Friday, May 30, 2014

TSEpic Stage 6: The day I smiled for 60 minutes without stopping

Before today’s stage got started, I was cranky and tired. And I probably stayed that way for the first hour or two of the race. 

Today had everything. We went for a road ride, a hike, a 6 mile climb to hell, and then…

…wait for it.


Okay, before we got to today’s first east coast rocks segment, I wasn’t super stoked about the stage, but I knew that there was some really great stuff coming because everyone had told me that I’d really like this stage. 

This time, they did not lie.

Me getting passed by Mike Kuhn and Dr. Todd (I think)
after just eating something on a road section
photo courtesy of Dr. Todd (I think)
After the first checkpoint (which followed the six mile climb and then a ridiculous fire road descent complete with water bars conveniently distributed in just the right places to make you slow the F down), I saw the start of the east coast rocks segment.

My heart went all a flutter with joy. 

I’d been riding with my Eagle Lodge pal, Alan, and he let me check into the segment ahead of him. He thought he’d follow my lines and learn my New England secrets. He was sorely disappointed because I went completely ape-shit and time-trialed the living crap out of that section.

That’s when the smiling started.

And then it kept going because not long after that segment (and after a little bit of road) we hit even more fun singletrack (with even more rocks). I was in my element and completely delighted. 

Despite the sections of road that linked everything together today, I was really pleased with this stage.

Tussey Ridge heckle pit
photo stolen from TSEpic FB page
The highlight was the climb up to Tussey Ridge, which gave way to the second east coast rocks segment. While Stage 1’s segment felt a little bit like a joke (no rocks to speak of), Tussey Ridge was no joke. At one point, I went through some sort of a heckle pit where a guy in a hammock said something like, “the only thing harder than that is getting out of this hammock,” and by “that” he meant the absolutely stupid pile of rocks I was riding over.

Those were just awesome trails today.  The view from Tussey Ridge (while I was going all out to race it) was spectacular – views on both sides. 

I hate to do any complaining about today’s stage, but the last few miles deserve their moment in the spotlight. We climbed some road, and then we climbed some steep singletrack, and then we climbed some road, and then we climbed some god-awful backwoods bramble covered cow paths at mile 40.3 or something to bring us through the finish around mile 40.85 (and there I was thinking I only had a mile to go back at mile 39). 

But today was the best. 

I came back to the lodge to call AAA (a phone call that took 20 minutes and had me transferred 4 times and left me completely pissed off), and the car got unlocked. 

Then I drank some “recovery beverages” with the crew upstairs until about 45 minutes before dinner. 

Tomorrow’s stage looks to be a whole lot of fun and not a whole lot of racing. There’s just one, really long east coast rocks segment left, and I intend to race that part. The rest of the stage will be spent partaking in shenanigans and enjoying the ride. 

Today’s results . . .

9th in the stage (keeping me 9th in the GC), 7th in enduro (5th in GC), and 2nd in east coast rocks (unsure how that played out overall because I didn’t see results posted).

Tomorrow’s post may be delayed as I am anticipating some intense “recovery” going on throughout the day. But stay tuned all the same.

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