I left off with stage two, but as you are aware the race has ended… At least I hope you were paying attention to other media outlets than just my blog. The struggle was real this week and the continuous effort had drained me of motivation to post after every stage. Not to mention, the Transylvania epic crew did an amazing job of covering the race. With that said I am just going to refer you to a bunch of media links. However, I will lend a little of my perspective.
To start off, the enduro day was rad. I had never ridden an Enduro style format before, it was way cool. One thing I struggled with before the race was which bike to race. Aaron Snyder’s trail fox was beckoning for me to set my chamois in its saddle, however, the 160 mm of travel was a bit much for the majority of the Enduro segments. There was a ton of pedaling in the first 3 segments, and because of that I was inclined to race my skarn but I needed some beefier tires to offset my short, 100 mm, of suspension. In the end I opted for the Trail-fox. Thinking that I could rally the last two segments hard enough to erase any significant losses in the first three. Also, I figured I would at least have a ton of fun on a bigger bike. I wasn’t wrong.
Enduro stage highlights- Dirtwire.tv
I did end up losing time on the first three segments but cut the time loss in half with the last two, which were extremely chunky (wild cat and old laurel to 3 bridges). It was really fun to rip DH with little concern for flatting. Also, the big bike helped give my arms a break from the monotonous rock work, the day before, on Jon Wert and Tussy’s Ridge. It is also worth noting how fast Meggie Bichard was all week. She won the enduro overall and nearly got me on the last enduro segment on Stage 3, Old Laurel Run. I only beat her by 2 seconds. She was flying!
Going into stage 4 I was down by about 38 seconds. I knew wanted to make it happen on stage 4, R.B. Winters so I could go into stage 5 on the defensive not the offensive. This proved to be harder than I thought. For one Justine was as on point as ever and also the trail were very fast and not too much steep technical elevation to make a move on. I managed to throw some strategy into the mix. I separated Justin and I on the second to last enduro. I lead followed by Pau Z. then Justin. Pau was very fit all week but was on a hard tail and couldn’t keep up on the DH’s. I got a 20 second gap on the enduro and hit the next climb hard to hit the last enduro with 35 seconds. Justin was on the chase and brought the gap down to ten seconds at the line. I guess I should have avoided puddles like these. They probably slowed me down but made for good pics…
Lots of other cool Photos from Fire Spire Photography at Transylvania Epic Facebook Page
I was disappointed with that because I dropped the ball on the last descent but I did void the time he got on me in the enduro stage. The gap was back down to 30 seconds, until I found out I won the enduro segments on stage 4 and got a 2min time bonus. Justin got 3 and got 30 seconds putting me in GC lead by 1 min.
Stage 4 highlight video- Dirtwire.tv
With a gap coming into the last stage, Stage 5: Cooper’s Gap, I was ready to follow Justin’s wheel. The course started up a 5 single track climb and Justin was pushing the pace. We hit the first enduro 8 miles in and he had the gas pedal mashed flat. We hit the first few rock gardens towards the top of the descent and I could tell Justin was on a mission. Unfortunately, he hit the wrong rock and he suffered a rear flat, followed by a replacement tube with a hole in it.
From there I was in control mode. Justin on the other hand was on attack mode in order to keep his second place overall, which he managed to do and was very impressive. He was down 20+min once he got up and running.
Here is the stage recap video!
I was extremely happy to take the win but not as happy to win it the way I did. Here is a post race interview with Dirtwire.tv. You can see more interview coverage there too.
After the stage I was excited to get the awards done. Don’t get me wrong. It was a great week and the people associated with the race were awesome, staff and racers a like. However, I had the next adventure weighing heavy on my mind. A moto Trip!
Thanks to the Transylvania Epic crew for doing a good job of covering the race. Lots of people on the outside told how convenient it was to be kept in the loop.
Uncle Rob (Rob D) and Manny C talked me into signing up for Durty Dabbers, a two day Dual Sport ride weekend. Basically, you pay for a pre determined course, approved by the AMA, and go ride it. They had two courses one Saturday and one Sunday. Rob let me use his spare 2015 KTM 250 EXC 2 stroke because mine isn’t plated. The bike is so rad. Rekluse clutch, steering stabilizer, tubeless tires, had me feeling like Graham Jarvis and Johnny Walker mixed into one.
Saturday we set out for the course with a group of 6 guys. The ride didn’t start so well for us. One guy in our group flatted 10min in, then two more times throughout the ride. Manny flatted once, and another guy flatted twice. Besides that the day was real fun. A lot of dirt road and not enough trail but it was a good warm up for what would come Sunday…
All in all this past week was one of the best weeks I have had in my short life. Epic trails on the MTB and taking the TSE win followed by Epic trails on a moto with friends.