May 26, 2013
Spring Mills, Pa.
The fourth edition of the Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic presented by DirtRag began today with picturesque weather and ideal trail conditions. The riders raced through the 14 mile NoTubes Individual Time Trial in Bald Eagle State Forest in sunny, 60 degree temperatures and dry, tacky trails. The course took riders through a variety of terrain, from gravel roads, to rocky descents and freshly cut, serpentine trails.
With three-time champion Jeremiah Bishop deciding not to race this year, the Open Men’s field became an even tougher race as riders fought for the previously dominated top podium spot. Commenting on the talent in the 2013 field, Justine Lindine (Redline) stated that he was competing against “Six or seven guys who are pretty tightly matched.” Though he acknowledges the threat many riders pose, Lindine was able to secure his lead in the Time Trial with a confident and impressive 1:00:19, putting him over one minute ahead of runner-up Brain Matter (ProGold) in the standings and securing the NoTubes Leader Jersey provided by Pactimo. Lindine hopes to build on his lead through the remaining stages despite his history of misfortune at the TSE in recent years. On his past mechanical issues, Lindine comments, “I think last year I spent eight miles riding a flat tire just to make it to the aid station. Knock on wood, I’d like to avoid that kind of calamity this year.” Local Aaron Snyder (TSEpic Team) also showed a strong performance as he overtook Drew Edsall (Kenda/Felt) with only two miles left in the course. Snyder’s aggressive ride placed him in third, only three minutes behind leader Justin Lindine.
In the Open Women’s field, the racers faced the formidable and dominating presence of the Stan’s NoTubes Women’s Elite team, which secured the top three podium positions for the day. Amanda Carey (Stan’s NoTubes Women’s Elite Team) won first place with her 1:12:29 ride while Sarah Kaufmann (Stan’s NoTubes Women’s Elite Team) and Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Women’s Elite Team) took second and third, respectively. Kaufmann and Barclay showed very comparable form, separated by a mere 16 seconds in the standings. Favored rider Sue Haywood broke her saddle during the race and lost just short of eight minutes to leader Carey, resulting in a fifth place finish. Sonya Looney (Topeak Ergon) experienced a similarly difficult day and would later describe her sixth place finish as a “rough stage.”
Despite the over 1400 feet of elevation gain in the stage, the top three finishers in the Singlespeed class finished within two minutes of the race leader. Dax Massey (Breck Epic/Honey Stinger/Light and Motion) finished first with a time of 1:09:21. But Massey’s finish hardly gives him a large time cushion, as runner-up Matt Ferrari (FreezeThaw/Hubcap Cycles) placed second with only a nine second deficit. Dejay Birtch (Ride for Reading/Stan’s/Maxxis/Pivot) clocked a time of 1:11:21 to secure third place. With today’s close time gaps, the Singlespeed category is sure to be extremely competitive in the coming stages.
The last of the Duo Men’s teams out of the start, Mike Festa and Craig Lebair (Philadelphia Ciclismo) fought hard for their sub-1:12:40 finish time. But despite passing four of their competing teams during the time trial, they did not have enough speed to beat first place finishers Jon Firth and Drew Simson (TransRockies/Honeystinger/Planet Foods). Firth and Simson finished almost three minutes ahead of the Philadelphia Ciclismo duo, and almost nine minutes ahead of third place finishers Matt Johnson and Anthony Sanson (Racing for Riley/Summit City Bikes). In the Duo Coed race, Lawrence Plug and Kaarin Tae (Java Blend) finished in first place, only a minute and a half ahead of Chris Merriam and Libbey Sheldon (Crosshairs Cycling).
With an 8th place finish in the Open Men’s category, 21 year-old Madison Matthews (The Bicycle Shop/MBR/Maxxis) finished in an impressive 1:07:00 to take the BMC U25 leader’s jersey. Only three minutes behind, Cory Rimmer (Piney Flats Bicycles/Dean Endurance) took the second place finish, while Logan Taylor (Kelpius Cycling & Logan Taylor) finished third. The woman’s BMC U25 leader’s jersey was awarded to Donna Miller (TSEpic Team).
The closest race of the day goes to the Masters 40+ field, where the top three finishers were separated by only 21 seconds. Chris Cyr (Bikeman.com) took first place by a mere three seconds over Nathan Ruch (Evolution). Alex Hawkins crossed the line in third, finishing in 1:12:26. In the Masters 50+ race, local rider Jim Matthews finished first with a time of 1:12:15. John Williams finished five minutes behind to take the second podium spot, and Jack Dalzell (Team CF-Ohio) rounded out the third podium position.
Unique to the Trans-Sylvania Epic, the Epic Team category enables riders to construct teams of two to five riders to focus on fun and camaraderie while competing in a GC event. While any and all team members may start any combination of stages, the Epic Team category requires at just one team member to finish a stage each day to compete in the GC competition. In the Epic Team category, Cycle-Smart finished first in the day with the winning time posted by Alec Donahue and supported by David Thompson.
In the Enduro competition wherein a daily leader’s jersey is awarded based on timed downhill segments, the SRAM/Bear Creek men’s leader’s jersey was awarded to Zachary Adams (Toasted Head Racing), while the women’s leader jersey went to Rhonda Pearce. Due to minor, and now corrected, complications with the scoring process, all riders will enter Stage 2 tied in standings for the Enduro competition.
With the first day of racing wrapped up, riders now look forward to Stage 2, presented by Answer. The 36-mile stage will take riders through the beautiful, yet unforgiving, Cooper’s Gap area of Rothrock State Forest. With 4925 feet of elevation gain, and two SRAM/Bear Creek Enduro segments, the course will be sure to mix up the GC results and will test even the most experienced riders.
Aaron Snyder of the NoTubes TSEpic Team rode his BMC to third in the opening time trial.
Amanda Carey (Stan’s NoTubes) took home the victory in the women’s TT with teammates Sarah Kaufmann and Vicki Barclay just behind.
Dax Massey, a former duo racer at Trans-Sylvania, is back in the SS category and squeaked out the win in the SS category riding for Honey Stinger/Breck Epic.
Master’s racer and State College local Jim Matthews began his defense of the 50+ Title with a commanding win in the ITT.
Today’s stage winner, Redline’s Justin Lindine put bad luck in the rearview mirror and took out the first leader’s jersey of the race.
Madison Matthews of State College followed his dad Jim’s lead and brought a second leader’s jersey to the Matthews household with a win in the U25 TT.
Freeze Thaw’s Matt Ferrari is a mere nine seconds behind Massey in the SS category after stage 1.
This rider, immersed in the greenery of the first few hundred meters of the stage, is one of a crew of Panamanians who made the trip to this year’s Trans-Sylvania Epic.
Zach Adams (Toasted Head Racing) is the first recipient of the SRAM/Bear Creek Enduro Leader’s Jersey.