The Trans-Sylvania Epic (TSE), the longest mountain bike stage race in the US is offering seven days of action in the Alleghenies region of Pennsylvania. The East Coast race is attracting a competitive field of endurance racers.
Mountain bike luminaries such as Cannondale Factory Racing's Jeremiah Bishop and WTB's Mark Weir alongside PAValleys.com's National 24-Hour Solo Series Champions Bradon Draugulis and Rob Lichtenwalner; perennial NUE series contenders Christian Tanguay and Harlan Price from Team CF as well as endurance race stalwart Evan Plews and top US Ruta finisher Alex Grant (Cannondale) are some of the stars who will be battling it out daily with a slate of regional stars and local legends for the right to wear the leader's jersey.
The women's entrants are just as powerful with multiple time World 24-hour Champion, Rebecca Rusch (Specialized), women's 2009 Iron Cross Champion Selene Yeager and her Team CF-mates Nikki Thiemann and Kristin Gavin, PAValleys.com's Carolyn Popovich and Karen Potter (MTBRaceNews.com) amongst those ripping each other apart daily.
"The quality of the racers taking part in our first year is fantastic; there hasn't been a field like this assembled for a mountain bike race in the region in a long time," said Race Director Mike Kuhn. "We can't wait to show mountain bike enthusiasts and racers from across North America just how good the riding is in Pennsylvania as this event unfolds."
"This is a great opportunity to meet and interact with some of the nation's best racers," said co-director Ray Adams. "If you love mountain biking, you'll have a whole week to ride incredible trails and compare notes with some of the finest riders around the bonfire each evening.
"Yes, seven days of great trail riding in a row is not easy, but it is absolutely possible for a lot of riders. What's more, the sense of accomplishment from riding seven back to back days is beyond words. Everyone should - and can - experience that."
When asked why he is choosing TSE over the multitude of of stage races out there, Bishop said, "It's about riding killer technical singletrack. Some places have good scenery and some good trails, but nothing is like the raw rocks roots and deep forest of the east coast single track in Pennsylvania."
"Riding in the State College area is world class. TSE is going to be demanding... but that is going to make for an incredible experience. If the other trails are like what I have ridden, its going to rock!"
"I love mountain bike stage races because the offer the opportunity to really see the riding an area has to offer," said Rusch. "For me, seven days in a row of hard racing is a perfect training block and sort of my own Pennsylvania boot camp. I have not ridden out east much and from what I hear, this place offers some of the best singletrack in the world."
Her partner Greg Martin (Club Ride Apparel), owner of two 24-Hr Solo Singlespeed World Titles of his own, said, "I'm looking forward to spending a full week riding some of the beautiful trails that Pennsylvania has to offer. Having grown up in Virginia and now living out west, I really miss the technical trails that the east coast is famous for."
Weir offered up a slightly different motivation for attending, "Last time I was in Pennsylvania I got schooled by a bunch of round-faced tough guys. This race looks like a great way to find some redemption." Weir seems to have his eye on one competitor in particular adding, "Harlan, you and your 29s of wheel better look out. Had about enough of you buddy."
The Trans-Sylvania Epic will cover seven days from May 30 to June 5. For more information, visit www.TransSylvaniaEpic.com.