It’s that time of year again. Spring sprung a few weeks ago and now we’re under the brutal regime of summer. So naturally that’s the ideal time to break out the the mountain bikes and blast through the trails of Rothrock State Forest. That’s the idea behind the annual Tran-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic sponsored by Stan’s No Tubes along with a plethora of other sponsors.
With only a few weeks of experience trail riding on a derelict Wal-Mart bike in Colorado two summers ago, I still see myself as mostly an outsider to the world of mountain biking. Being that this was the first trail riding event I’ve even attended let alone documented, there were a few things that I expected, with more that I discovered.
What did I expect when I pulled in to the Seven Mountains Scout Camp that served as the event’s headquarters. The spandex is something that I knew was coming. Also with a few years of working for Trek in their distribution center in New Jersey, I could generally tell that most of the bikes on the trail today probably cost close to the value of my Mini Cooper, which I discovered can handle the rugged gravel roads almost as well as the Subaru Forester that I followed to the different shooting locations.
Today was also a learning experience for me. For instance, I now have a vague idea what an “enduro” is, and I’ve discovered the many roads leading through Rothrock that I had no idea even existed until today, after spending the last three years living almost right next to them. I’m not sure that I’ll ever have the opportunity to use them ever again, unless I finally buy myself a mountain bike and decide to take on some of the stages myself someday.
My part in this literal epic mountain biking excursion is mostly my photographic skills focused mostly on the Stradalli racing team who made their way up from Miami to Centre County for the Single Track Summer Camp. To add to the list of the unexpected, I was not expecting the immense team RV, or the warning of the vicious attack dog guarding the door, Princess.
Princess’ owner, as well as owner of the RV and Stadalli itself Tom Steinbacher invited me in to the RV to line up a few portraits, and prep shots with the rest of the team before heading to the rider’s meeting at the camp’s main lodge.
Making up the rest of the Stradalli team is Bob McCarty, Cesar Grajales, and David Herrera. In today’s stage McCarty held on to his 8th place overall slot with a 2:48,
and Grajales rose to the top of the Solo Men 40+ division with a 3:06.
Herrera crossed the finish line around 1pm, and Steinbacher brought up the rear. “I would have gotten a great time, but I saw a squirrel on the course and made a splint for it’s broken leg and wrestled off a few bears while I was stopped”
After today’s experience, I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to make the first day of the event, but I still have another three days at the summer camp with the team.