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Cheryl Sornson's Trans-Sylvania Epic Blog

Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) finishes up the Trans-Sylvania Epic as overall women's winner.

Celebrating the win

Cheryl Sornson
June 05, 2012, 16:08 BST,
June 05, 2012, 17:22 BST

Back to regular life

Waking up for work this morning was pretty rough. I guess the dream I had about riding in the Trans-Sylvania Epic, winning three stages and taking the overall wasn't just a dream after all.

It is a strange feeling when seven days of racing your mountain bike are over and you return to the normal routine of life. My normal routine does involve bike riding, but not to the extent of last week.

I am now back to being a mother, back to being a wife, back to caring for my two dogs, back to work, and back to all the other details of life off the bike. As hard as the racing was, it was a treat to only focus on one thing. I treasure the time I spent at the TSE meeting new people, pushing my limits, and enjoying an extremely well run event. Big kudos to (promoters) Ray Adams and Mike Kuhn.

We all won last week. Congrats to all and a big congrats to my teammate Kaitlyn Broadhurst (Team CF). You are a huge inspiration to us all. Keep rocking sister!

Next up will be Lumberjack 100. Until then I'll be recovering with some serious couch time!

Jeb and Molly have been the local mascots all week

One more day

Cheryl Sornson
June 02, 2012, 4:33 BST,
June 02, 2012, 5:37 BST

Conquering the mind

Well its down to one more day. I can definitely say I am ready for it. It has been a tough week. Probably more mentally than physically.

My body is sore and tired, but my mind is extremely tired. It is such a battle to put yourself in the mindset to crush yourself each day. It could be so easy to let the sensibility of the mind allow you to slow down.

"Yo, ya know you really don't have to ride that fast. It hurts you fool, slow down. No, No don't you dare go after that wheel.".

I beat my mind down and stayed focused for the course. I won the stage today and continue to keep the leader's jersey. .

We missed the storms during today's ride, but will pay for it with sunshine and MUD tomorrow. Mountain biking is so much fun!.

Our camp has had two mascots all week: Jeb and Molly. So calming to reach down to pet them and allow them to remind you how simple and fun life can be. .

Off to bed. Sweet dreams...

 Mechanics Shane and Matt stay up late to take care of Team CF's bikes during the Trans-Sylvania Epic

Up, coffee, feed, gather, race, rinse, repeat

Cycling News
June 01, 2012, 15:44 BST,
June 01, 2012, 16:49 BST

In the groove at the Trans-Sylvania Epic


That was the subject line of an e-mail from my husband, Lee. HMMM, wonder what that is about. Well it turns out that the cherry trees on our property are booming with lovely yummy cherries. I miss home.

Hump day is over, and I am excited about the last few days of this race. It has been a tough one. I know that I am a strong rider, but it is hard to accept that I am elite enough to be where I am right now. I truly have to fight back thoughts of not belonging and only being lucky. Some of the other ladies have some pretty impressive backgrounds that give them a fighting edge. I hope to be aggressive and competitive enough to pull this through.

However, I bet no other rider got a phone call and an e-mail from their 12-year-old son to discuss the pros and cons joining band or chorus next year in school. He is not feeling it and this Mom believes it to be important. Recently he has gotten the mountain bike bug and is all about it. It could be easy to let riding and competing take over your life. I like balance.

Yesterday's stage took some fight out of all of us. It was supposed to be a little lighter, but it took a lot of energy. People are tired and sore. It was also a lot of mud to deal with. Sorry bike and mechanics.

The routine of stage racing is taking over and draining as well. Up, coffee, feed, gather, sign in, race your heart out, rinse, repeat. It's the rinsing and repeating that is the toughest. Although we here at the CF compound have some luxuries there are some that are missing like a laundry. Should have spent that extra dime on the service. Fortunately the sting of the race is soothed with the summer camp atmosphere and attitude of all involved. Especially that Ray Adams character, all you have to do is look at his shirt and your reminded that this is vacation. The venues always offer a lake or pond to cool the stress of the race and tell war stories with your comrades. It truly is a summer camp for mountain bikers. Definitely worth the week off of work.

I again have to give kudos to our mechanics. They have been dealing with a lot of bikes. There has been broken wheels, broken bikes, tires to change and everything else thrown in between. While I'm tucked in for the night they are still working. They always wake up with a smile and never complain of their chores. We are very lucky to have Shane and Matt taking care of us.

Well today I broke the curse and took the stage win and added five minutes on my overall GC lead. I hooted and hollered when I crossed the line. Thankfully Zach Adams was there to share in my short lived glory. Oh and our sweet Kaitlyn again finished a stage. Truly inspirational.

Muddy girls after stage 4

Slipping and sliding around Raystown

Cheryl Sornson
May 31, 2012, 15:36 BST,
May 31, 2012, 16:39 BST

Keeping the GC lead during a slick stage 4

We woke up to beaytiful skies and cool temperatures. Too bad it rained like hell last night.

Raystown was slick today. I never equated those trails with mud, but now I know. It made for more resistance, lots of slippy sliding, and a total mud bath for body and bike.

Regardless of the mess, the trials at Raystown provide lots of fun twisty pump track style terrain that puts a smile on your face. Well that is until the momentum ends and the course sends you up a grassy climb.

I continue to hold the leaders jersey, but lost about 15 seconds to Sue Haywood. She won the stage by pulling a great super D finish. It is sort of a repeating story. I hope to make it different tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a short stage, but a technical one that will wear you out.

Our Epic team, Team CF, continues in first place with key rider Kaitlyn finishing yet another stage. Her rides are much more exciting than ours. Today our team mechanics teamed up with her for her last lap around Raystown. They had a blast. She has been absolutely amazing. She is so full of life and keeps us all smiling. At awards tonight she talked to the crowd about how our team was created and why. Most importantly she discussed how important it is for those with CF to exercise in order to keep their lungs functioning properly. She thanked the bicycling community for their support and she is proud to be a part of it.

Time for some post race recovery

A measured approach

Cheryl Sornson
May 30, 2012, 3:26 BST,
May 30, 2012, 16:28 BST

Day 3 proves tough but there's plenty left in the tank

Spin, Spin, Spin… Today involved a lot of pedaling. It was a road stage for sure. It involved scenic country gravel, pavement and some singletrack mixed in. A dry day, but the sun was out in full force turning the heat on us.

I woke up feeling a bit uneasy. I wasn’t sure what the day would have in store. Fortunately, I got a good start and settled out with only Sue Haywood. Another day of us working it out together was in store. We were able to work with a group and then in the last five miles we took off together and wished for the finish to be soon.

The finish included a bit of downhill singletrack where Sue was able to put the hammer down on me. I stayed close and finished a few seconds back. Would have been nice to win the stage, but I did defend the leaders jersey. I hope to be able to do the same tomorrow. I’m getting tired as I am sure we all are. Today, although we raced I do believe I was able to conserve a bit to put out later in the week. Each day left includes some technical, skilled riding. I’ll need to be focused and recover well.

Lots of cool happenings around Camp CF. Today is Dr. Jim Wilson’s birthday (he is the founder of team CF). We helped him celebrate with Little Debbie’s shortcake rollups. He celebrated his birthday with a third place finish today in the Men’s 50+ category. Our Epic Team is also in first place.

Kaitlyn has finished each stage so far and our mechanics continue to do an awesome job keeping up with all the bikes and working the feed zones each day.

Good morning from the Trans-Sylvania Epic

A wet rocks kind of a day

Cheryl Sornson
May 29, 2012, 16:03 BST,
May 29, 2012, 17:10 BST

Sornson races to stage win and takes over lead on day 2

It rained hard last night. I tried not to think about it. My teammate got a message from her coach this morning: "Have fun in the mud." Oh boy here we go...

And wet it was. Every rock was slick with rain and its own sweat. Yes, it was steamy hot today as well. Stage 2 treated us to a 42-mile jaunt through rocky lushness with some road thrown in. At the start, I was able to get a jump, but as soon as we got into the singletrack, Sue Haywood came up on me.

We rode together for most of the day until I was able to shake her at around mile 28. I wasn't sure I had it in me. She is riding really strong these days and her wet rock riding skills are amazing. I guess mine aren't that bad either.

I'm really stoked to have won the stage and take over the leader's jersey. I will do my best to keep riding strong, but each day holds something different, and we all have different strengths. There is still so much left, and these ladies have sweet smiles attached to very strong legs.

My Specialized Epic was the perfect choice for today. Thanks to team CF's mechanics Shane and Matt, it ran flawlessly. They are our lifeline this week. Even kids in the campground are leaving their bikes for tune-ups from these guys.

Cheryl Sornson's Trans-Sylvania Epic Blog

Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) is racing the 2012 Trans-Sylvania Epic in and around State College, Pennsylvania.  Seven days of racing will change things up for her usual 100-miler and other one-day endurance events.

Stay tuned here on Cyclingnews to follow the adventures of Sornson as she takes on a top-notch elite women's endurance field through the mountains of Central Pennsylvania.

The Trans-Sylvania Epic runs from Sunday, May 27 to until Saturday, June 2.