Dirt Rag Magazine

Rich Dillen: The return of Dicky

By Rich Dillen

I was a proud member of the freshman class that attended the inaugural Trans-Sylvania Epic last year. The pain and suffering is a distant memory, and when it came time to sign up for this year’s race I didn’t need anybody twisting my arm behind my back to convince me to give it another go. Last year I started preparing myself in early March by increasing my saddle time, but by mid-April I was already burned out. So much so that two days into the race I decided to drown my competitive spirit in alcohol, thus quashing my dreams of glory but allowing for more laughs long into the night.

This year things will be different. Somehow or another I’m managing to constantly postpone the commencement of anything that resembles a training plan. The bad news is that it’s too late to start training, but the good news is that I’ll never come close to being burnt out before the race. It’s not that things have been too hectic as of late to squeeze in some extra miles. It’s just that I’ve allowed myself to be fully absorbed in various distractions keeping my head out of the game.

So what does one do when one has less than a month to prepare for a challenge as hard as a seven-day stage race? I plan on getting up at 5 a.m. once a week to ride my road bike before work. Maybe as the race gets closer I’ll actually look at the course information as opposed to going in blind every day as I did last year. I could try to hone my technical skills, but lacking any place quite as rocky as central Pennsylvania within a twenty mile radius of my house, I think I’ll just head to the local indoor play place to roll around in the ball pit for a couple hours. That won’t actually help prepare me for the race in any way, but it should keep me distracted for a while.

More from TSE: Read all our racers’ exclusive dispatches from the race.

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