Thursday, June 24, 2010

2010 TSE - Day Six

I've been looking forward to this day since we finished stage two. Today would be another day similar to stage two except not as humid. Rocky singletrack and good ridgeline trails. In face, we were riding the Tussey Ridgeline trail, the best trail in the state forest surrounding State College.

The night before I had the good folks at Freeze Thaw Cycles replace my broken spoke, true my wheel and replace my Stan's yellow rim strip and valve core. I also switched over to a new set of WTB Wolverine 29x2.2 tires. Nice high volume tire for the rocks since one of my Maxxis Crossmark 29x2.1 had a hole in it and I didn't have time to find it and patch it.

I woke up and had a good breakfast. Felt pretty good. My diarrhea was subsiding. Well, enough to keep me away from the bathroom for an extended period of time.

Today would be another, and the last, remote start. We'd have a neutral roll-out along a forest service road. Then an 8ish mile climb up a rocky and grassy jeep trail. Across the ridge and down a very rocky descent (used in the Stoopid 50). Then onto the three bridges trail which we ride in the W101. Then out to an aide station and up onto Tussey Ridge. Ride the Tussey Ridgeline trail (we did this in the SSWC05) for a few miles and then duck down the backside of the ridge on an awesome fast singletrack trail. Onto a gravel road and a right onto a paved road. A few paved roads (2-3miles perhaps) and then a short climb up a doubletrack. Crest the top of the climb and roll into the finish. 25miles long. Fun stuff.

My plan was to ride hard and try to keep Dicky either in my sights or behind me. I had a nine minute lead on him and he kept on telling me that if I got another flat those nine minutes would be gone. This got to me and my descending was reserved for the day. Stupid head games. Us singlespeeders also decided that if the General Classification does not change today then tomorrow, the last stage, we are doing a 'fun' ride and enjoying the day. So, basically, today was the last day of 'racing' for us.

We started off the climb alright. It was hot and humid on this climb so things were tough. I stayed with Dicky the whole climb up and across the ridgeline. Greg was way out back hanging out with Peter and the two of them did not realize that the race actually started. Greg caught up to Dicky and I as we dropped into the Stoopid50 trail. The insane rocky descent.

I worked so hard to stay with Dicky on the climb that my balance was all messed up trying to go down this descent. As a result we let Greg through and Dicky let me go infront of him. Near the bottom I felt better and picked up the pace a little. I made it through the early part of Three Bridges Trail no problem but the later part was tough. It is so much fun to ride it in the opposite direction (the way the W101 goes) but in the direction we rode it was hard to rest and recover from the first climb. I somehow found a way and found a good rhythm over the rocks. Caught up to Selene as she was leading the women's field overall and for the day. We rolled into the first aid station together. Greg was standing there with this dumbfounded look on his face. He wasn't expecting to see me and quickly took off up to the ridgeline. Selene rode through the aid station and I stopped to refill a bottle.

As I was leaving the aid station and started climbing up to the ridgeline I could hear Dicky screaming my name. Screaming in an effort for me not to forget he's behind me. Again: head games.

I caught back up to Selene and the two of us duked it out with the Moto. Both wishing the Moto was not on trail for the exhaust stunk and he was riding as fast or slower than us. We eventually passed him and I eventually passed Selene and bridged up to Greg halfway down the ridgeline.

"Do I attack Greg or do I just ride with him and enjoy the remainder of the day?"

Greg had a gap of around 18minutes on me. We are between mile 15 and 20 of a 25mile day. I can't make up that time. I also worked hard on the first half of the course and was having trouble recovering, yet still found a way to continue riding hard.

I decided to ride with him rather than attack.

Greg riding the Tussey Ridgeline.

Selene on the ridgeline with Karen Potter in hot pursuit.

Greg and I finished the ridgeline together loving every foot of the trail. The views were magnificent and the riding was top notch. We descended down the windy trail along the backside. Greg would pull away from me since I was descending very conservatively. I'd then catch back up on the next traverse or incline.

Dicky trying to catch back up to Greg and I on the ridgeline trail.

Dave having a blast up on the ridgeline

Peter cringing in paint with the rocky trail and giant blisters on his hands.

At some point I pulled past Greg and got to the bottom out onto the road first. He quickly caught up with Selene right on his wheel. Selene picked up the pace when she realized Karen caught up to her. On the road Selene took off while Greg and I rode at a decent pace to keep moving but not kill ourselves.

On one road there was a six feet long snake laying in the road. Greg was stoked to see it and I freaked out like Indiana Jones does.

"I hate snakes, Jock! I hate 'em!"

I rode around it as far away from the snake as I could and the two of use mustered on. We weren't sure how much further to go but figured the end should come soon. I looked at my watch and we were on track for a 2.5 race. That gave us another 15minutes of riding.

Shortly thereafter we turned onto the doubletrack climb. The last climb of the day. Greg set pace and I forced myself to stay with him. It hurt, my legs were starting to cramp from such a hard effort that day. I stuck with it and ultimately finished the stage right behind Greg. one two.

Greg, 1st singlespeed for the day at 2hrs 20mins

Myself taking 2nd singlespeed for the day at 2hrs 20mins and 2seconds behind him.

Race director Mike Kuhn snapped this right after Greg and I finished.

Dicky rolled in at 3rd place about five minutes later.

Awesome day. I had a lot of fun and was relieved that the racing was done for the week.

Photo: Peter

After dinner we had a little party.

Photo: Peter

And did some interviews:



Thom Parsons made an appearance


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