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Central Pennsylvania to host new mountain bike stage race Team racer Wes Schempf prepping for Trans-Sylvania 2010 Team racer Wes Schempf prepping for Trans-Sylvania 2010 (Image credit: Michael Kirk)

Pennsylvania joined the list of states hosting multi-day mountain bike stage races with the inaugural Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic, a seven-day race through the mountains of central Pennsylvania, to be held from May 30 through June 5, 2010, in and around State College, Pennsylvania. The race will feature plenty of singletrack and showcase central Pennsylvania's off-road riding.

"The race will include four stages that start and finish near the race headquarters," said race Executive Director Mike Kuhn to Cyclingnews. "The others will be within an hour's drive.  We may have stages at the new Allegrippis trails (near Raystown Lake), R.B. Winter State Park to the east, and Black Moshanon to the north."

Stage one will be a 10-mile time trial while all other stages will be single-lap cross country races ranging from 25 to 60 miles. There will be categories for solo competitors, two-person teams, open teams and corporate teams.

The race is located within a few hours of major metropolitan areas such as Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia. "It is very easy to get to State College and participants will find trails that are as good as anything anywhere in the world," said Director at large Ray Adams, who is currently racing the TransRockies (in third overall after stage 4 - ed.).

Adams and Kuhn have led the mountain bike team for five years of racing, promoting tourism in their home state. Kuhn has also promoted some of the largest mountain bike events in the mid-Atlantic.

"We've been working on this event for a few years," said Kuhn. "We almost launched it two years ago, but then had to return to the planning stages.  Now we're ready."

The Corporate Category is unique to the Trans-Sylvania. Within this category the fastest three team member's times on each stage will count toward the overall while permitting teams to start as many riders as they like on any given day. This allows riders of all abilities to participate as often as they like through the week without penalizing team members who want to ride every day.

The Trans-Sylvania Epic is a production of The Outdoor Experience Organization, a non-profit Pennsylvania organization whose mission is to build and create, improve upon, and document forest trails in the state of Pennsylvania for the use of foot traffic, bicycles, cross-country skiers, equestrians and other user groups in order to increase interest in sustainable, healthy, and enjoyable outdoor oriented activities; build outdoor recreation tourism in Pennsylvania.

The State College area is already the home of two well-known mountain bike races: the Stoopid 50 regional event and the National Ultra-Endurance Series' Wilderness 101.

2009 has seen the addition of several stage races to the American calendar, including the Breck Epic in Colorado and the Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage race in North Carolina.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.