Dirt Rag Magazine

Another Keith Bontrager dispatch from Trans-Sylvania Epic

By Keith Bontrager,

Six down, one more to go.

The last stage starts in a few hours and I am about to start my morning routine. Yell at my iPhone for waking me up (I did that already!), Do the zombie walk down to breakfast. Eat some eggs and oatmeal while chatting with the other zombies (everyone’s a zombie except Jeremiah, Barry and the other speed demons – strange how that works…). The stage is on the short side and there’s a party planned for afterwards. Yahoo!

I rode the first big climb with Karen Brooks yesterday. We talked about things, as one does. The first topic was budgeting your energy in this race. Instead of slaughtering yourself on the climbs and recovering while you are flowing through the singletrack (which works, more or less, in a lot of other stage races), it’s wise to hold back here. Save some of your legs for the rock gardens. The slightly fiendish course designer often throws some “good PA singletrack” into the second half of the course. That, on paper, looks great. But the singletrack here is different. It takes a lot of power to ride it right. Rocks, and there are always rocks, require speed and big efforts to do right.

The second topic was the Amish. We are racing in Amish country and get to see a lot of farms in action. I’m not going to start a religious treatise (I’d be the least likely to pull that off), but in terms of off the grid living these folks do far better than the greenest of California greens. They grow their own food, work communally to get big jobs done, stay pretty much off our power grid, do not suck big oils tits, or AT&T’s, or Apple’s, and manage to look healthier than 99% of the population on the process. When the shit hits the fan (should it come to that) we’re all going to be figuring out how they do it.

I’ll admit that that’s a very simplistic overview (naïve?). I’ll also admit to growing a lot of my own food (envious?). And lastly I’ll admit to having Amish roots (?). I’m at least 3 generations away from the real deal though.

Lastly, I beat you in that sprint Sarah. You know I did. The photos will prove I am right…

See all our coverage from the Trans-Sylvania Epic here.

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