Transylvania Epic – Stage 2

Today’s stage was the demandingly brutal east coast “epic” of a stage that I was anticipating.  On top of that, the heat was on.  We started off with a 2 mile warm-up on flat gravel road and then turned on to the first climb which was a two mile technical single track climb that made me wish I had put on the easier gear.  It was a good 20 minutes of 15 rpm climbing up rocks, roots, and over downed trees.  I was pinned at 4 mph!

At the top, the trail went down quickly through some technical sections that opened up into a 40+ mph ripping descent that put me in that “focus or possibly die” state of mind that I wrote about last week.  That part was a lot of fun and made me want more!

The second climb started and I rode the whole climb with Rich Dillen (Dicky) who had finished yesterday in 3rd and who had pulled away from me on the first climb as I silently envied his gear selection! We rode the entire climb together before turning onto the second descent where I pulled away a bit.  At this point, I was feeling good and riding within my limits.  I was looking forward to a solid 4 hr effort and enjoying the technical trails that were still ahead.

Somewhere around the 20 mile mark, I began to cramp.  It happened pretty quickly and I was not able to do anything to remedy it.  I pushed on but wasn’t able to put the energy into the pedals that I wanted to without my legs seizing up.  I kept moving and kept pounding water and endurolytes, but nothing changed.  Shortly after that, Doug and Dicky caught up with me and we ended up riding together quite a bit for the remainder of the race.

With around 10 miles to go, I had to dismount and was unable to get back on the bike.  My legs were locked and would not bend.  Even my fingers/toes were cramping and I’m guessing I looked something like this guy when I moved.  I stood there for a few minutes while Dicky passed me and tried to massage my legs muscles into relaxing just enough to bend my legs and get back underway.

Once I finally did get back on the bike, I pushed as hard as I could and tried to produce the power needed to be efficient through the technical stuff and really tried to stay off the brakes at all costs.  In the end, I was able to regain 2nd place on the stage, but wasn’t able to reel in Doug who took the stage win.

After the dust settled, I finished the day in 2nd place and dropped to 2nd in the SS class.  Right now, I’m :45 behind Doug and about 1:15 ahead of Dicky.  It’s tight!!!!

The best part of the day was also the worst part of the day.  Even though I was destroying my legs trying to ride through the cramping, I also got to spend a good bit of time riding with my competition, who are both great riders and super fun to race with.  The respect is there and the attitudes are not.  These are the people I like to race with!

Here’s a few pics from the rather strange Boy Scout camp where we’re staying….

Cheers

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~ by ketchumgreg on May 31, 2010.

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