Thursday, June 2, 2011
Trans-Sylvania Epic Stage Five. First Mechanical. First blood.
The elevation profile was similar for each stage. Start going uphill, jump into single track, descend. Seems easy enough. The format doesn't particularly suit me because when I stop riding my body tends to quickly jump into recovery mode and doesn't wanna go again. Fortunately everyone is pretty tired so that part wasn't really an issue today.
We staged in a wide field in a single row (moto-cross style) for the first stage. It didn't seem right to be sprinting into the singletrack on a stage race - but we all did. We bounced along the rocky climb then on some soft power-sapping mulch type surface then down some awful, rocky, wet descent. Some rode, some hiked, some flatted, some crashed. I manged to hang on and ride it out, but flatted somewhere along the line and decided it would be faster to run it out then fix the flat. So I ran the bike thru the flat muddy section to the finish.
Having fixed the flat before riding to the next section I was ready to go again. The second stage was much like the first. This time I was extra cautious and I didn't flat but I did drop my front wheel into some huge hole and went over the handlebars, cutting my knee and getting some blood on my bike.
After an aid stage pause, we made our way to stage 3. Things went a bit better. The rocks were mostly spaced apart a bit so I just kinda bounced a long, but at least I felt like I was in control again. I gained back a little bit of time I lost on the first 2 stages.
There was a long neutral ride (by an angry rattle snake) to the final segment. It was kinda nice to just be cruising along in the woods on a very nice day with a bunch of other beat-up MTB'ers for a while. The pace made an abrupt change when the starter said go and we had to sprint up a hill to dive into the single track. I got a good start, but got in a bad spot on the singletrack entry bottleneck. I hammered/bounced along the 2 mile segment until I came to the rocky water fall descent. Things didn't go bad, but I got trapped behind someone and lost a little time. It was very difficult to pass after this, so I didn't get a chance to make up much more time before the finish.
I ended up 6th on the day, still 4th in GC.
Tomorrow is a 38 mile stage with a brief hike-a-bike then some real MTB trails.
See you on the trails!