After my crash on Stage 2, I honestly wasn’t sure if I would make it the rest of the week. I was half expecting to wake up with an arm that wouldn’t move. But since mountain biking doesn’t involve wildly waving your arms about, it seemed that I would be ok. I like to think that that increased shoulder stability and flexibility from years of yoga probably saved me from a fully separated shoulder. So with my arm still fully connected to my body, it was on to Enduro Day.
Stage 3: Galbraith Gap Enduro
For Enduro day, we were only timed going down the mountain, so we could pedal our way to the top as leisurely as we liked, making it a good recovery day after Stage 2 and a chance to ride with friends. However, if you have never done it, going downhill on a mountain bike is not exactly as easy as it sounds. I think Mike Wissell really described it better than I can in this video.
The TSE Enduro day can also be used as an interesting sort of personality test, as two distinct types seemed to emerge by the end of the day: 1) the people who liked the Croyle Run stage the best, which was a more gradual long flowy fast descent; and 2) the people who liked Wild Cat Gap the best, which is basically like riding straight down the side of a cliff. The people who picked Wild Cat Gap are of questionable sanity and included my husband. However, I’m probably lucky in that respect, because I think being married to me me requires questionable sanity in the first place. I finished 10th, making the Enduro Stage my best finish of the week, by far. I had pre-ridden many of these trails a few weeks earlier, which definitely contributed to being able to ride them more confidently than I would have otherwise. I’m actually a very cautious descender, making me more excited about 10th place than most people would probably be.
Stage 4: Coburn a.k.a Dirt Road Day
While I appreciate the existence of this stage, it wasn’t my favorite. I like that the TSE makes you do a bit of everything, but dirt roads can get a little boring after awhile. However, I’ll guarantee you that PA’s definition of a road, and your definition of a road, are not the same. I fell for this trick in the Wilderness 101, and I would not be tricked again, so I was fully prepared for all sorts of “roads.” For some reason, the Enduro sections on this stage had some pretty long uphills. Determined to maintain my Enduro placing, I went as hard as I could on these sections. Something I regretted as I slowly pedaled along the last 10 miles of the day. I also regretted not eating my entire giant chicken at dinner the night before. I heard someone describe this stage as “being stuffed in a sleeping bag and beaten with bats.” I might not go that far, but you get the idea.