At least this poop show ended on a medium note for me. And I got the buckle. Now I need a belt big enough for it. I'd take a pic and show you, but my camera is busted. From crashing on it. Poop show it was.
The last stage took us up and over and up and over Boreas Pass, an old railroad grade turned into wide dirt road and some sweet funnest on both sides. Named after the howling wind on it by some old guys digging in the dirt for metals to make 'em rich and due to the tons of snow they had to work through - they put in a tunnel on part of this thing cause it was way easier than trying to clear the tracks each winter - Boreas was a nice change from the damn steep ass climbing they'd had us doing all week. There was a humungous snow blower for the front of the trains - big enough that they'd need a couple engines to push it - on display close to the start/finish of one of the stages. Then there were pics that showed guys on snow 6 feet above the top of the blower, their job being to shovel down to the blower height in front of the train. That's a freakin' ton of snow. Might have been easier to just shut down for the winter. Or build a much bigger tunnel.
Much of what we were on during the rassin' out in Breck was in some way linked to the old mining days and it wasn't unusual to be rolling along some way remote piece of trail and come upon remnants of the reason these towns existed in the first place - it actually wasn't about powder originally.
Today started with another bitch of a climb - basically back on the damn prologue course and the leg was into full lock down mode about an hour in again and what little power I might have had was gone. At just about that time though I hit the first descent and dropped onto the RR grade road over the pass. When the trails and roads got real steep all week I had to get off the bike. With this grade at only a couple percent, that made things a little different. Today I was able to actually put some power into the pedals and though the hip was screaming at me, I could roll the gear.
It was really nice to do nothing but pass people all day long. Finally I wasn't just suffering and sucking ass. Today, I was suffering but not completely sucking ass.
I rolled up one side of Boreas catching a dropping a ton of people I should have been spanking all week by basically ignoring the hip as much as I could and trying all sorts of different pedaling positions. Eventually I settled on jamming the tip of the saddle into my taint and putting a bit more into the top of the pedal stroke. I also stood up a ton and got way forward on the bike. This sorta worked. I ripped the singletrack on the other side and then found that same sweet grade on the way back. I kept eating people up until I finally got to a point that the pain was a bit much and I had to back off.
We crested Boreas to the tune of "20 minutes back to town!" and I'd have been smiling today if not for the grimacing. On the next road descent I was actually yelling in pain trying to get some release. It was also on this descent that I finally caught some of the SSers that had been kicking my butt from day 1. Mr Moots, Rich D waved me by to drop into the singletrack in front of him. I obliged and immediately bounced back and forth in one of those western ditch singletracks before dismounting hard into the ground. Rich probably should have dropped in first.
I hopped back up and caught Rich who let me go by again probably thinking it'd be worth the entertainment value. I found Tomicogs spinning his way down the trail shortly after - man he's got that dialed - and he let me scoot by. Got one or two other guys in that last bit o' singletrack in Breck too and finally felt okay about a day in this thing coming across the final finish line. It was definitely a good way to wrap things up.
Got back to the condo and Kris and little guy wanted to get on the lift to the top of the mtn. Well, Kris did anyway, I'm not sure Braden cared one way or the other. So we did a little hike around Wheeler Pass so I could show the family where I was stinking things up. Actually, I could just point to any land visible between us and the horizon from the 11,000 foot peak and say, "I sucked there. And there. And over there. And over there. And over there. And there. And over there too. And there. And up there. And down there. And that spot. And there. And, yep, there. And over there." Kris threw snowballs at Braden, unfortunately he doesn't know to duck. Braden lost his hat on the way up in the lift, but mom saved the day by hiking back up after to get it as it would have been a crying to shame to lose that. At least that's what I was told.
The dinner party came later at the swanky River Walk. We watched a kick ass video made during the week and I got to see what the front of the race looked like after the first 20 sec. of any stage. We also got our buckles. Then they did a killer raffle with kick ass long boards and Crank Bros wheels and other cool stuff. I won a pair of tires and a light up aerobie. Thank god there was free beer.
I canvassed the place with the help from my friends Harlan and Garth with TransSylvania Epic info and got an overwhelmingly positive response to the whole thing. Keith B was all about it and sending his buds in England the info. A bunch of western types were all licking their chops with the promise of tearing up the east coasters with their train high approach and easterners were like, "Yeah Rocks!! and Oxygen!! Bring it bitches." So spread that word - May 30-June 5, 2010 - TransSylvaniaEpic.com.
All's well that ends well.
Except I couldn't f'ing walk for three days after I got back.