Thursday, November 29, 2012

Long Time Gone

Not Forgotten,

Many things written in my head, however the AI is not with me to put my thoughts directly into this blog.  There is still the requirement that I turn the computer on and type the words.  

To make this easy for me,  I will again do a picture blog.

Iron Cross October 2012

Wilderness 101 July 2012

PA state champs 2012

Enjoying the day

Nue Champion 2012


Teaberry 2012

Gran Fondo National Championship 2012

so cute

Thanksgiving 2012

OMG he's thirteen


Beautiful Fall

Gran Fondo National Champ 2012

PA state Champ 2012

Getting it Done NUE tie Breaker


Transylvania Epic Stage Race Champion Open women
National Ultra Endurance Champion
PA State Champion
Michaux Endurance Series Champion
National Gran Fondo Champion

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Out but not down

I may have been out of the race scene for six weeks after TSE, but I wasn’t down.  Well to be honest my initial reactions to being out of action were filled with why me’s and why now’s. Well it turned out not to be dreadful.  It was pretty much the most pleasant summer I have had in years.  The rest did me wonders and now I am back at it fresher than ever.  Following is a short top ten list of my time back in the saddle:

          10.       Southern Michaux trail rides with cupcakes to get the skills back.
9.      My S works epic.  It helped soften the ride.
8.      TNW rides to get the top end running
7.      Curse of Dark Hollow, Michaux PA 1st place.  Great test of how my injury would respond to the demands of technical riding.  Thank goodness for my specialized epic.  It was a grand day of riding and hanging with friends.
6.     Wilderness 101, Coburn, PA 1st place.  Yikes, that was hard.  Again my bike was the bomb and my body responded well to the distance.
5.     Houseboats and the Allegripis Trail system.  Pure fun and enjoyment. 
4.     Rattling Creek 50, Lykens, PA 1st place.  Super fun, fast, and techy.  Best prize swag which included Toasted Head Wine. 
3.     Bear Creek, PA 1st place  PA state champion
      2.     New Hampshire 100.  Old School raw trail system, great venue, perfect B&B, a race weekend turned holiday.
      1.     Planning my trip to Fools Gold.  Cheryl Sornson - WINNER - Fresh for the EPIC battle

Monday, August 13, 2012


Some are small, chewable and manageable; others are sized for a horse and hard to swallow.  Injuries are similar to pills. This season I was given a horse pill injury to swallow.  The kind that takes awhile to fully accept how traumatic it really is.  The kind that hurts so deeply it reminds you how old you are and leaves you wondering if you’ll have to live with the pain forever.  Ok, I am exaggerating just a bit.  I did not need surgery and I wasn’t immobilized with a cast or anything, however when movement, breathing, sleeping, and a beating heart hurt it sucks.

I was in a race and went to pass a rider, however the rider turned into me rather than giving trail.  I ended up off trail to avoid collision.  Once off trail my pedal hit something and I hit the ground harder than I ever have.  It was weird because it definitely was not high speed or anything.  My head hit first and fortunately my helmet did its job but sustained life ending damage.  Next up my shoulder, upper back and hip hit the ground as I tried to roll out the fall.  As I hit all my body weight compressed and I heard this horrible CRACK.  All the oxygen left my body and could not be replaced for what seemed liked forever. 

This all happened the weekend summer officially started for me.  What a disappointing welcome I initially thought.  It turns out that it wasn’t such an unwelcome entrance. Despite my pain and worry that it wouldn’t go away, I began to feel thankful things weren’t worse.  There are far worse injuries amongst our ranks that others are dealing with or have dealt with.  Yes I would miss some key races, but it gave me the freedom to relax and enjoy the beauty of my home along with the pleasant company of my family and friends without any expectations or pressures.  I swallowed the pill, let go and allowed myself to heal in more ways than I knew I needed.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fun times

Waking up for work this morning was pretty rough.  I guess the dream I had about riding in the TSE epic, winning three stages and taking the overall wasn't just a dream after all.  It is a strange feeling when 7 days of racing your mountain bike are over and you return to the normal routine of life.  My normal routine does involve bike riding, but not to the extent of last week.  I am now back to being a mother, back to being a wife, back to caring for my two dogs, back to work, and back to all the other details of life off the bike.  As hard as the racing was it was a treat to only focus on one thing.  I treasure the time I spent at the TSE meeting new people, pushing my limits, and enjoying an extremely well run event.  Big kudos to Ray Adams and Mike Kuhn. 

photo credit TSE

We all won last week.  Congrats to all and a big congrats to my teammate Kaitlyn Broadhurst.  You are a huge inspiration to us all.  Keep rocking sister! 

photo credit TSE

Next up will be Lumberjack 100.  Until then I'll be recovering with some serious couch time!

Conquering the mind

One more day

Trans-Sylvania Epic, Stage 6: Rothrock Tussey Mountain

Conquering the mind

Well its down to one more day. I can definitely say I am ready for it. It has been a tough week. Probably more mentally than physically.

My body is sore and tired, but my mind is extremely tired. It is such a battle to put yourself in the mindset to crush yourself each day. It could be so easy to let the sensibility of the mind allow you to slow down.

"Yo, ya know you really don't have to ride that fast. It hurts you fool, slow down. No, No don't you dare go after that wheel.".

I beat my mind down and stayed focused for the course. I won the stage today and continue to keep the leader's jersey. .
Jeb and Molly have been the local mascots all week
We missed the storms during today's ride, but will pay for it with sunshine and MUD tomorrow. Mountain biking is so much fun!.

Our camp has had two mascots all week: Jeb and Molly. So calming to reach down to pet them and allow them to remind you how simple and fun life can be. .

Off to bed. Sweet dreams...

Cheryl Sornson may have the GC locked up
Cheryl Sornson may have the GC locked up
Photo: © AELandes Photography

Up, coffee, feed, gather, race, rinse, repeat

Up, coffee, feed, gather, race, rinse, repeat

Trans-Sylvania Epic, Stage 5: R.B. Winter State Park

In the groove at the Trans-Sylvania Epic


That was the subject line of an e-mail from my husband, Lee. HMMM, wonder what that is about. Well it turns out that the cherry trees on our property are booming with lovely yummy cherries. I miss home.

Hump day is over, and I am excited about the last few days of this race. It has been a tough one. I know that I am a strong rider, but it is hard to accept that I am elite enough to be where I am right now. I truly have to fight back thoughts of not belonging and only being lucky. Some of the other ladies have some pretty impressive backgrounds that give them a fighting edge. I hope to be aggressive and competitive enough to pull this through.

However, I bet no other rider got a phone call and an e-mail from their 12-year-old son to discuss the pros and cons joining band or chorus next year in school. He is not feeling it and this Mom believes it to be important. Recently he has gotten the mountain bike bug and is all about it. It could be easy to let riding and competing take over your life. I like balance.

Yesterday's stage took some fight out of all of us. It was supposed to be a little lighter, but it took a lot of energy. People are tired and sore. It was also a lot of mud to deal with. Sorry bike and mechanics.

The routine of stage racing is taking over and draining as well. Up, coffee, feed, gather, sign in, race your heart out, rinse, repeat. It's the rinsing and repeating that is the toughest. Although we here at the CF compound have some luxuries there are some that are missing like a laundry. Should have spent that extra dime on the service. Fortunately the sting of the race is soothed with the summer camp atmosphere and attitude of all involved. Especially that Ray Adams character, all you have to do is look at his shirt and your reminded that this is vacation. The venues always offer a lake or pond to cool the stress of the race and tell war stories with your comrades. It truly is a summer camp for mountain bikers. Definitely worth the week off of work.
    Mechanics Shane and Matt stay up late to take care of Team CF's bikes during the Trans-Sylvania Epic
I again have to give kudos to our mechanics. They have been dealing with a lot of bikes. There has been broken wheels, broken bikes, tires to change and everything else thrown in between. While I'm tucked in for the night they are still working. They always wake up with a smile and never complain of their chores. We are very lucky to have Shane and Matt taking care of us.

Well today I broke the curse and took the stage win and added five minutes on my overall GC lead. I hooted and hollered when I crossed the line. Thankfully Zach Adams was there to share in my short lived glory. Oh and our sweet Kaitlyn again finished a stage. Truly inspirational.

Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) extended her lead
Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) extended her lead

Photo: © AELandes Photography

Slipping and sliding around Raystown

Trans-Sylvania Epic, Stage 4: Raystown Lake

Keeping the GC lead during a slick stage 4

We woke up to beaytiful skies and cool temperatures. Too bad it rained like hell last night.

Muddy girls after stage 4
Muddy girls after stage 4
Photo credit © Jennifer Smith

Raystown was slick today. I never equated those trails with mud, but now I know. It made for more resistance, lots of slippy sliding, and a total mud bath for body and bike.

Regardless of the mess, the trials at Raystown provide lots of fun twisty pump track style terrain that puts a smile on your face. Well that is until the momentum ends and the course sends you up a grassy climb.

I continue to hold the leaders jersey, but lost about 15 seconds to Sue Haywood. She won the stage by pulling a great super D finish. It is sort of a repeating story. I hope to make it different tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a short stage, but a technical one that will wear you out.

Kaitlyn (Team CF) speaks about her team and what it's like to race with cystic fibrosis
Kaitlyn (Team CF) speaks about her team and what it's like to race with cystic fibrosis

Our Epic team, Team CF, continues in first place with key rider Kaitlyn finishing yet another stage. Her rides are much more exciting than ours. Today our team mechanics teamed up with her for her last lap around Raystown. They had a blast. She has been absolutely amazing. She is so full of life and keeps us all smiling. At awards tonight she talked to the crowd about how our team was created and why. Most importantly she discussed how important it is for those with CF to exercise in order to keep their lungs functioning properly. She thanked the bicycling community for their support and she is proud to be a part of it.

The women's podium on the Raystown Lake stage
The women's podium on the Raystown Lake stage

A measured approach

A measured approach

Trans-Sylvania Epic, Stage 3: Bald Eagle Coburn

Day 3 proves tough but there's plenty left in the tank

Spin, Spin, Spin… Today involved a lot of pedaling. It was a road stage for sure. It involved scenic country gravel, pavement and some singletrack mixed in. A dry day, but the sun was out in full force turning the heat on us.

I woke up feeling a bit uneasy. I wasn’t sure what the day would have in store. Fortunately, I got a good start and settled out with only Sue Haywood. Another day of us working it out together was in store. We were able to work with a group and then in the last five miles we took off together and wished for the finish to be soon.

Time for some post race recovery
Time for some post race recovery
The finish included a bit of downhill singletrack where Sue was able to put the hammer down on me. I stayed close and finished a few seconds back. Would have been nice to win the stage, but I did defend the leaders jersey. I hope to be able to do the same tomorrow. I’m getting tired as I am sure we all are. Today, although we raced I do believe I was able to conserve a bit to put out later in the week. Each day left includes some technical, skilled riding. I’ll need to be focused and recover well.

Lots of cool happenings around Camp CF. Today is Dr. Jim Wilson’s birthday (he is the founder of team CF). We helped him celebrate with Little Debbie’s shortcake rollups. He celebrated his birthday with a third place finish today in the Men’s 50+ category. Our Epic Team is also in first place.

Dr. Jim Wilson celebrates his birthday
Dr. Jim Wilson celebrates his birthday

  • Team CF on top
    Team CF on top

    Kaitlyn has finished each stage so far and our mechanics continue to do an awesome job keeping up with all the bikes and working the feed zones each day.

    A wet rocks kind of day

    A wet rocks kind of a day

    Trans-Sylvania Epic, Stage 2: Rothrock Cooper’s Gap
    Sornson races to stage win and takes over lead on day 2

    It rained hard last night. I tried not to think about it. My teammate got a message from her coach this morning: "Have fun in the mud." Oh boy here we go...

    And wet it was. Every rock was slick with rain and its own sweat. Yes, it was steamy hot today as well. Stage 2 treated us to a 42-mile jaunt through rocky lushness with some road thrown in. At the start, I was able to get a jump, but as soon as we got into the singletrack, Sue Haywood came up on me.

    We rode together for most of the day until I was able to shake her at around mile 28. I wasn't sure I had it in me. She is riding really strong these days and her wet rock riding skills are amazing. I guess mine aren't that bad either.

    I'm really stoked to have won the stage and take over the leader's jersey. I will do my best to keep riding strong, but each day holds something different, and we all have different strengths. There is still so much left, and these ladies have sweet smiles attached to very strong legs.

    Good morning from the Trans-Sylvania Epic

                                                   Good morning from the Trans-Sylvania Epic

    My Specialized Epic was the perfect choice for today. Thanks to team CF's mechanics Shane and Matt, it ran flawlessly. They are our lifeline this week. Even kids in the campground are leaving their bikes for tune-ups from these guys.

    Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) is now in the lead of the women's race after a storming ride in today's stage.

    Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) is now in the lead of the women's race after a storming ride in today's stage.

    Photo: © AELandes Photography

    So close in the prologue

    So close in the prologue

    Looking forward to longer stages
    Cheryl Sornson's home for the week at the Trans-Sylvania Epic
    Cheryl Sornson's home for the week at the Trans-Sylvania Epic

    TSE has lots of options. Not only are there different categories to race depending on the experience you want, there are also many different lodging options. They range from home-sweet-home for those that are local, cozy little cabins, not so cozy littler cabins, rustic cabins, bunk lodges, RVs, and then there is the hardcore in tents. Team CF finds itself in a cozy little cabin.

    One of your team members, Kaitlyn Broadhurst, who lives with CF, is riding on an Epic Team. This week is a great challenge for Kaitlyn, and she is stoked to take it on. A documentary is being made about her journey. Some footage was taken while she trained with Kristen Gavin (Team CF Elite) back home in Philadelphia. The remainder of the footage will be taken here at the race. The camera man is only able to film on Wednesday, so until then, Kaitlyn is outfitted with Go Pro cameras and will film some footage directly from her perspective. Pretty cool.

    Today was the first stage, which was a 11+ mile time trial. It was pretty darn hard to say the least. It had all kinds of things thrown in: road, singletrack climbs, rocky twisty singletrack, fast descents, wet muck, and even a bit of a trials course. I skipped out on the tricks. I saw Sue Haywood ride the big tire mound. Sweet.

    I rode as well as I could, but it is hard to keep the 'I should have ridden harder here or there' out of my head. As I write this I do not know the results. I believe it will be close. [Cheryl finished second to Sue Haywood by three seconds - ed.] Lots of riding ahead of us and looking forward to a longer stage tomorrow.

    Kaitlyn Broadhurst and the Team CF Epic TeamKaitlyn Broadhurst and the Team CF Epic Team

    Kaitlyn Broadhurst and her Go Pro camera equipment.Kaitlyn Broadhurst and her Go Pro camera equipment.

    Pre-Race monkey brain

    Pre-race monkey brain

    Sornson gears up for an epic, week-long MTB stage race
    As I sit here I am unsure what to do. So what do I decide? Let us begin this thing.
    The Trans-Sylvania Epic (TSE) is consuming much of my brain right now. Mostly with things such as "I have to remember this or that"; "I have this to do before..."; "I can't forget to do this when I get back..."; "I also agreed to blog, what was I thinking!"; "I'm never this much of wreck prior to 100s"; "Am I just freaking out due to my poor luck last weekend, duh that's only part of it...Top notch women's field to line up for Trans-Sylvania Epic is the main part".
    All will be so much better once work is behind me, I'm on the road, and the race begins. It will be such an exciting week.
    Of course, someone will win and the others will appear to have lost, but I don't think that will be the case at TSE. There will be no losers and only great memorable times shared.
    The racing will be hard, competitive and will bring out the best in us all.
    I'll let ya know how it goes.

    Cheryl Sornson's bikes get some love ahead of the Trans-Sylvania Epic

    Cheryl Sornson's bikes get some love ahead of the Trans-Sylvania Epic
    Cheryl Sornson's Trans-Sylvania Epic Blog
    Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) is racing the 2012 Trans-Sylvania Epic in and around State College, Pennsylvania. Seven days of racing will change things up for her usual 100-miler and other one-day endurance events.
    Stay tuned here on Cyclingnews to follow the adventures of Sornson as she takes on a top-notch elite women's endurance field through the mountains of Central Pennsylvania.
    The Trans-Sylvania Epic runs from Sunday, May 27 to until Saturday, June 2.

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

    A Family Outing

    The Sornson’s made the trip to Iron Hill this past weekend.  I will tell this story in pictures.


    Good times, Great Memories!

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    Drive, Cohutta, Drive, Maximus

    This past weekend proved to be glorious.  I know that I have a winner’s high, but I do believe that even without a double win I’d still be singing its praises.  The weather, the long yet painless drive, the beautiful scenery in the Cherokee National Forest, the flow of buff and rocky single track trails, and all of the truly amazing people tipped the scale and put me in awe of life itself.
    It was slated to be a long weekend and I knew I needed to concentrate on one moment at a time.  It was ambitious, maybe warped, but totally doable.  For the second year in a row my dear friend Roger, my husband Lee and myself would drive to TN on Thursday, Pre-ride on Friday, Race Cohutta 100 on Saturday, drive back to Pa Saturday thru Sunday, then race the Michaux Maximus on Sunday.  Fortunately, my husband was only joy riding all weekend and not racing so we could count on him for the most evil driving shifts.  He is a saint!
    I was nervous about what was to come on Saturday due to the distance and climbing.  I had yet to do any such numbers this year.  Having prepared with a lot of hard work, all that was left was to let go and believe. I had to trust that my body would respond.
    The start of the race was very fast and sketchy up the paved road.  There were hand bumps and tires rubbing.  Fortunately we all stayed upright.  There was a bit of a match to get into the single track, but after some elbowing I was able to place myself directly where I wanted to be.  I felt very comfortable and not at all fatigued from the effort of the sprint to the trail.  Pushing back the urge to go too fast I hung back a bit and rode conservatively until the first fire road climb.  Once on the fire road I notched up my speed and got into a good climbing rhythm.  It was enough to form a gap between myself and the other women.
    I continued on and used other competitors as gauges to how I was holding up.  As long as I was passing and not being passed I was good.  Getting encouragement and giving encouragement from and to the other riders helped along the way as well.  I did my best to stay motivated by staying in the moment.  Using the course description and elevation profile, I chunked the course off by sections and as each section was complete I gave myself a pat on the back.  I knew that not one section could crush me. They were temporary and would eventually end.  Once I crossed the last bridge of the last single track and headed towards the road I looked over my shoulder and then knew it was mine.  A crushing sense of relief engulfed me.  All the bottled up emotions I did my best to squelch over the last 8.5 hours came rushing up.  Staying motivated and positive and not allowing dark gremlin thoughts to enter my mind took its toll.  But I conquered it and now I could let it go.
    It was now time to consider the next moment.  Be there for awards, clean up, pack up and head back to PA.  We were able to leave TN around 6pm.  Arriving home in PA about 3:30 am, we did some quick gear shuffle and then napped for about 2 hours.  When we woke from our naps we were pleasantly greeted with sunshine, a true rarity for the Maximus.  Despite the lack of good sleep and the tired feeling in my legs my spirits could not be brighter at the start of Sundays race.  It was so good to see all the smiles on the racers faces.  We all knew deep down that this was going to be a great day and we were in for a truly special Michaux treat.  The trails were in spectacular condition and the race promoters strung together a sweet loop that included some old school routes.  It was dreamy.  I felt a little sluggish at first, but soon found a groove.  I could not believe how much fun I was having.  Once finished I was gushing with good vibe and smiling huger than ever.  I was not alone in my feelings.  People in every direction were in good spirits and loving the day.
    A huge thanks goes out to all who rooted for me and sent positive things my way.  I am also extremely humbled by all the wishes of congrats.  You are all so awesome.
    A congrats goes out to my two teammates Kristen and Nikki for completing their firs 100 miler and for coming in 3rd and 5th place.  Additional congrats goes to Christian for his second place ride and Cary for his 6th place finish.  Team CF rocks!

    Thursday, April 19, 2012

    Michaux Trail Cup

    camp trail near finish
    photo credit:  Chris Heershap
    Wow! What a weekend. I went into it with no definite plans or expectations. The weather looked good so there were many options. It was a nice slow day on Saturday. Got lots of loose ends tied and completed a run and ride according to plan. All was done with no time restrictions or with any sense of urgency. This doesn't happen often for me, so I was enjoying it immensely. Later in the day I was expecting Karen Potter who was traveling from Mass. to race in the Michaux Trail Cup near my home. I was playing host, but had yet decided if I was going to play along on race day with her. I knew it would be a good tune up for what's to come, but I was really enjoying no pre-race thoughts or pressure. Ok, I thought, I'll race, but I'm not going to get worked up over it. I will just let my body do what it does best and not force it. I never felt so calm before a race. It was strange.
    powerline climb
    photo credit:  Tori Sulewski
    I know the area, but I had not done a Michaux race promoted by Zach Adams. Not knowing which trails or what direction he planned to torture us had my curiosity peaked. It turned out to be a good course and very different from the summer race of the Michaux Endurance Series, which is held in the same area. Zach had us riding trails I normally don't ride, trails I ride in a different direction and he also added in some fire roads that I had not ridden in a long time or probably never before. It was refreshing and fun to do something totally different in an area I ride often. Endless possibilities of mountain bike bliss, is what makes Michaux, well Michaux.

    The Michaux Trail Cup offered up lots of rocky singletrack that required focus, climbs that challenged your guts, and descents that made it all worthwhile. For not expecting much out of the weekend, I ended up with more than I could have ever conjured up to expect. I felt amazing riding my bike during the race. It all clicked. I was so psyched to be pushing the pace without feeling turned inside out. After a 2 minute separation from the open men, the ladies started together. On the first descent I caught up to some men and started passing. Soon Gerry Pflug came by me and I thought to myself, “I'm gonna hang with him as long as I can”. My grit to hang continued for most of the race. What fun. Another highlight was passing by my son and husband while they were out riding. Lee exclaimed, "Your 4th overall, you’re killing it baby!" Then Levi gave me a fist bump.
    creative podium
    photo credit:  karen Potter
    I had no idea I was that far ahead. I didn't really remember passing that many people. Eventually, I faded a little behind Gerry but he and I had managed to pass one more to come in 2nd and 3rd overall. Gerry was first SS and I was first female. A very exhilarating day for the memory bank!

    I encourage everyone to come and enjoy the trails at Michaux state forest.  There are three more mountain bike events scheduled this year that, from experience, will not disappoint.  Check out Race Michaux to learn more about the Michaux Endurance Series.  It is held in the spring (northern michaux), summer (central michaux), and fall (southern michaux).  Each race is unique and is held in a different area of the forest and does not repeat any trails.  Hope to see you out there.

     Till next time....