Wheelies, wine, and oh yeah… racing too!

By Karen Brooks

It’s 10:21 p.m. and I’m typing this at a rustic wooden table in the dining area of a Boy Scout cabin. My cabin-mates are chatting, drinking water (or beer) and snacking, discussing today’s racing (and shenanigans) and tomorrow’s stage. Someone says, “Aw, it sucks you guys have to work.” But then I remind them that I’m technically at work when we’re out on the trail, too.

This is the third year I’ve ridden in the Trans-Sylvania Epic—it’s always a work gig I’ll angle to get because I enjoy it so much. The setting is beautiful, the racing is difficult but fun, and the company is laid-back and friendly.

Last night there was a “ladies’ dance party” in our kitchen, fueled by wine from the local winery. This evening was the annual Wednesday-night Wheelie Contest (won by Gunnar Bergey), which turned into a derby (won by Derek Bissett) and then a limbo contest and also a skid contest (won by today’s singlespeed winner Dax Massey).

Oh yeah, and the racing. I feel pretty good, despite not being able to ride to Washinton D.C. and back this spring like last year. My BMC Fourstroke FS01 29 test bike seems to be the hot set-up for this year (more on that later), and experience is certainly helping. There have been some moments of actual back-and-forth dueling and strategy use between me and my closest competitors, which makes it more fun. I still seem to be stuck in my usual 8th place, but once again, most of the names ahead of me are actual paid professionals, so I don’t feel too bad about it. Most importantly, I’ve managed to keep the rubber side down so far.

Tomorrow is the notoriously technical stage at R.B. Winter State Park. It’s only 22 miles but contains enough rocks for twice that, plus a nearly mile-long crazy chute of a descent that’s more of a controlled fall. So I’d better get to bed and rest up.


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