Dirt Rag Magazine

Keith Bontrager after Stage 2 of the Trans-Sylvania Epic

By Keith Bontrager,

Two stages down – 5 to go.

From a fitness rehab point of view it’s been good. I’ve been getting in lots of hard miles.

Otherwise it’s been tough.

First, some of the highlights so far:

State College is a weirdly fun place. The downtown is small, and, well, very collegiate. But fun too.

The folks here at TSE are very cool. I’m in the cooks cabin, which seems appropriate, even though I am not cooking anything (unless you consider what I am doing to my legs and lungs cooking). But the food they are serving up each morning and evening is perfect for the situation – simple food, well prepared, with plenty of veg and carbs. No complaints.

I pre-rode the trails at Raystown lake Saturday. I’d heard good things about them but never ridden there. Well, now I have. Those are some very cool trials, lots of flow, not many rocks (I know! In PA!!), up and down constantly but not for long. If you’re in this neck of the woods it’s worth the time, especially if a magazine that shall remain unnamed is throwing a festival at the time. With beer. And music.

The rocks on the trail are beginning to look friendlier. Or at least not as evil. I wonder what people from here think when they come to ride in Santa Cruz. Nice trails. Kinda smooth though. Ho Hum…

I managed to clean a root section on the prologue with the event photographer right there. Good timing. Totally lucky line. It pays to be lucky sometimes.

The thunderstorms here are absolutely epic! Nuff said.

And, lastly, a list of things I’ve done so far that you might not want to duplicate:

Pre-riding a short Mike Kuhn designed prologue the day of the event (actually finishing 10 minutes before my start time) is not a good idea from a “good lap time” POV. I thought I could soft pedal the climb. As he said, it’s hard just to stand on that climb. Lesson learned.

Cresting a big fire road climb, putting your head down, and flying down the descent seemed so right in every way. And it was, with one exception. The course turned sharply to the left about the same point I put it in the big ring. It took a while to figure out the mistake, and a friendly guy with his dog set me straight. Then it took a long time to fix it.

More climbing. It’s good for me. Right?

Another long stage tomorrow.

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