Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Summertime means living to ride!

Transylvania Epic( TSE)

TSE was the big race on my schedule for the Stan’s No Tubes Team. I did the race last year and really enjoyed the terrain, the race organization and the overall friendly, fun vibe. Last year, I camped out under the trees that were raining pollen and cooked on a little camp stove. I was sad and introspective because my dad had very recently passed. He would of wanted me to do the race and enjoy myself as he was my biggest fan. It was good therapy. But it also felt like I rode with a heavy load everyday, his memory and my 28lb bike.

The 2012 edition was like riding with wings comparatively. I was in much better shape physically having spent a month in Sedona, ridden some long road epics with friends and had done more xc racing capturing several state championships along the way. Mentally, I was just starting to come out of the funk of the end of a long term relationship. The bike had been my savior during that time and I appreciated the mental clarity and sheer joy that the bike always provided for me.

Then add to that the top notch support from our Stan’s Family( Thank you Shannon, Kenny, Richie Rich, Strauber and Mike B!!!) and having my teammates Jenny and Sarah and Vicky and Shannon there…well it was amazing! I thrive on having my bike(which by the way was under 20lbs) taken care of after each stage with not only uber professionalism, but with a smile and a joke, too! And then having the girls there to make me laugh and offer encouragement is priceless.

I won several stages and felt good. I was missing some top end at the starts and didn’t have the fitness to attack eventual winner Cheryl “Churtle Le Turtle” Sornsen, but it was a successful stage race for me and full of good memories. Our team rode strong and made a big splash in our beautiful pink kits. I like a race that ends with winning a hatchet(aka Tomahawk), eating prime rib and then a three beer derby. Good times in Pennsylvania for sure.

Canaan MTB Festival

The heart and soul of my biking life started in Davis, West Virginia( aka Canaan Valley pronounced “KaNane”). Owing so much of my love for mountain biking to this place and wanting to share it with others, I started the Canaan MTB Festival four years ago. This festival aims to bring people together to ride trails, enjoy each other’s company, do trail work and support the Tucker County Trails Club.

I do a women’s skill tour on friday. We do skills drills and practice in the morning and then ride to my cabin for lunch. I cook the meal for these amazing ladies. I want them to have a healthy homecooked lunch because they deserve it for all their efforts and good energy. Saturday are free group rides led by the local characters. We have a nature ride, a championship loop ride and then an all day circumnavigation ride of Canaan Valley. Sunday was trail work in the morning where we fixed a wet spot at a local park by armouring it with rock. Sunday afternoon is a Bike Hash.

A Bike Hash involves two Hares leaving the start point with a 6-10 minute headstart. The Hares throw differing marks of flour on the ground for the Hounds to follow. They also carry beer that they stash along the way for the thirsty hounds. The sneaky Hares try to throw the Hounds off course with false trails and confusing markings. The object is to catch the Hares before they reach the end of the route where more beer and Sirianni’s pizza is waiting .

There is a limited and special language used like, “RU?” that means are you on the trail? and “Checking?” Then when you find the right trail you say “ON, ON!” And then when you find beer, you say “ON BEER!” At the end, Beer is drank out of the Sacred Vessel and songs are sung and toasts are made and most importantly, Beer is drank!

Tour de Burg

I’m glad that I got TSE under my belt because that prepared me for the infamous/mostly unknown Tour de Burg. Starting the same day as the Tour de France, the TDB is a 7 stage, six day race that has 2 road stages and 6 mtb days. The format is pleasure pace (PP) to the timed sections, then race a set section of trail or road, regroup and then PP to the next race section. Usually, there are two timed sections per day and a lunch stop. These are all day outings over rough, gnarly terrain in the mountains of Virginia. This is an off grid race that costs $175 dollars for lunch, dinner and a massive beat down with a core group of athletic weirdos and sadists. Jerseys include the typical Men’s Leader, Women’s Leader, KOM, Sprint and the much contested DFL.

These quirky, endurance, hard partying, inexpensive races are the memories that I will cherish when I’m in the nursing home more than any world cup!

What’s Next?

The second big race for me this year is at the Colorado Endurance Festival. I will be participating in the All Mountain Enduro at Winterpark. There are five stages, including a chainless downhill. I heard there are non stop tabletops and some very fast girls showing up. I’m so excited to finally try this format of racing that seems to be getting popular. I will be racing the Jekyll II with Kenda Nevegals, and Crank Bros. Zepplin seatpost and pedals and a Lazer full face helmet. So stay tuned!

Thanks for reading.

Sue Haywood.

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