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Expecting the unexpected

The elite women's podium at the 2014 Trans-Sylvania Epic

The elite women's podium at the 2014 Trans-Sylvania Epic (Image credit: Sarah Kaufmann)

Where do we go from here? The last day of Trans-Sylvania Epic (TSEpic) is often more of a rolling party than a race. The stage is pretty short - if your GC position is more than a few minutes apart, it is unlikely you'll change much. And after six hard days of racing, it's pretty hard to get motivated without that kind of incentive. I had big gaps in front and behind me. All I had to do was ride smooth and my place for the week was locked up. But just when you think you’re safe, those monster PA rocks come back to bite you!

I suffered a catastrophic mechanical and instead of cruising around in the woods for a couple of hours, I hiked, I cursed, I cried, I got help from other racers (thank you!) and eventually my own mechanic found me and got me going again. Then it was a mad dash back to the finish line, while trying to calculate time gaps and stopped time with severe race-brain (not recommended!). I made it. But you are never safe at Trans-Sylvania. Lesson learned.

So where do we go from here? I'm sitting comfortably at my teammate's house, sipping tea and NOT force-feeding myself breakfast in an attempt to fuel for a day of racing. It feels pretty nice. I don't honestly want to sit on a bicycle anytime soon.

Having dealt with some chronic fatigue issues this spring, I'm relieved to have survived the week but I know if I try to push it again soon, I will pay for it. I plan to wait patiently for my TSEpic magical, sparkly legs to show up in a few weeks and ride that fitness for the rest of the season. For now, I think downhill shuttle runs and full-face helmets are on tap for a couple of weeks! Though maybe I will let my TSEpic bruises fade away first.

On day 2, I was asking myself why I was at TSEpic and swearing I was done with the race. But that faded quickly and I'm already scheming about next year’s attempt. Doesn’t everyone else do that?!

'Type 2’ fun, right? While you’re doing it, you hate it and swear you’ll never do it again. And then you finish and hear yourself describing it as "SOMUCHFUN!" and you can’t wait to do it again. It’s a drug and we’re addicted. See you all next year at Singletrack Summer Camp!

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Sarah Kaufmann (Stan's NoTubes Elite Women's Team) is heading back to central Pennsylvania for the 2014 Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race. Follow Kaufmann's adventures in her blog here as she contends for the overall GC win during the seven-day races in the State College, Pennsylvania area.