While neither Vampira nor Elvira is on the registration list, a host of hellishly fast women are targeting the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic (TSE) starting later this month in State College, Pennsylvania. As is the case with the men's field, the talent assembling for the women's mountain bike stage race is as good as it gets.
With two years of TSE experience, including overall victory in 2010, Team CF's Selene Yeager is one of the first to consider for the win. Interestingly, some of Yeager's top competition may come from her own teammates as Team CF is also fielding former NUE series champion Cheryl Sornson and TSE veteran Kristin Gavin. Sornson is fresh off a storming win at the Cohutta 100, where she knocked last year's TSE and NUE series champ Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) from the top of the podium. Teammate Gavin was just behind in third place. Without doubt the women of Team CF are ready for TSE, but are they ready for NoTubes?
Even with its talented line-up, Team CF will be challenged to have the strongest team at the race. The NoTubes elite women's team is fielding no less than five racers with the goal of nothing less than total and absolute domination of their sponsor's top mountain bike event.
Vicki Barclay, who happens to call State College home, and teammate and former US National Champion Sue Haywood both have a year of TSE experience to call on and are showing excellent early season form. Haywood has claimed both the Maryland and Delaware State Championship titles on recent weekends and Barclay was fourth at Cohutta.
Joining these two will be NoTubes team captain Shannon Gibson, 2011's US Pro XCT top 10 finisher Sarah Kaufmann and former New Zealand World Championship Team Member Jenny Smith. The mountain bike stage race podiums under the belts of these NoTubes women ensure that there will be plenty of neon pink mixing it up with that bright blue plaid of Team CF at the sharp end of the race.
Several solo women are not to be counted out and will be battling against these formidable teams on every stage. Mountain bike racing is about nothing more than who tears whose legs off and who is willing to go deepest. Last year MTBRaceNews.com racer Karen Potter served notice that she was at TSE for the win and held the leader's jersey after the stage 1 time trial. A stomach bug took Potter out of the running for the overall, but she came back late in the week to win a second stage. Potter, too, has seen early season success in both cross country and double cross country distance events.
Kona's Alice Pennington will not have teammates to call upon, but this talented and experienced racer is also heading to Trans-Sylvania prepared to take on all comers and do her part to give Kona a sweep of the men's and women's titles. And while Niner's Donna Miller is making her first appearance at TSE, she has no less than podium intentions in mind.
The 2012 Trans-Sylvania Epic will roll out with the Bald Eagle Prologue on Sunday, May 27 near State College, Pennsylvania, and it runs for seven days. The TSE benefits PA Trails through the Outdoor Experience Organization.
For more information on the race, visit TSEpic.com and stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage.