did not give up. In a race this close anything could happen. If they had a wreck or any mechanical snafu, we would catch and pass them. Not that we would wish misfortune on any team, because we wouldn’t, but we just wanted to catch them.

We kept pedaling, madly. Cissy is a stronger climber than me and she would catch me on the climbs, so I was letting it go on the downhills. We kept at it and suddenly up through the woods I caught a slight glimpse of our competitor's orange kits. I told Cissy to stay on my wheel no matter how hard. We sneaked up behind them and caught our breaths just enough to make our move. They had not noticed that we had caught back up so when I passed the first guy he yelled to his partner “I’m not behind you any more Andy, you gotta pick it up”. There I was positioned between both riders with Cissy behind the first place team’s second rider. Now it was Adam, Me, Adam’s partner then Cissy. At this point we had about 1 mile of course remaining. The four of us were flying, cranking for all we were worth. I was hoping for one more really steep long climb but from here on out it was a pure power move to get to the finish line. Adam was hurting but we were determined. Our frantic foursome approached some stray riders who obviously heard us working hard and just moved out of the way to let this freight train roll by. It was like we were creating a breeze that surprised and made each person we passed lean back away from the trail with an expression showing amazement and excitement for a close race.

Cissy and I held with them as long as we could. In this race, there is a 30 second rule. As applied to the duo team category, it means that you can never be 30 seconds away from your partner. While I was cranking and keeping our competitors team split up, I was also yelling to Cissy to see if she could pass but the guy behind me was just too fresh and we had to let em go.
They beat us by 22 seconds.

We will be at the starting line again tomorrow and I will not give up.

I forgot to put my computer on the bike this am so these stats are from Cissy’s ride.
42 miles
31.5 max
6300’ climbing
Avg 10.1 ish