Mid-week update from the Trans-Sylvania Epic

By Karen Brooks,

We are having a great time here at the Trans-Sylvania Epic. Once again, Mike Kuhn and Ray Adams have put on a quality event, and I’m stoked to be here.

Eric is stoked about his high-viz glasses that ensure he stands out in photographs. 

We’ve had some hot weather, but thunderstorms in the evening have cooled things off and have made the trails interesting, to say the least. Today was the “road” day—although like they warned us, these weren’t “roads” that you drive your Honda Civic on, they were more Jeep style. But there were lots of lovely scenic stretches.

The obligatory vista shot from the top of the longest climb… totally worth it.

I’m doing fairly well this year, consistently faster than last year, but the stacked women’s field means I’m still in about the same spot. No matter—it’s a lot of fun to mix it up with the pros, at least for a few seconds at the start. Eric is hanging with them at least a little longer.

Sue Haywood of the dominant NoTubes team is looking especially sharp this year, and nabbed the win today by four seconds. (Four seconds! It’s amazing how close things can stay after 47 rough miles.) She says that a lighter bike is helping her, but she also feels better. Sue was at Dirt Fest last weekend, and despite coaching at the women’s clinics and socializing at night, same as me, she seems none the worse for wear. I should have asked her what she did for recovery…

Our own Team Dicky came in second in the Singlespeederiffic class, led by Dejay Birtch. In third is Chris Merriam, my host during my stay in Washington, D.C. for the National Bike Summit. (That “long commute” is turning out to have been excellent training.)

That’s Chris on the right, Dejay in the center, and Dicky on the left.

And here’s Dicky relaxing while awaiting his turn at the massage table. It’s tough work, being an international superstar.

Kaarin Tae was my companion for most of this “road” stage last year and took some cool photos along the way. She and her husband Lawrence are competing as a Co-ed Duo team this year—fortunately for me, because she’s fit as hell and would have undoubtedly bumped me down another notch had she been in the women’s field.

That’s Kaarin and Lawrence on the right.

I neglected to nab the best podium shot—the men’s winners, with Jeremiah Bishop’s son Connor standing in front of him on the top step and enjoying himself very much.

Hanging out in the dining hall and around camp after the racing is one of the best parts of the day. I got to talk to current women’s leader Cheryl Sorrenson of TeamCF—she said it was tough to hold back and try to spin for recovery on today’s stage (the smart thing to do at this point), but she’s having a great time. Cheryl was also waiting for a massage. Gonna try that myself tomorrow.

Sadly the women’s field is missing Selene Yeager, who got called away for work at the last minute, and Vicki Barclay, who suffered a concussion in a recent road crash. Both may show up for some socializing later in the week.

I also spotted Sarah Hansing, a close competitor of mine, and Keith Bontrager, here to have some good ol’ East Coast fun. Sarah said the longest, rockiest climb today was “soul crushing.” It was indeed.

Here I must give a shoutout to Justin Wagner of Freeze Thaw Cycles, who is in charge of the on-site repair service. He is kicking ass and taking names at bike repairs, and still managing to chat with everyone.

Here is pro Karen Potter from the MTBRaceNews.com team waiting for a repair. She had to drop out yesterday due to a pair of nasty crashes, but was able to ride today. Last year she got taken out by the stomach virus that decimated the field… sorry to hear bad luck visited her again.

Check back for more posts later in the week, check our Facebook page for a passel of photos, and definitely visit TSEpic.com for some excellent photos and video from A.E. Landes.


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