'Cross racer also enjoying mountain bike stage racing
When the dust settled at the end of the opening prologue stage of the Trans-Sylvania Epic on Sunday, Justin Lindine (Redline/NBX) stood atop the podium. The Massachusetts resident was celebrating his second-ever Trans-Sylvania stage win. He previously won the closing stage two years ago, during his first attempt at the seven-day central Pennsylvania mountain bike stage race.
"This feels awesome. I came into today wanting to get it off on the right foot. It's good," Lindine told Cyclingnews. "I had a bunch of mechanical trouble last year. I was doing good, then fell back in the GC with all that." Lindine finished fourth in 2011 and sixth in 2012.
"The time gaps are not huge after today; it's still a tight race," he said. "Ultimately, I'd like to get some more time and get more of a cushion. Having been in a position where something goes wrong and you lose a few minutes, it's nice to have a few in hand. I'll probably try to see how aggressive other people want to be tomorrow at the start, and I hope that I can gain some time at the end of the stage."
"It's a long race and you need to be consistent."
Sunday's prologue was a 14-mile individual time trial with over 1400 feet of climbing. "The prologue was a lot of fun this year. It went in the opposite direction of previous years, and they added a bit of singletrack at the end, so it was a bit longer than it has been," said Lindine.
"I thought the race flowed nice, and it was cool to do it backwards and have it be a little different. If you do the same thing too many times, it gets kind of predictable. It made it exciting."
"Of course, it's easy to like things when things go right."
Monday's stage 2 is one of the most difficult days of racing at the Trans-Sylvania Epic. "Tomorrow's a pretty hard day. There's a lot of burly singletrack. Staying out of mechanical issues will be key."
"The separations in a day like tomorrow tend to...
Doing the Trans-Sylvania Epic was a last minute decision for Brian Matter (RACC/Trek/ Progold) but it was a race he's been thinking about for a while.
"Ever since I heard about Trans-Sylvania Epic, it's been intriguing, and I made the last minute decision to come out and do it. I'm having a blast so far," he said.
Matter made the journey from Wisconsin, where he is a regular top rider at the Wisconsin Off-Road Series (WORS). The Trans-Sylvania Epic is held in the state forests near State College, Pennsylvania, where Penn State University is located.
"My dad was born in Pittsburgh and went to Penn State," he explained "The only other place I've raced in Pennsylvania is a national at Seven Springs and that was like 1997."
Matter finished second in stage 1 and third in stage 2. Speaking of stage 2, he said: "I was riding well - just had a little bad luck at the wrong time." While riding in the lead group, he flatted and dropped off his two rivals, yet still managed to finish third. So far, the race is going well, and he's enjoying his first-ever seven-day mountain bike stage race.
"It's an awesome area and the trails are good," he said of the central Pennsylvania region. Matter is mixing it up a bit this year after a long, hard cyclo-cross season.
"I did a big 'cross push last year to try to make the Worlds team," he said. "This year, I wanted to try to get back to the roots of the sport a little bit. I did Sea Otter, which I haven't done in 10 years, and I did Whiskey 50, which I've never done. And I'm doing this for the first time. It's some new adventures."
Matter doesn't know whether he will do any more mountain...
Enduro sub-classification mixes things up at Trans-Sylvania Epic
The Trans-Sylvania Epic is a seven-day mountain bike stage race near State College, Pennsylvania. Just like the Tour de France has a sprint and a mountains sub-classification, the Trans-Sylvania Epic has an enduro sub-classification in addition to stages and the general classification.
Six of the stages include approximately two enduro stages embedded within each day's racing. Stage 4, held today, is all about enduro and includes five sub-sections. During stage 4, only the enduro sections will count toward the GC - unlike a regular stage, the uphills in between will not.
In addition to the leader's jersey, an enduro leader's jersey is awarded each day at the Trans-Sylvania Epic for the fastest solo man and woman.
What's made the race a bit more interesting strategically than a regular mountain bike stage race or a regular enduro is that the enduros on all but the stage 4 enduro-only day are optional. Racers can chose whether or not to compete. If they chose to do the enduro segments, they must stop and swipe a card at the beginning and ending of each segment.
Among the elite riders, some have chosen to do the enduros while others have not, and it affects each day's outcome. It's kind of like how Mark Cavendish might chose to focus on the green jersey at the Tour instead of the GC while Cadel Evans might forgo stage wins to go for the GC.
For example, in stage 3 on Tuesday, race leader Justin Lindine, who is not competing in the enduro, got away from GC runner-up Brian Matter, who is competing in the enduro, when Matter had to stop and swipe his card in the second of the day's two enduro segments, just a mile or two from the finish.
"For better or for worse, Brian is going for the enduro. I made a decision going into it that it was of less importance for me to try to win that jersey," said Lindine. "It does cost him a few seconds...
The Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race included an unusual stage for its type of race on Wednesday. The fourth stage of the seven-day Pennsylvania race was run in an enduro format, with five timed segments linked by untimed transfer sections. Only the timed sections counted toward the stage results and the general classification.
Women's enduro stage winner Sue Haywood (Stan's NoTubes Elite Women's Team) told Cyclingnews after finishing, "It was really cool. It was a different format. I've done super Ds and enduros, but not in the middle of this big stage race."
"Today took a change in mindset. Not knowing where you were going made it really exciting. I liked it, but it was hard on the adrenal glands."
The enduro stage came in the middle of seven days of racing. With the uphills generally not timed, it gave racers a sort of break although they were still competing on the downhill sections.
"I thought the segments were good, and the enduro was a good way to break up the race," said Haywood. "It's also a neat way to showcase some different people, and they did a good job of making the transfers easy. They did a lot of work to make this stage way better than two years ago."
Two years ago, the organizers had tried a format of several mini-cross country races, which were more like several mass start enduro segments. The format didn't work nearly as well as the individual timed section format applied on Wednesday.
Haywood was pleased to get in some enduro race time given that she will be doing some more enduros in the future. "I'm kind of switching to enduro for a month or two after this," she said. "When you just get into enduro, there is a lot more specialization. It's good to get some racing in beforehand."
After a rough 2012 season, Sarah Kaufmann (Stan's NoTubes Elite Women's Team) is just happy to be back on her bike. The Utah rider is back to racing at the Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race, her first major race since contracting mono and getting hit by a car.
Kaufmann raced the Trans-Sylvania Epic in 2012, but the race did not going according to plan. Little did she know at the time that it would be the begining of a rough streak of luck.
"After this race last year, where I had three flats, I was bummed," said Kaufmann to Cyclingnews. "Then I went home and got mono. I had mono for July and and August. I started to feel better in September and got on my bike a little."
"At the end of October, I got hit by a car and broke my pelvis and broke my hand. I shattered my elbow - it will never be the same."
Kaufmann was out of commission for about eight months of the year and only got back onto a bike for some easy cruises in January of this year. "I did my first race a couple of weeks ago at Mesa Verde. I knew I wanted to do something before I came here. I'm so glad I'm able to come back here. This is my first big race after injury."
In some ways, getting hit by a car after having mono may have been a blessing in disguise. "It's easy to come back too soon from mono and then get something else, so maybe I was fortunate in a way," she said.
Unfortunately for Kaufmann, she is not done dealing with the fall out from the accident. "The person who hit me stopped and got out of the car and said he was sorry. He had turned in front of me, and I hit the car," she said. "I've had to hire a lawyer to deal with the insurance companies, which sucks because I never wanted to sue anyone, but as a regular person, you can't deal with this stuff or negotiate it on your own. I'm still kind of waiting for everything."
Andrea Wilson (Brickhouse Racing) won stage 5 of the Trans-Sylvania Epic on Thursday. The Memphis, Tennessee-based rider took top honors after four of the race favorites - leader Amanda Carey, Sarah Kaufmann, Sue Haywood and Vicki Barclay - made a wrong turn that cost them more than 25 minutes.
"It's amazing to win. It's crazy," said Wilson, who didn't know the others had gone off course and therefore had no idea she had won the stage after she crossed the line with fellow racer Sonya Looney (Topeak Ergon).
"I hate that some people went off course, but at the same time, I passed the same spot and didn't go more than 20 feet off course. That's bike racing."
Wilson's only other career major race win came during stage 5 of the Breck Epic mountain bike stage race last season. She primarily races events in her region, but occasionally gets out on the national circuit.
None of the top men went off course, but most riders - elite and amateur - knew of the place where Carey and her teammates took a wrong turn.
"I know where they went off course because I started to go that wrong way, but I saw no arrows after going that way, so I went back," said Wilson.
Carey said it took her 22 minutes to climb back uphill to get back onto the course after her group realized their mistake and turned around. She had enough of a lead going into the stage to continue as race leader despite the mistake; however, Wilson jumped up the GC into second place overall. Haywood follows her in third place.
"I think that they will be angry and the gloves will come off - tomorrow will bring a whole new level of hurt," said the woman who has been chasing the Stan's NoTubes riders all week.
"Sue is two and a half minutes behind me. I'm going to fight to...
After launching more than a decade ago, Trek's Project One customization program has finally added mountain bikes to its range. Just three models are included for now, but it's a move that's long overdue and a sign of more options to come in the future.
Initially, only the Superfly 9.9 SL hardtail, Superfly FS 9.9 SL cross-country full-suspension bike, and Fuel EX 29 9.9 trail bikes will be covered. Interestingly, Project One will be the only way any customer can purchase the top-end Fuel EX 29 9.9, as there's no inline model in the range. Either way, the list of options is impressive and costs vary accordingly.
"Customization is what the consumer is getting used," said Trek senior product manager John Riley, "and it's what they're expecting when they're making that kind of purchase."
Project One might not be fully custom in terms of paint colors and graphic schemes (you can only select from nine graphics options and a discrete – though generous – selection of hues) but there's more than enough flexibility to keep most buyers satisfied. This includes nine rather bold new options: Viper Red, Dnister Black, Hot Grape, Liquid Green, Liquid Red, Lucky Green, Nysa Blue, Powder Blue, Fastback Orange, and Flamingo Pink.
As on the road and time trial/triathlon side of Project One, the breadth of component options is also impressively generous, including drivetrain, brakes, bottom bracket, rear shock remotes, fork, headset, saddle, wheels, handlebar, grips, tires, seatpost, and stem. Several of those parts have additional sizing options as well.
While Trek's Project One mountain bike options are rather limited for now, we wouldn't be surprised to see other high-end options such as the Remedy 9.9 and Session 9.9 added shortly. Riley suggested that the...
One of the most enjoyable parts of every day at the Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race happens after each dinner and subsequent awards ceremony. Racers and support staff are treated to a daily slideshow and video capturing the day's action.
Below, Cyclingnews shares with you the slideshows and videos from the first three stages. All slideshows and videos are courtesy of A.E. Landes Photography.