By Karen Brooks
It’s the fourth day of the Trans-Sylvania Epic – humpday. Some of us have made it this far, but broken frames and broken dreams abound. A stomach virus has been creeping its way through the peloton, taking out contenders like Karen Potter, who was leading the women’s field until it got her. Our own Josh got it on Monday night and couldn’t start Tuesday. So far I seem to be lucky.
Yesterday’s stage was a long, mostly fire-road journey through some lovely forest. Forty-seven miles of gravel sounds kinda like hell to me, and it was a scorching 93 degrees, but most of the mileage was under cover of friendly trees, next to a lovely river and going through picturesque settled areas. (Sadly, Josh was looking forward to the gravel, being a Dirty Kanza aficionado.)
The top of the last climb revealed a gorgeous view, including a peek at the bridge we had crossed just before starting to veer up, and just after the famous tunnel that graces the logo of the race. That tunnel was something else – a blast of cool and dark that was like jumping into a lake.
I was fortunate to ride alongside someone for much of the time, a woman named Kaarin Tae who came all the way with her husband from Nova Scotia. She rides with the Bicycles Plus club there. They had been taken out on Sunday night by the virus, but were continuing to ride just for the fun of it. It helped make the route more pleasant to get to chat. Kaarin also took these photos, playing “tourist” since she was no longer racing. (Lucky for me as she is faster.)
Gotta give major props to the volunteers. They handed us cold drinks, cold washcloths, and were smiling all the time.
A few of the top contenders went astray early on and had to chase back to the front – we saw Barry Wicks motoring with Sue Haywood sucked onto his wheel, followed by Rich O’Neil (of Stan’s NoTubes and Pittsburgh messenger fame). They still managed to place high.
Overall I tried to think of yesterday as “active recovery.” Probably only Mike Curiak rides 47 miles for active recovery. Heh.
Speaking of lakes, today we travel to Raystown. Looking forward to this one, a revisit of the fun trails at Dirt Fest – although forty miles is a lot of “fun” and I’m taking bets as to when the fun wears off and the suffering begins.
More from TSE: Read all our racers’ exclusive dispatches from the race.
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