TSEpic Race Rules and Procedures
The Trans-Sylvania MTB Epic (TSEpic) is a multi-stage cross-country mountain bike race in which competitors are expected to be physically and mechanically self-sufficient during the course of each stage. Participants in TSEpic undertake this challenge with the expectation that they understand and accept this principle. Racers must be in good health and well trained. TSEpic does not screen participants. It is the racer’s responsibility to determine if they are fit enough to safely participate.
Don’t be a Dick
Keep reading. But that covers a lot.
The organizers reserve the right to prevent a racer from continuing the race on recommendation of the medical staff. Any participants requiring specific personal medications are responsible for supplying and carrying such medication each day while racing. It is recommended a backup set of medication is given to a medical staff member in case primary medications are lost or damaged. If any participant is on medication, they are asked to inform TSEpic medical staff.
Mandatory Repair Items
Participants must carry a spare tube, inflation tools, patches and necessary tools. These items are considered the bare minimum and it’s strongly recommended that participants ensure they are prepared to deal with emergencies they may encounter.
Bicycles and Support
Bicycles and Support Only mountain bikes in good working order will be allowed to start the event. Bikes must be mechanically sound at the start of each stage, and during the event. The front number plate must always be securely fitted and visible from the front. Handlebar ends and handlebar extensions shall be plugged and must not have sharp or jagged edges. Maintenance of bicycles during the race is the responsibility of each participant. Any components or equipment may be changed, swapped or repaired during the event but a participant must complete the event with the same number plate with which they started the stage. Swapping or exchanging of complete bicycles between participants during a stage is not permitted.
Mechanical and feed support from outside entities is not permitted except at official checkpoints. In all cases of maintenance and repair during a stage, participants are required to complete the full distance of the stage with their bikes and within the time allowed. Bike repair services are available from the tech partners: Freeze Thaw Cycles and Diamondback Bikes at the primary official checkpoints and at the event camp. In the event of a major mechanical, Diamondback will have a selection of bikes which can be swapped for racers’ bikes at the primary checkpoint each day. Your number plate must be transferred to the support bike. Use of these bikes is a last resort to be used to finish the stage and are only available if your bike cannot be repaired on course. Neutral bikes must be returned to the Freeze Thaw Camp Shop after the stage. If your bike is broken beyond repair you will need to make other arrangements for the rest of the race. No stages may be started on a neutral bike. No other bikes can be swapped at any time during a stage, only the designated support bikes at checkpoints. Finishing a stage on a bike other than the one you started on, or a neutral support bike, will result in a 60-minute time penalty.
Helmets and Clothing
Racers not wearing a helmet during race will be disqualified. Helmets must comply with international ‘ANSI’, ‘SNELL’ standards. Eye protection and fully-enclosed footwear are strongly recommended.
Nutrition and Hydration
Racers retain the ultimate responsibility to carry enough water and nutrition with them for each stage. TSEpic will provide water at checkpoints on the route. This water is for drinking only. Checkpoints will be stocked with GU energy drinks, as well as fruit, cookies, and other snacks.
Rider Sign-In and Mandatory Meetings
Rider sign-in will be held prior to every stage, and every rider must sign in on the form. A mandatory meeting will take place immediately before each stage. You must race with your Race|Result Touchless timing transponder on your bike for every stage. All participants are strongly encouraged to attend the evening course previews for the next day’s stage. You bear the responsibility for any information dispensed at these meeting including knowledge of course changes should such occur.
Participants must display number plates at all times during the stage. Number plates must be fixed on the front of the bike, and not be obscured by cables or any other item. Plates may not be altered or mutilated in any way including cutting, adding stickers, removing existing stickers or trimming. Violation of this rule will result in a 60-minute time penalty. Race leaders are obliged to wear the leader jerseys.
Course Cutting and Trespassing
Participants who exit the route of the course for any reason must return to the course at the exact same point at which they exited or face possible disqualification. Participants must act in a polite manner at all times and permit any faster rider to overtake without obstructing. Any participants reported for trespassing on private land relating to the route of TSEpic at any time of the year will receive a lifetime ban from participating in the event.
TSEpic will not have exclusive use of any roads during the race. All regular traffic regulations must be observed at all times during the race. Instructions of course marshals and local authorities must be strictly followed. Riders who do not obey the traffic regulations or who endanger others will be disqualified from the event. If a car approaches from behind, move over immediately. 60 minute time penalties will apply to those who do not yield to cars.
Checkpoints Supporters of riders in the event are expected to assist volunteers and support all riders as needed at checkpoints. Excessive car traffic resulting from support personnel is a problem that we are trying to mitigate with this philosophy.
- The neutral support staff is in charge of the checkpoint. John and Becky Davidson are our checkpoint directors. If they ask you to move yourself, your belongings, or your car, please drop what you are doing and comply. The staff’s priority is to make the zone suitable for all racers and non-racing public and keep the area safe. Be respectful of other supporters and especially the neutral support crew as they have 100+ riders to take care of each day.
- There will be medical support at all the primary checkpoints during the week. If you need medical assistance, please ask! Our medical director’s info is in the race bible and staying on site at the medical building.
- The course is open to traffic. Be alert and helpful. Watch out for each other and the racers. Do not impede traffic. Be respectful and do not engage irritated or irrational drivers.
- Refrain from outbursts or displays regardless of what is happening with your rider.
- Anyone not complying with the needs of the checkpoint staff will be given one warning. A second failure to comply at any time will result in your rider being disqualified from the event.
- Support personnel: Plan on assisting all the racers at checkpoints. If you want to be at the checkpoints you should assist the checkpoint staff and other racers, there just is not room for 1:1 support and those unable to assist others will be excluded from the CPs.
- You are welcome to follow the staff when they travel to the checkpoint each morning, but please understand that they can not look out for you when focused on getting to the CP location and setting up.
Participants will be given reusable grocery bags with their numbers on them which are to be used as checkpoint drop bags. Bags can be filled with any desired supplies. Bags are to be dropped at the dining hall no later than 1 hour before the start of a stage. Bags will be returned to the dining hall after each stage and can be re-stocked as needed.
Vehicles not driven by the TSEpic staff are not permitted to follow the daily course routes. However, supporters may drive vehicles along public roads to reach vantage points to spectate.
Participants may draft other racers who are taking part the event. No other form of drafting is permitted whatsoever.
Timing for the stage (as well as enduro sections) will be done by the Race Working Timing Active Transponder System. It is completely touchless and achieves a 100% read rate up to 90 MPH. Simply ride over the timing points without stopping. The transponder is read when it passes directly over the timing point. But, the transponder can be detected when you are within 4-6 feet of a timing point—so do not stop at the start or end of an enduro segment. Ride through the entire start and finish of each segment. If you stop, do so well away from the start or finish of a segment.
Your transponder must be on your bike every morning at the start! If you do not start with the transponder attached to your bike you will not be scored for the day and will receive a DNF for the stage. Your must turn in your transponder at the conclusion of the TSEpic. If you lose your transonder or forget to return it you will be charged $150 for replacement and will not be an official finisher of the event. Should an emergency require you to depart early please return your transponder to the timing crew at the start/finish line.
Top 3 daily Enduro finishers in each category will score time bonuses (like sprinters in TDF). 1st place gets 1 minute taken off their GC time, 2nd place gets 40 seconds and 3rd place gets 20 seconds. The time bonuses will not apply on the ENDURO Stage.
Cutoff Times and Dropping Out
Cutoff times are in place for the safety of participants and the TSEpic staff. Cutoff times may be modified for all participants at any time for any reason deemed appropriate by the promoters. Participants who do not arrive prior to a designated cutoff time will be considered scored as DNF for that stage. They will be ineligible for finisher’s and daily prizes but can continue to ride the remaining stages. If a participant does not continue to ride on subsequent days for any reason, they must notify TSEpic staff.
Teams or racers that cannot continue a stage or the event, for whatever reason, must immediately inform the TSEpic staff. This can be done at the start and finish areas, Race HQ and at designated checkpoints.
Help of Other Racers in an Emergency
In the event that a racer has been commandeered to assist the medical team with an emergency situation, that racer will not be subjected to time penalties that would result in his or her eligibility to be considered an Official Finisher of TSEpic.
Disqualification and Penalties
Participants may be disqualified at the discretion of TSEpic staff for any one or more of the following reasons including, but not limited to: Littering; Disrespect of or damage to the environment; Bad sportsmanship; Abuse of race officials; Traffic rule violations; Breaking any of the TSEpic Rules.
Any results protests must be made during the protest period prior to awards presentations each evening. Protests must be made to TSEpic scoring officials.
Stage Podiums and General Classification leader presentations will happen before the nightly rider meeting. Stage winners and overall category leaders must be present at the respective awards ceremonies, including the final ceremony. Absence may result in time penalties and forfeiture of prizes. Participants will be advised daily of any changes to the awards ceremony start times.
Each night after dinner we will preview the next day’s stage. We strongly suggest that all participants and associated friends and family attend the awards and course preview each evening for safety, general awareness and enjoyment of the event.
Course Descirption Disclaimer
All distances calculated on mapping software and may vary slightly from your personal computer. All courses may be changed as deemed necessary by promoter or the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
All participants who are age 25 or younger as of 12/31/17 are eligible for U25 scoring for both the 5-day and 3-day stage race. The U25 leaders within men and women are based on cumulative elapsed time and will receive white leaders’ jerseys. The winners of these categories receive free entry into next year’s TSEpic.
Duo Category Rules
Duo teammates must stay together on the course—staying within 30 seconds of each other at all checkpoints, including the finish line, otherwise a 60 minute penalty will apply. If one team member of a duo succumbs to injury or mechanical failure, the team will be counted as DNF for that stage. The team should consult with TSEpic staff to decide on the best course of action for later stages.
Epic Team Rules
Teams can be as few as two riders and as many as ten. Teams will all be competing against each other for the same overall category, regardless of team size (ex. a team of two will be in competition with teams of five or more). Teams will be scored based on the time of the fastest team member on each day—and is based on total accumulated time for the week. At least one person on each team must finish each stage to qualify for overall placement.
Team Category riders are not be required to ride together. Each Team Category rider may ride as little as one stage, or up to all of them. As long as someone on the team finishes each stage, the team can qualify for placement. If for some reason the team gets a DNF on a stage they may start on subsequent stages, but will no longer be scored as part of the race.
The fastest team overall in the Team Category will receive free entries into next year’s TSEpic.
To keep costs as low as possible, team riders will not receive registration swag. These items may be purchased separately. Team riders who do finish every stage will receive finisher’s prizes (as the solo riders do).
The TSEpic is a backcountry race and is by no means lined with miles of course tape. Follow the arrows through the course by keeping your head up and being responsible for your own navigation—do not follow others blindly or assume others know the course, watch for the signs. Courses will be marked primarily with black arrows on a yellow background. Arrows will denote direction of travel and will signify danger (intersection or steep descent) when pointed downward. Blue arrows on a white background will be used to reinforce turns. Be sure to understand and follow the markings. Ride with your head up.
“X – Danger” and “W – Wrong Way” signage will be employed to keep racers on course. Again, see the sign, read it and make sure to follow the directions indicated.
Small orange cones may also be employed to help you identify turns, particularly when the course goes from road to trail and trail signage may be back from the road’s edge.
If you are unsure if you are on course take a breath and even stop. You’re likely to lose far more time off course than stopping for a moment to double check your bearings. Carrying a course map could help you out.
Corners will be marked, at a minimum, with one arrow indicating the upcoming change in direction of travel in advance of the turn. Two arrows—1 black and yellow with one blue on white arrow—denoting the turn as close as possible to in the turn. And one confirmation arrow after the turn confirming the direction of travel.
Julbo/TRP Enduro Segments
TSEpic is using the Race|Results timing system. A small transponder attached to your bike will communicate with sensor at the start and finish of each enduro segment. You do not need to swipe. You do not even need to stop! You just roll through and kick ass! This system could not be more simple—except that you MUST roll through the gate that will be set at each start and finish. The gate is likely to be made of course tape or cones and will to narrow the course at the start and finish lines for each segment. If you do not roll through this gate you will miss being scored. If by some chance you wreck the gate stop and fix it for the next rider.
The Race|Results system will also time your overall race so the transponder must be on your bike every morning at the start! If you do not start with the transponder attached to your bike you will not be scored for the day and will receive a DNF for the stage. If you lose your transponder or forget to return it at the end of the week you will be charged $150 for replacement and will not be an official finisher of the event. Please be sure to turn in your transponder at the end of the TSEpic. Should an emergency require you to depart early please return your transponder to the timing crew at the start/finish line.
Julbo/TRP Enduro Specific Signage
The Enduro stage and daily enduro segments will be marked with Green Enduro markers indicating the beginning of a segment, and Black and White checkerboard banners indicating the end of a segment. There will be yellow “caution/slow” signage as you approach an Enduro station, as well as a narrowing of the course so you will be timed.
Julbo/TRP Enduro Scoring
Points will be awarded based on finishing place within the enduro segment(s) each day. There will be 2 main categories for the Enduro General Classification of the TSEpic, Men & Women, who will be designated as the leader of the competition on each stage and the overall champs will receive prizes. We will post Enduro results for all categories because all categories are eligible for…
Time Bonuses Top 3 daily Enduro finishers in each category will score time bonuses (like sprinters in l’Tour). 1st place gets 1 minute taken off their GC time, 2nd place gets 40 seconds and 3rd place gets 20 seconds. The time bonuses will not apply on the ENDURO Stage.
Last but not Least
Thanks to our friends at Seven Mountains Conservation Corps, Nittany Mountain Bike Association, and Bald Eagle Mountian Bike Association for their support and all they do for trails in Bald Eagle and Rothrock State Forests and for the help and support of PA’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources!