The Angry Singlespeeder: The Trans-Sylvania Epic – Death by rock

At the Trans-Sylvania Epic, the rock beatings will continue until morale improves

Opinion Race Coverage

Stage 7

Photo by A.E.Landes Photography

Stage 7: Bald Eagle – 26 miles

Usually by this point in the race, especially in the singlespeed category, everyone pretty much knows where they’re going to end up in the overall results, so why keep racing? Tradition has been established that on the final stage, singlespeeders screw off. Racing is over. The final stage is for going slow, drinking beers, enjoying the scenery and reveling in a week that was. We even had a World Champion in our midst, as Buck the masseuse who I met on Stage 1 joined us for the ride.


Photo by A.E.Landes Photography

All I had to do was not drink too much, keep the rubber side down and the overall title would be mine. Thankfully, I managed to succeed. It was a brutal week of racing and somehow I survived with little more than a couple scrapes, sore arms, sore wrists and swollen fingers.

Stage 8

Stage 8: BONUS STAGE: Shenanigans

This was more fun to watch than participate in. The shenanigans were plentiful. Good times.

Stage 9: BONUS STAGE x2: Food Poisoning!

On the flight home Sunday I suddenly fell ill. There are few things less pleasurable than puking on an airplane. Upon arriving home, when I wasn’t on the toilet, I was dead to the world for more than twelve hours. I later came to find out a whole bunch of other people got sick the same exact day. I blamed the shrimp at the Saturday awards dinner, but others thought it was a rogue virus. Either way, it was an unforgettable parting gift from the TS Epic.


Photo by A.E.Landes Photography


Would I do the TS Epic again? Absolutely. However, I wouldn’t do it on a 26-inch hardtail. Although the Ibis Tranny reliably carried me through it all, having bigger wheels and maybe some rear suspension would have made the experience a lot less abusive and a lot more enjoyable. My tire choice couldn’t have been better. Maxxis Ardent and Ikon 2.25 tires with EXO, 3C and TR resulted in not a single flat tire over 220 miles of riding in the rockiest terrain of my life. Stellar performance. I was amazed.

How does the TS Epic compare to the Breck Epic? TS Epic is way, way, way more technical. The two don’t even compare. But at least for a singlespeeder, the Breck Epic is harder. Anything at 10,000+ feet elevation is going to be like breathing through a straw, especially when you come from lower elevation. At the end of each day in the TS Epic, you’re tired, but at least you’re still functional enough to have a couple drinks, walk around and chat with folks. At the Breck, all you want to do is go back to your abode and die. You’re useless. Completely wiped out.


Singletrack Summer Camp—there’s no better way to describe the TS Epic. It was an incredible week on the bike with challenging trails, great folks and a first-class race promotion crew who knows how to put on an unforgettable adventure on the mountain bike.

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Editor’s Note: The Angry Singlespeeder is a collection of mercurial musings from contributing editor Kurt Gensheimer. In no way do his maniacal diatribes about all things bike oriented represent the opinions of Mtbr, RoadBikeReview, or any of their employees, contractors, janitorial staff, family members, household pets, or any other creature, living or dead. You can submit questions or comments to Kurt at [email protected]. And make sure to check out Kurt’s previous columns.

About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.

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  • GW says:

    Impressive write up. My ass hurts now.

  • Tom says:

    Another good one. Any article about that much suffering and fury that makes me desperately want to be at next year’s version gets an “A” from me.

    Maybe you should think about a Milk Money for next year’s event. Keep the SS religion going, while allowing for the creeping onset of age (and widdom?).

    From your description, I’ll be the guy there next year on a 140mm 29er!

  • tyrebyter says:

    Truely, you’re an angry guy. I like that. And a fair piece of writing too.

  • rynoman03 says:

    Looks like you had a good time. I feel your pain riding technical trails on a 26″ Hardtail. You are absolutely correct when you say it will shake the teeth out of your skull.

  • Learux says:

    That was an enjoyable read.

  • Gary says:

    Maybe next year you should ride the 2014 Salsa Spearfish you reviewed,
    but as a SingleSpeed

  • GOOAAALLL! says:

    Good write up, matches my experience riding in PA. A 29er SS will still knock out your fillings, but not as bad and you’ll have a lot more line options opened up.

    A lot of the trails in that area always look underused or not riden, but mostly that’s just the nature of the forest. In some places, if a trail goes unused for over a week, the forest will reclaim it and swallow it up with thick brush and thorny stuff.

  • Scotch Hennesy says:

    Great article! I couldn’t imagine putting my body through that mental/physical torture. I’ve found myself getting pissed and screaming out loud during a race myself. Although, no where near the punsihment you were experiencing. Props to you my friend!

  • Guy Smiley says:

    Great read. Well done, especially on a SS HT 26er. We ride Rothrock a couple times a year, definitely soul crushing after a 60+ mile weekend, can’t even imagine 7 days. No wonder you got sick on the flight home that level of punishment on the body would send anyone’s immune system into the toilet.

  • jezik says:

    great article, I could not help but laugh out loud. i tend to get that pissed off when racing courses that just beat you up like that. definately inspires me to work harder,…and go on a ride!

  • some guy says:

    Excellent write up, ASS. I can’t even imagine riding in that event. Congrats on the hard-earned win!

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