Racers will sleep a little easier knowing that the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race is continuing its unique neutral support program at this year's race starting on May 25 in central Pennsylvania. The race also announced that it would be expanding its best young rider categories.
Neutral bikes for riders of all ages
Racers of all ages can benefit from a neutral bike support program at the Trans-Sylvania Epic. BMC neutral support bikes will await riders at each checkpoint throughout race. Should a rider's original bike fail, a loan of the BMC neutral support bike will give the affected rider the chance to officially still finish the stage and race.
"We're pleased to have the support of BMC again at this year's race. There's nothing worse than having to drop out of a multi-day stage race due to a mechanical. BMC's neutral support bikes saved four riders from DNFs in 2013," said Trans-Sylvania Epic Race Director Mike Kuhn. "After catastrophic mechanicals occurred to their personal bikes, each rider was able to swap to a neutral support bike and finish the stage."
No other bike exchanges are allowed at the NoTubes TSEpic and swaps to the BMC neutral support bikes are only for when a rider's bike is deemed too broken to continue. In this way, racers can avoid the loss of months of training, preparation, financial and personal commitment to do the week-long race.
A race within the race for young riders
Just like the Tour de France, the Trans-Sylvania Epic seven-day mountain bike stage race tracks and rewards up and coming talent with its under 25 rider classification. After each stage and for the overall, the best young male and female riders will be recognized for their outstanding performances; they will each don the white best young rider leader’s jersey.
"The under 25 category gives us young'ens an opportunity to shine," said 2013 under 25 TSEpic women's winner Donna Miller (Team TSEpic.com/NoTubes). "It allows me to see how I stack up to racers more like me, developing. It gives us the opportunity to be recognized internationally, which is great not only for us riders but also for our sponsors."
"It can be intimidating watching so many world-class athletes toe the line, but knowing you're racing a race within your means allows each day to be the most fun racing I have ever experienced," said Miller. "When you leave the race's base camp after a week, you realize the magnitude of this race in the press. I can't think of another race in the US that supports developing racers in this way, it's truly an opportunity not to be missed."
Madison Matthews (Toasted Head Racing), the 2013 under 25 men's TSEpic winner shared his perspective. "I've done the TSEpic twice, once before the under 25 category was included, and again last year with U25 riders having their own category. Having that category made the week more fun and exciting - it made it feel much more like a race than just going out and riding hard each day. I definitely pushed myself harder than I did the year before, when there was just an open class."
"The TSEpic is an awesome experience for younger riders - both for getting on the radar due to all the excellent event media coverage to getting a chance to hang out with the pros all week at camp," said Matthews. "Every rider can find something about TSEpic that suits them. The atmosphere of the race makes it - in my opinion - the most fun part of the year and something that everyone should get to experience."
New for 2014, the three-day version of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic (TS3) will include an under 19 best young rider category. This BMC-backed special category will reward talented, up and coming junior riders who try their legs at stage racing.