Kona's Kris Sneddon last raced the Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race three years ago. This year, he's back and he's been keeping the action interesting with several attacks including during stage 2 on Monday and stage 4 on Wednesday.
"The Trans-Sylvania Epic is one of the more technical stage races I've ever done, maybe the most technical," said Sneddon, who has done stage races around the globe. "The biking here is as good as anywhere else in the world."
On Monday, Sneddon launched an attack to help his teammate Spencer Paxson, a GC contender.
"Monday was more of a planned tactic," said Sneddon. "Race leader Jeremiah Bishop is pretty clearly the strongest guy here, but I think I can beat up on him a little bit in the singletrack. I thought maybe I could get him fired up and he'd make a mistake or at least that Spencer could sit on him."
Sneddon was eventually reeled in and Bishop still leads the overall, but Bishop admitted after the stage that he felt the pressure.
Speaking of today, when Sneddon went off the front twice, he said, "I just wanted to ride the trail sections fast and the downhills fast because they play to my strengths. I couldn't deal with the pack mentality when they slowed down." Stage 4 is the only stage in the Trans-Sylvania Epic with significant road sections, although there are still some technical singletrack sections mixed in.
"I wanted to be first into the first singletrack. I went a little hard from the gun and no one wanted to pull early. I rode the first singletrack pretty hard, but I didn't think I'd get a big gap, but on the first enduro section, I came out with a good gap. They didn't catch me until just before the first feedzone. Then the group slowed down later, and I thought I would ride down the hill at an easy pace, but I was able to get a good gap going into the Fisherman's Path."
Sneddon gained as much as 1:30 during his second foray off the front on Wednesday, enough that he started wondering if a stage win might be within his reach.
"After Fisherman's Trail, I probably had 30 seconds to one minute, so I decided to just ride hard. Those guys climb harder than I do, but I figured I'd see where I could end up. I needed about another minute. They caught me at the second feed zone."
Sneddon, who lives in Sechelt, British Columbia, also plans to race the BC Bike Race and the Singletrack 6 stage race later this season.