Day 2—Cooper’s Gap presented by Answer Products
May 27, 2013
Spring Mills, Pa.
Two years of frustrating stages and mechanical disasters were put behind him as Justine Lindine, Redline’s cyclocross star, established his dominance in the 2013 NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic.
A neutral roll-out to the start line gave little indication of the aggression to come as riders enjoyed the comfortable temps and beautiful, bright sunshine at the start of the Answer Products Coopers Gap stage of this year’s Trans-Sylvania Epic. The mass start at the bottom of the Stillhouse climb left nothing to the imagination as Sam Koerber (ProGold) announced he was here to contend for the overall victory with an early attempt to open a gap on the contenders.
A strong group, consisting of Brian Matter (RACC/Trek/ProGold), Aaron Snyder (TSEpic.com/NoTubes), Drew Edsall (Kenda/Felt), Phil Grove (Hammer Nutrition), Michael Wissel (B2C2/Boloco), Koerber and Lindine, came together on the run into the rock strewn, single-track, benchcut climb on No-Name Trail where the group splintered apart.
Koerber continued his aggression and showed his prowess on the technical ridgetop of Chicken Peter Trail, arriving in the first checkpoint with a one-minute lead on Matter, Lindine, and Edsall, while Snyder trailed by another minute.
The long single-track climb of Peep and the day’s first SRAM/Bear Creek Enduro Segment on PigPile Trail—an opportunity for fast descenders to take home a leader’s jersey all their own—allowed Lindine and Matter to rejoin Koerber at the front. This reunion may have been aided by a bobble on the part of Koerber, one that resulted in not only lost time, but the loss of a nice chunk of his front tooth. In the rocking and rolling sweet smooth lines of the Sassy Spur and Sassy-xx trails, the trio increased their lead to more than five minutes over the Edsall and Snyder pair.
Koerber, battered from his earlier encounter with Pennsylvania’s rocks, but by no means beaten, used his technical skills honed from thousands of hours in the trails of Pisgah to push through the battle. Matter was the first to leave the fight as a flat tire took him away from the lead group and at the stage victory. Lindine was not dislodged on this second SRAM/Bear Creek enduro run and took control of the race.
Koerber faced his demise on the stiff gravel climb of Crowfield Road rising from Penn Roosevelt State Park as Lindine steadily opened a gap on his closest pursuer and continued building his lead through a final, fern-enshrouded double-track to the finish line. On his defeat, Koerber noted, “It’s going to be a battle; I’m not one to give up. I’m going to make it hurt every day. I’m going to make [Justin Lindine] work for it.” Matter crossed third having ceded several minutes from his flat to the two riders in front. TSEpic Team’s Snyder rolled through in fourth, pulling ever so gradually farther away from Edsall over the final ten miles of the day.
Lindine will again don the yellow Pactimo Leaders Jersey on tomorrow’s stage and holds a 6:51 lead over Koerber. Matter sits in third at 9:39, with Snyder and Edsall at 16:36 and 18:31, respectively.
Tuesday’s stage, the Dirt Rag/ProGold Coburn Stage, is a mainstay of the Trans-Sylvania Epic and has traditionally altered the racer’s focus from technical single-track skill to tactical acumen with a more open course that encourages group racing tactics. However, a reversal of the classic routing takes what were formerly leg searing rocky climbs and transformed them into blazing fast, gnarly descents that offer an entirely different look to the stage.
The Stan’s NoTubes Women’s Elite team continued their domination of the Open Women’s category today during of the Transylvania Epic’s second stage, presented by Answer products.
During the initial two-mile neutral start, the Stan’s NoTubes women stuck together to ensure a strong position to begin the stage. According to Amanda Carey (Stan’s NoTubes Women’s Elite Team), the end of the neutral start marked the moment where “the gloves came off” and the teammates became competitors in the 36-mile stage.
Coming into the first section of single-track, Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Women’s Elite Team) used her local knowledge of the trails to get a slight edge over teammate Amanda Carey. However, Barclay would yield her position to Carey towards the top of the first large climb as Carey showed her strength in the rock-strewn hills.
After Carey developed a small lead, Sue Haywood (Stan’s NoTubes Women’s Elite Team) came “screaming” up to Carey’s wheel. Haywood attributed her aggressive ride to the “long sections of single-track” that allowed her to keep pace with Carey for most of the day. Sarah Kaufmann (Stan’s NoTubes Women’s Elite Team) rode hard to try to catch her teammates, but would continue to yield time to the leaders throughout the race. For the first half of the course, Haywood and Carey were inseparable, with each teammate trading off the lead through various sections. Coming into Checkpoint 1 for the second time, the two teammates were separated by only ten seconds. That gap widened as Haywood flatted during the second enduro segment, losing about two minutes to her teammate.
But Haywood’s close battle with Carey would soon dissolve as the two exited the dense, jagged rocks of the Cooper’s Gap single-track and entered the green canopied roads that dominated the second-half of the course to the finish line. Whereas Haywood excels on technical single-track, Carey finds more advantages on long, dirt roads. “I don’t want it to be my thing, but it’s kind of my thing,” Carey explains, “I can just shut off my brain, turn on my legs, and just power away.” And power away she did; Carey’s first place finish put over 7 minutes into her lead over Haywood in the final quarter of the course. Sarah Kaufmann followed a few minutes behind Haywood for her third place finish.
In the General Classification, the top three podium spots went unchanged. Amanda Carey remained in the Stan’s NoTubes leader’s jersey while teammates Sarah Kaufmann and Vicki Barclay retained second and third, respectively. Sue Haywood’s strong ride in Stage 2 was enough to take over the fourth place standing and move Andrea Wilson (Brickhouse Racing) to fifth place. When asked about her plan for moving up further in the standings, Haywood admitted, “Amanda [Carey] is going to be pretty tough to beat. She’s on her A-game.” But Carey expressed her own cautions about the week-long race; “This stuff isn’t easy for anybody.”
After yesterday’s time trial, Dax Massey (Breck Epic/Honey Stinger/Light and Motion) led the Singlespeed class by a mere nine seconds over local rider Matt Ferrari (FreezeThaw/Hubcap Cycles). With tight margins separating most of the Singlespeed field, today’s stage had the potential to cause great shifts in the overall standings.
As the riders reached the first section of single-track, Ferrari charged ahead of his competitors to ensure he entered No Name—a steep, rocky chute typically ridden as a descent—first to begin the long, grueling climb. “I figured that if I was going to try to get the [leader’s] jersey, today was the only day I could do it,” remarked Ferrari. From that decisive moment, Ferrari would continue to expand his lead over his competitors and take first place for the day.
Behind Ferrari’s dominating win, Stage 1 winner, Dax Massey, was forced to spend much of his day chasing down Dejay Birtch (Ride for Reading/Stan’s NoTubes/Maxxis/Pivot) and Rich Dillen (Faster Mustache), who passed the jersey holder when he took a wrong turn into a section of single-track. Though Massey was able to move up to second place by the halfway point, he would trail race leader Ferrari by approximately four minutes for most of the race. In the final miles, Massey yielded an additional two minutes to Ferrari, but was able to maintain his position for a second place finish. Rich Dillen followed in third by 9 minutes.
Ferrari’s early attack earned him more than enough time on GC to surpass Massey in standings and develop a strong time buffer entering the third stage. Rich Dillen’s impressive ride also shifted the standings as he moved from fifth to third overall in the GC competition. Looking forward, Ferrari believes Stage 4—Galbraith Enduro presented by SRAM and Bear Creek—to be the larger challenge in retaining his lead on the Singlespeed class. “Even though I know the trails, you should never get cocky on the rocks,” Ferrari cautioned.
The DUO Men category mostly held onto the status quo after Stage 2, with Drew Simson and Jon Firth (TransRockies/HoneyStinger/Planet Foods) expanding on their first place lead in GC with a first place finish. Mike Festa and Craig Lebair (Philadelphia Ciclismo) fought hard to chase down Simson and Firth, but ceded thirteen minutes to the leading team with their second place finish. Third place team Anthony Sanson and Matt Johnson (Racing for Riley/Summit City Bikes) held onto their third place GC placing, but sit only a scant eleven minutes ahead of fourth place GC team Catamount/1K2GO, comprised of Matt Salter and Don Harmeyer.
No major changes occurred in the Duo Coed GC today, as Kaarin Tae and Lawrence Plug (Java Blend) continued their early winning streak in the category. Chris Merriam and Libbey Sheldon (Crosshairs Cycling) held on to second place, but leads third place team Sean Riley and Elizabeth Shaner (Griggs Orthopedics) by only three minutes.
In the Masters 40+ Category Nate Ruch (Evolution) won in a bike throw over Alex Dawkins in a mad dash to the line. Ruch maintained his slight lead in the GC while Dawkins, a former winner of the Masters 40+ competition, is making this the closest GC battle in the event. Former category leader Chris Cyr (Bikeman.com) fell to the rear of the field but salvaged his opportunity to finish the event via a neutral BMC from the checkpoint. BMC’s support of the event allows riders with these sorts of mechanical failures to officially finish the race and the Trans-Sylvania Epic is perhaps the only mountain bike stage race to offer this service. While likely out of the GC competition Cyr will likely challenge for stage wins in days to come.
In the Masters 50+ competition, Jim Matthews continued his domination of the field with a 3:41:27 finish. The strong finish time was more than enough to secure the lead in GC. John Williams repeated a second place finish. Joe McCarthy’s third place finish was fast enough to move him up to third in the overall standings, ahead of Jack Dalzell (Team CF-Ohio).
Tennessee’s Cory Rimmer (Piney Flats/Dean Endurance) took over the BMC U25 Men leader’s jersey with a win in the stage. Competitor Madison Matthews (The Bicycle Shop/MBR/Maxxis) suffered multiple mechanicals and dropped away from the top of the leader board. Gunnar Bergey (Cannondale/Champion Systems) took second on the stage and sits four minutes behind in second on the U25 GC. Besides chasing the U25 jersey, Bergey is keeping his squad in the Epic Team GC hunt. Toasted Head’s Zach Adams moved into third on GC after finishing third on the stage. In the BMC U25 Women’s category, a major mechanical forced race leader, Donna Miller (TSEpic.com/NoTubes) to also take a neutral BMC from the checkpoint. As the sole competitor in this competition all she must do is finish out the event to win the free entry to the 2014 Trans-Sylvania Epic awarded to the U25 GC champions.
Riders were treated to two opportunities to compete for the SRAM/Bear Creek Enduro jersey during today’s stage. Going into the day, Zach Adams sought to retain his hold on the jersey, but strong attacks from his competition in the U25 field would wear him down right before the first enduro segment and weaken his attempt. Allowing a bit of rest later in the stage, Zach rebounded and worked hard to make up the deficit on the second segment. However, Zach’s early loss would push him down to seventh place in the overall enduro competition. The top honors for the day went to Brian Matt (RACC/TREK/PROGOLD), with Drew Edsall (Kenda/Felt) coming in second and Marc Basilliere (Bikerumor.com) in third. In the women’s competition, Andrea Wilson (Brickhouse Racing) bested the strong women’s field to take the leader’s jersey. Sue Haywood backed off of her strong ride to capture second in the competition, while Jordan Salman (Pisgah Tavern) placed third. Stage 3 will offer the riders an additional two enduro segments to push their limits and fight for the SRAM/Bear Creek Enduro leader’s jersey.
Riders sign in at the start of the Answer Products Coopers Gap State of the Trans-Sylvania Epic.
Zach Adams (Toasted Head Racing) in the SRAM/Bear Creek Enduro Leader’s Jersey.
Wes Richards (Clemmons Bicycle) finds the Pennsylvania laurel to his liking along one of today’s 20+ miles of singletrack.
Justin Lindine (Redline) resplendent in the Trans-Sylvania Epic Leader’s Jersey.
Elizabeth Shaner (Griggs Orthopedics) expressing the elation riding the trails of the Trans-Sylvania Epic brings forth.
Carving through the forests close to CampTSEpic exist hundreds of miles of trails waiting to be explored.
Matthew Davies (Bikeway)
Anthony Sanson (Racing for Riley/Summit City Bikes) leads his duo team mate in the swooping trails in Coopers Gap of the rothrock State Forest.
Dirt Rag’s Eric McKeegan amongst the forest greenery of TSE.
Simson and Adams lead a group through a section of TSEpic trail.
Jon Stang (Crosstown Velo/Industry Nine) took third on today’s stage in 40+.
Rich Dillen splashing through some puddles.
Sue Haywood (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team) finished second on the stage riding with teammate Carey until the final few dirt road miles to the finish.
The local at this year’s TSE continue to shine with Jim Matthews of State College in the yellow in the 50+ category.
Local Singlespeeder, Matt Ferrari, a perennial NUE contender, has thrown his hat in the ring for this years Trans-Sylvania Epic SS category and leads the GC after the Coopers Gap Stage.
Despite losing part of a tooth in the Pennsylvania backcountry Sam Koerber (ProGold) rode aggressively and moved into second on GC after today’s stage.
Brian Matter (RACC/Trek/ProGold) suffered a flat in today’s rocks and sits third in Open Men’s GC.
Andrea Wilson (Brickhouse Racing) ended the day in the women’s enduro jersey edging out the famous Sue Haywood for the lead.
State College’s own Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women) mixing it up on her home trails.
The Stan’s NoTubes Women’s Team is dominating this year’s TSEpic and Amanda Carey is looking for her second GC victory in the event.
Alex Hawkins (unattached) is in a pitched battle with Nathan Ruch for the lead in the 40+ Master’s Race.
TransRockies visits Pennsylvania in the form of Jon Firth and Drew Simson (TR/PlanetFoods/HoneyStinger)