Transylvania Epic – Stages 5 & 6

Didn’t get to write an update last evening ‘cuz I had a better offer that consisted of dinner with my parents at a restaurant serving food somewhat better than what we’ve been eating all week here at the Scout Camp.

Anyway, yesterday’s stage was innovative & unique compared to anything I’ve seen.  We drove out to the “remote” start location (I remembered my shoes this time!) and started the day with a casual 40 minute group ride to the start of the first of four “mini-XC” spring races that would be thrown into the group ride atmosphere of the day.  The mini-XC portions were approximately 10 minutes in length and consisted of a mass start, followed by a couple of minutes of climbing on a dirt road for the ‘hole shot’ onto super technical single track consisting of boulder fields as far as as the eye could see.  Basically, we sprinted up the road to be first onto a single track that resembled a dry streambed.

The casual group ride interruptions (mini-XC’s) were a fury of legs spinning and heavy breathing with elbows out and ‘full gas’ through the boulder fields.  Bodies were flying, gun shots were heard (we think they were actually tires popping), and blood was shed (but not too much).  All in all, this stage was one of my favorites.  At the end of the day, the standings were largely the same as they were going in.

Today we had another “remote” start at a place called Whipple Dam.  The stage started with what I thought was a really long neutral rollout.  I asked another rider how long the neutral rollout started, and they informed me that the front group was pulling away because we were now racing and were no longer ‘rolling neutral’.  At that moment, I picked up the pace because Doug and Dicky were in that front group that was now a couple of minutes away.  The fire road gradually increased in steepness and I was able to reconnect with them.  My plan was to sit back and see if they were going to attack each other since they were only 9 minutes apart in the overall.  Really, I didn’t want to get caught up in the mix.  I just wanted to watch Doug and Dicky attack the snot out of each other!  Evidently it had worked before as you can see here.

We reached the top of the first climb at around mile 9 and dove onto a super steep, rocky, technical single track descent that required full tilt focus and a bit of luck to keep from dabbing or, better yet, launching over the handlebars.  I navigated the minefield of cranium sized rocks successfully and kept rolling.

The course consisted of some of the finest trails we’ve seen yet and I really enjoyed the technical log crossings and boulder fields that were the dominating characteristics of the day.  I rode the second half of the course with Doug and was happy that he wasn’t trying to attack, because I wasn’t feeling like trying to chase, nor did I want to cross the finish line with snot hanging out of my nose!

Tomorrow is the last stage and all of the SS racers have decided to ride together in celebration of a great week of racing.  I’m looking forward to spending more time riding with my fellow single speeders and not turning myself inside out trying to be in front of them!  I might even carry the beers for the ride.

Cheers

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~ by ketchumgreg on June 4, 2010.

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