This has been a pretty insane couple of weeks. First, I went to Italy and checked out the new trail bike from Focus (it was rad!), and then I spent a solid 25 hours trying like hell to get to Central Pennsylvania to Trans-Sylvania Epic, lovingly referred to as Singletrack Summer Camp.
Peter has raced it for the past two years, while I stay behind the camera and behind the scenes, running and riding throughout the week but focusing on helping the media team there and collecting great story ideas for Bicycling (stay tuned for them!). It’s a great week for racers, but I admit, I think I get the best deal out of anyone. I get to hang out and ride the amazing trails, but I don’t have to be freaked out about racing (and I get days off!).
Still, I managed to beat myself up pretty bad on a couple of trails (worth it) and definitely felt the truck camping after a few days—the back of my Toyota isn’t exactly built for two people to sleep in, and it got pretty hot a couple of the nights!
But the point is… if you can take a week and do Trans-Sylvania Epic next year, I highly recommend it. Or any mountain bike stage race, really. It’s hard on the body, sure, but the people you meet are just so amazing that you completely forget about how freaking hard the riding is. We call it Singletrack Summer Camp for a reason, and not just because it’s all out of a Boy Scout campground. Everyone makes new friends, rides hard, parties equally hard (or harder, for some of the racers) and leaves with new connections and a renewed love of riding.
Plus, as I’m sure Peter would note as a coach, it’s a ridiculous week of base miles, plus a ton of technical ride practice, so even if you’re not racing it seriously, you come out with a ton of great new fitness and skills. Highly, highly recommend.
Hopefully see you there next year!