Monday, June 6, 2011

TSE Report

After a grueling week of racing on trails near State College, PA the Trans Sylvania Stage Race is over.   WHEW!   I think my body is bruised from head to toe, my head is completely congested, my lungs are burning, my farmers' tan lines are even more noticeable, and my bike is need of a overhaul; especially my fork.  Yeah I think that just about sums it up.

The race consisted of 6 Stages and 1 Prologue.  As soon as I arrived at the race venue on Saturday I knew I was in for trouble.  The temperatures were reaching into the 90's and the humidity was 100%.  The temps in Bend haven't been over 65 degrees all spring, so I wasn't sure how my body would respond to the heat and humidity. 

As predicted my body didn't bode well with the heat and by Stage 3 (100 degrees) my body was shutting down.  I tried to settle into a high tempo rhythm early on but that didn't seem to work either.  By around the 2 hour mark, I had lost the ability to power the pedals.  I was completely shutting down and getting passed by many riders.  When I reached the final Aid Station with about 12 miles remaining, I contemplated pulling out of the race.  However, after talking with the Race Medic and dowsing my head with a gallon of water,  felt inspired to keep moving.  After more riders passed and time elapsed, I finally reached the finish line nearly 4 hours after starting.  Unfortunately, my agony was not over.  My body had been so depleted of electrolytes that just about every muscle in my body began cramping.  I had to keep moving to minimize the discomfort.  After 10 min. I got back to our RV and changed clothes and ate some food.  My issue with cramping (especially in my feet and hamstrings) would last all night long and prevented me from trying to rest and recover.  It was the most uncomfortable night I have experienced in a long time.  Four hours after finishing I finally had to urinate; which was a good sign because my body was beginning to feel a little better.  The race medic had called that evening asking if I had thought I needed to receive an IV.  I decided against it and continued consuming fluids with electrolyes and by 10 pm I was finally able to lye down and go to bed.

I was able to recover by the next day as the temperatures had begun to drop and the next days' course was mostly in the woods sheltered by shade.  That was the trend the rest of the week and about 1 hour after finishing the final stage wouldn't you know it it began to rain.  Unseasonable temps all week made the event even more challenging than it already was.  I believe nearly 30 riders (out of 105) had DNF'd. 

Jeremiah Bishop lead the race from the Prologue with Sneddon and Sager keeping things interesting each day.  Flat tires and slashed tires, along with broken chains were quite frequent with most of the Top 15 riders.  I don't know of many that didn't suffer some sore of mechanical all week.  Myself and a few others were unfortunate to have suffered several flat tires (I had 4 flats and 3 slashed tires - 2 were UST Tubeless), but I also saw Wicks and Bishop having trouble with their chains and derailleurs.

It was a great week of riding on some of PA's best rocky/technical trails.  I understand these are the same trails that are utilized during the Wilderness 101 race in July.  We don't get this kind of riding out West, especially in Bend, so it was fun to test the skills against the terrain.  I can say, however, that I am looking forward to riding Phil's Trail for a few days to allow my muscles to heel :-). 

Mike Kuhn and Ray Adams (TSE organizers) know a thing or two on how to truly run an amazing event.  In only it's 2nd year, this race nearly doubled in size and drew one of the strongest Pro field of any Stage Race that I know of (other than Cape Epic).  There weren't any flaws during the week, plenty of volunteers and food at all the Aid Stations, lots of photographers along the courses each day, and plenty of entertainment after each Stage including photo slideshow, and a video from the guys at Cycling Dirt.  I believe I even saw Mike and Ray out on the course during each Stage encouraging riders or helping out in the Aid Stations.

Click HERE for all the results:

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