Bishop and Sornson win NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic

Cheryl Sornson and Selene Yeager finish the lap around the lake to finish the Trans-Sylvania Epic

Cheryl Sornson and Selene Yeager finish the lap around the lake to finish the Trans-Sylvania Epic

Bishop and Sornson win NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic

McElveen and Shields earn best young rider titles

TRANS-SYLVANIA, PA (May 31, 2014) – For some, the 26-mile final stage of the NoTubes’ Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race presented by Dirt Rag was a party day. But for race leaders and overall podium contenders, today was for the final hours of serious racing before riders crossed the finish line and collapsed with exhaustion.

The day also saw a Spectator Spectacle section of the course, complete with a full blow-up arch over the rocky singletrack trail and plenty of hecklers, some in costume, there to cheer on racers throughout the day.

Finally, though, the race was over and Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) and Cheryl Sornson (Rare Disease Cycling) were crowned overall winners in the elite men’s and elite women’s categories while Bishop and Selene Yeager (Rare Disease Cycling) celebrated the final day’s stage wins.

Jeremiah Bishop rolls down a rocky descent through the last stage of the Trans-Sylvania Epic

Jeremiah Bishop rolls down a rocky descent through the last stage of the Trans-Sylvania Epic

Elite men

For a man who professed that today’s stage would be a bit of a relaxed-pace victory lap, Jeremiah Bishop was clearly working hard, first with the lead group, and then attacking on a climb mid-way and soloing to an impressive finish.

“It was just one of those things,” he said. “I thought people would have fun, ride quick and maybe sprint to the finish, but Cole [Oberman] attacked from the gun. I was hurting, so bad. I made the lead group, but barely.”

After Nick Waite (ProTested Gear) began attacking, Bishop again struggled to stay in the lead group. But following the checkpoint, when they again hit more singletrack, he started to feel good.

“On a climb, the diesel kicked in, and I wanted to put some pressure on these guys and ride my pace,” said Bishop. “But my pace ended up being faster.” So Bishop went and was never seen again.

Behind him, the under 25 Rare Disease Cycling rider Cole Oberman battled with NoTube’s Ben Sonntag for second place, and while Oberman’s gap seemed solid six miles from the finish, Sonntag was able to overtake him and snatch second place.

Behind Oberman, past winner Justin Lindine (Redline) came back from a bad luck streak to take fourth place, leading the chase group containing Waite and Spencer Paxson (Kona).

The riders head through he landscapes of the ferns and trees of Stage 7

The riders head through he landscapes of the ferns and trees of Stage 7

Bishop took the overall victory — his 12th consecutive North American stage race win — after leading for all seven days of the race. It was the fourth time he won the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic – he is undefeated here.

“I had good luck,” said Bishop. “It’s unbelievable. It feels great to be done!”

Behind him in the final classification, his training partner Waite claimed second while Paxson took third. Sonntag and Oberman rounded out the top five.

Unfortunately, Kris Sneddon (Kona), who was sitting third overall with one stage remaining, was unable to contend today’s stage due to illness.  He withdrew from today’s stage and therefore dropped out of the standings entirely.

Elite women

Selene Yeager (Rare Disease Cycling) earned her first stage win of the week, coming in with teammate and race leader Cheryl Sornson.  Although it wasn’t part of the pre-race plan, the two found themselves together all day, and while Sornson had a comfortable lead in the overall standings, Yeager was motivated to make sure that her third place overall was secure, since she had entered the stage with only four minutes on yesterday’s stage winner Mary McConneloug (Kenda/NoTubes).

Selene Yeager in a loamy descent as she goes onto win the stage

Selene Yeager in a loamy descent as she goes onto win the stage

“I was the only one who had anything to lose this morning,” Yeager said. “I figured I could hold it, but things happen. I was just going to stay with Mary, but I was feeling really good, so I thought I had better just go, in case I flatted or something. Then I saw Cheryl and we stayed together, and that’s all she wrote!”

“It wasn’t a plan,” Sornson said. “It just kind of worked out.”

“We knew we had a gap so figured we should just go,” Yeager said.

Behind the two, Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes) finished solo in third, and McConneloug came in for fourth, and while NoTubes’ racer Sarah Kaufmann suffered a mechanical, she was able to hold her overall position.

In the final standings, Sornson won while Barclay stayed comfortably in second place overall and Yeager maintained her lead over McConneloug for third overall, with Kaufmann in fifth.

“I didn’t come in expecting to win, it wasn’t easy, and I am more than thrilled,” a beaming Sornson said.

Emily Shields rolls through the local heckle pit in the middle of the Stage 7

Emily Shields rolls through the local heckle pit in the middle of the Stage 7

U25 men and women

Cole Oberman (Rare Disease Cycling) exploded from the line, gunning for a stage win this morning.

“I couldn’t help it,” he later said, citing his animal instincts.  After all, after six stages of go-go-go, it’s hard to remind your legs to take it easy. He earned second overall in the final stage, and took the BMC Under 25 men’s stage win over his main competitor, Payson McElveen (Richard’s Rainwater MTB Racing).

“It’s been great feeling my legs the past three days,” Oberman said. “After that next gravel climb, I tried to be first on the trail, and Ben Sonntag and I just battled the rest of the way in, but he ended up getting me on this last little bit of singletrack.”

Despite Oberman’s steady rise in the ranking among the elite men, and his stage win on Thursday, it wasn’t enough to wrest the BMC Under 25 title from McElveen. And so, in the final under 25 men’s standings, McElveen’s victory was secured after leading for seven days, while Oberman comfortably took second place. Behind them, Cameron Dodge (Pure Energy Scott Elite Team) and Cory Rimmer finished third and fourth, respectively.

“I’m really happy to be done,” said McElveen. “Today was tough mentally because I already had a big lead and I had trouble motivating. I actually cramped before the start — I was so done today!”

This has been McElveen’s longest stage race, and he’s already thinking about next year — and coming back to try for the elite men’s overall title.

Earlier in the week, the under 25 women’s race was the only category that had any movement in it, starting with Ellen Noble (Bear Development Team) in the lead, then Kaysee Armstrong (Kona/TBB Race), and finally, on Wednesday, a win by Emily Shields (BMC Project Dirt) that kept her out front for the rest of the week.

Today’s final BMC Under 25 women’s race was no different, and Shields again took the win. This was also her first stage race, and only her second season of mountain biking, and not only has did she win among the under 25 women, but she finished an impressive sixth overall in the elite women’s classification.

Two riders on the fern lined trails near the campground section of Stage 7

Two riders on the fern lined trails near the campground section of Stage 7

“It was pretty exhausting,” a tired Shields said. “I was just trying to be done!”

Behind her in the race, Armstrong  came in for second, with  Noble in third. The positions for the overall standings remained unchanged for the young women, with Shields taking the overall title, followed by Armstrong and Noble.

“I thought it would be closer,” Shields said, still surprised at her overall win. “I’ve never done anything like this at all! But this week has been amazing, it’s been a great race and great practice for starts especially, since we start hard with the men every day!”

Enduro

In the final SRAM Enduro segment of the race, Colt McElwaine upset the field with a first place finish that was 30 seconds faster than second place finisher Tristan Uhl (787 Racing). The stage win was not enough to shake up the overall standings, as Uhl held the overall lead to win the men’s competition. Aaron Snyder (TSEpic.com/NoTubes) finished second in the competition, with Michael Broderick (Kenda/NoTubes) just 45 points behind in third place.

Ellen Noble (Bear Development Team) took the stage 7 win in the women’s competition, with a finishing time 21 seconds faster than second place Carolyn Popovic. However, Popovic came out as the winner of the enduro competition with a substantial points lead. Kaysee Armstrong (Kona/TVB Race) was second overall, while Mary McConneloug rounded out the podium in third.

Justin Lindine cleans the rock garden on the Bear Creek East Coast Rocks segment

Justin Lindine cleans the rock garden on the Bear Creek East Coast Rocks segment

East Coast Rocks

After taking a 13-second lead yesterday in the Bear Creek East Coast Rocks competition, Michael Broderick (Kenda/NoTubes) fell back to second place as Cody Phillips (Felt Factory Enduro Team) put in an incredible effort to win the overall competition by 22 seconds. Michael Wissell (B2C2/Boloco) finished in third for the timed competition.

In the women’s field, Mary McConneloug (Kenda/NoTubes) held on to her strong lead to win the overall competition, while Elizabeth Allen (Danielson Adventure Sports) finished in second and Carolyn Popovic (Rare Disease Cycling) ended up in third.

Singlespeed

In the final stage of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic, the singlespeed class decided to ride the stage casually as opposed to putting in typical race efforts. As a result, all of the singlespeeders finished the stage within 10 seconds of each other, with Chris Merriam in first, Scott Smith (TVB Race/Tomato Head) in second, and John Merriam (Crosshairs Cycling) in third.

With no changes in the overall standings resulting from today’s stage, “The Angry Singlespeeder” Kurt Gensheimer (Ibis) remained the singlespeed winner of the 2014 Trans-Sylvania Epic. Rich Dillen (Faster Mustache) finished second in the seven-day race, trailing Gensheimer by half an hour, while Smith finished in third.

Mike Festa and Craig Lebair roll across the finishing line of Stage 7

Mike Festa and Craig Lebair roll across the finishing line of Stage 7

Other categories

Nathan Goates rode strong to take the BikeFlights.com Masters 40+ stage win on the last day of the Trans-Sylvania Epic. In another late-race effort, Javier Lopez (Rock Mountain Bike Life) followed close behind the leader to finish second, trailing Goates by only seven seconds. David Thompson (Cycle Smart) took third place for the day.

Nathan Ruch (Pure Energy Scott Elite Team) came into the final stage with a substantial lead in the overall standings. The lead proved unbeatable today, allowing Ruch to take the overall victory in the BikeFlights.com Masters 40+ field. Steve Mee finished second in the overall standings, while Lopez’s strong performance boosted him from fourth to third in the overall competition.

After his disappointing disqualification in 2013, Jim Matthews (Toasted Head Racing) returned this year to the Masters 50+ field dedicated to redeeming last year’s error. Matthews put in a strong effort to win the final stage by 13 minutes over second place Rick Landry (speedriver.com). Adam Linstedt finished in third place just a minute and a half after Landry.

With strong performances all week, Matthews held a substantial lead throughout the week to win the overall Masters 50+ competition. Despite a weaker result on the final stage, Hawkins retained his second place overall position, while Landry finished the week in third place.

Daily video coverage

Visit the following link for stage 7’s daily video coverage: http://bcove.me/z8bhyhv2.

The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic presented by Dirt Rag Magazine is made possible with the generous support of BMC,Pactimo,Hammer Nutrition, Red Bull, Purple Lizard and Freeze Thaw Cycles.

For more information, visit OutdoorExperience.org orTSEpic.com; find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TransSylvaniaEpic; or follow us on Twitter @TransSylvania, #TSEpic, #TS3 and #TSEnduro.

Nick Waite rolls through the green singletrack trail in Stage 7

Nick Waite rolls through the green singletrack trail in Stage 7

Cheryl Sornson in the peloton leading out on the crushed gravel towards the singletrack

Cheryl Sornson in the peloton leading out on the crushed gravel towards the singletrack

Jeremiah Bishop and Cole Oberman lead the pack off of the line of the Stage 7

Jeremiah Bishop and Cole Oberman lead the pack off of the line of the Stage 7

Liz Allen has a homemade rocket pack costume on for the Stage 7

Liz Allen has a homemade rocket pack costume on for the Stage 7

Andres Correa and Juan Ernesto Champsaur, racers from Panama, at the finish line of the Trans-Sylvania Epic

Andres Correa and Juan Ernesto Champsaur, racers from Panama, at the finish line of the Trans-Sylvania Epic

Jeremiah Bishop talks with other racers after finishing the Trans-Sylvania Epic

Jeremiah Bishop talks with other racers after finishing the Trans-Sylvania Epic

Mike Hebe finishes the end of Stage 7 around the campground lake

Mike Hebe finishes the end of Stage 7 around the campground lake

Selene Yeager pulls ahead of Cheryl Sornson to get the Stage 7 win

Selene Yeager pulls ahead of Cheryl Sornson to get the Stage 7 win

A string of racers pull through the finishing arch of the final stage of the Trans-Sylvania Epic

A string of racers pull through the finishing arch of the final stage of the Trans-Sylvania Epic

Kurt Gensheimer with a placard in his spokes near the heckle pit

Kurt Gensheimer with a placard in his spokes near the heckle pit

David Cook falls on the rock garden on the final singletrack section of Stage 7

David Cook falls on the rock garden on the final singletrack section of Stage 7

Barry Croker descends a gravel road in sight of a valley backdrop

Barry Croker descends a gravel road in sight of a valley backdrop

Cheryl Sornson exits the Tower Trail to the gravel descent

Cheryl Sornson exits the Tower Trail to the gravel descent

An open section of the course leads the riders back into the singletrack

An open section of the course leads the riders back into the singletrack

The riders head through he landscapes of the ferns and trees of Stage 7

The riders head through he landscapes of the ferns and trees of Stage 7

Justin Lindine cleans the rock garden on the Bear Creek East Coast Rocks segment

Justin Lindine cleans the rock garden on the Bear Creek East Coast Rocks segment

Justin Lindine descends a dusty gravel road before turning into singletrack

Justin Lindine descends a dusty gravel road before turning into singletrack

 

 

 

 

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