Archive for June 2015

The Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic Stages 5, 6 and 7

As promised, the final stages of TSE.

Stage 5 is R.B. Winter.  This stage involved 32.5 miles and 3,957' of climbing.

Just like last year, stage 5 brought nothing but pure excitement!  The course was loaded with singletrack.  Some rocky, some fast and flowy like.  We all shared in the joy!

Stage 6 Tussey is considered the "queen stage."  This stage was a nice 42 miles long with 4,883' of climbing.  Oh what a great day it was.

Stage 6 has it all.  My favorite, a section known as John Wert trail.

Photo cred David Pontzer MTBProject
Is that the trail you ask?  Answer... yes, it is.

Of course we can't leave out the view from Tussey.

Photo cred Devon Balet
No shots of us this year, but the photo above provides perfect insight into why you should do this race.  Enough said.  Actually I will say more at the end.

Stage 6 was a long day and left nothing but smiles on our face.  Here is Sandy and Jeff coming down off Tussey.  Yes, I am sad I could not find a photo of me.  Meh!

Photo cred A.E. Landes
Photo cred A.E. Landes
Stage 7 is Bald Eagle.  The final day.

The last day provided a somewhat shorter day with 28 miles and 2,455' of climbing.

The atmosphere on the last day is mixed.  Some people race hard... others not so much (including me).

Photo cred A.E. Landes
Jeff had smiles, so I think he enjoyed the day.  Jeff, you owe us because we plugged you twice in this one post.  Ha!

Photo cred A.E. Landes
Sandy, hmm... how can I put this...  In keeping with tradition, let's just say Sandy's last day was this............

Hope she does not mind me adding that bit in.  I may or may not have a nice weekend now.

Anyway, the end of the race week always wraps up with this...

And this...

Photo cred A.E. Landes
New friends made and old ones revisited.  Smiles all around!

As I mentioned earlier, you need to do this race.  2016 will see some big changes.  Looks to be a shorter race week and probably new race courses.  Five days is a long race week, but it is shorter than seven.  Also, the race may be starting on Saturday instead of Sunday.  A five day race starting on Saturday means you do not have to take as many days off from work.  Probably easier on the wallet as well.

Stop thinking about it and reserve a spot for 2016.  Read the Event Notes on the reservation page.  You will like what it tells ya.

Well that wraps up TSE.  Enjoy your weekend and stay cool!

Oh, and don't forget to ride your bike!  If you don't have one, get one!

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The Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic Stages 2, 3 and 4

Yes, yes, we know.  We are late to the show telling you more about TSE.  In the essence of time, we are gonna talk about stages 2, 3 and 4.  Three in one.  It's like a deal or something!

Stage 2 was Cooper's Gap.  Day 2 involved 37.5 miles and 5,892' of climbing. Typically the toughest day.

After an easy roll-out, the race was on!

Photo cred A.E. Landes
Yes that is Sandy waving in the middle there.

No sure why, but Cooper's Gap stage always seems to be the hottest day of the week and always tests our mental fortitude.  We held it together and rode well, but we did have a bit of a tussle at check point 1.  The memory is a bit faint, but the argument may have been about trying to fill up Sandy's Camelbak.  Evidently I could not hold it correctly in order for her to fill it up with water.  Whatever...

Stage 3 was Galbraith Enduro.  Enduro day!!!

Today consisted of five timed segments.  All downhill.  Some steep, some not as steep, but all loaded with rocks.  Riding to the start of each segment is not timed.  Overall we rode about 23 miles and climbed about 3,553'.

Stage 3 served as a "recovery" day and "practice" day for us.  What does this mean, you ask?  It serves as "recovery" allowing us to climb at leisure. 

Photo cred A.E. Landes
See the picture.... Sandy climbing at leisure... 

Neither of us bomb down steep technical hills, so we also use the day as "practice" for technical skills.  Focus was on getting down the timed segments using as much of the trail as possible to drive our speed rather than pedal.

Worked out well and we felt great at the finish.  Legs were not tired and no crashes!

Stage 4 was Coburn. 

Day four consisted of primarily gravel roads adding up to 46.5 miles with 4,396' of climbing.

The gravel roads were interconnected with singletrack and the days enduro segments.

Photo cred A.E. Landes

A couple of years ago this day was easy for us.  We do well on long climbs.  We are small people so that may be why.

Last year was another story.  It was long and brutal for us.  As you can imagine, we were slightly nervous about stage 4 only for that reason.  I know, silly and not an excuse.  We wasted a lot of energy worrying about it for nothing.  Zero issues for us this year.  What a nice change!

Tomorrow we will wrap up with stages 5, 6 and 7.  Promise!

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The Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic Stage 1

It has been a busy week getting settled back into abnormal life.  Normal life for us is riding our mountain bikes.  Everything else is well...abnormal.

Stage 1 of The Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic is the prologue and kicks things off with a time trial.  Stage 1 is about 15 miles with 1600' of climbing.

Profile courtesy of Purple Lizard Maps

A little anxiety always builds for the stage.  It is the beginning of the week, so it makes you nervous.  Plus, you don't start until 2:20 in the afternoon.  A later start gives you way too much time to think.  Extra thinking time creates extra nervous energy.

We were lucky enough to be the first ones out of the gate.  Other racers started after us at 30 second intervals.  We were unsure of how to race this year, so we stayed together for most of the stage.  The stage consisted of two Enduro™  segments.

Towards the end of the second Enduro™ segment we both agreed it was a good place for a crash... whatever.  I was running a new type of tire and not being 100% familiar with it, the dry and loose dirt washed my front out.  Sandy on the other hand decided the crash was not enough for her and she clipped a tree shearing off her front brake lever.

After we collected ourselves, she told me to continue on and try to save us some time.  Sandy quickly secured the brake with a hair band (all Macgyver like) and finished up the last bit of the Enduro™ and final third of the course.

Before ripped brake lever...

Photo cred A.E. Landes

Photo cred A.E. Landes
We finished up stage 1 a little down, but we were fine and the bike was repaired thanks to Freeze Thaw Cycles.

Report on stage 2 later.  Probably Monday.  Still getting back into the swing of things and headed to the mountains this weekend.

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