Editor’s Note: Race report by Tim Darwick. Photo courtesy A.E. Landes Photography and Harris Dunlap.
Justin Lindine overturns past year misfortunes to win the 2013 Trans-Sylvania Epic, while Amanda Carey takes her second overall win in the week-long stage race. After close racing all week, riders battled over an intense, 26-mile course in Stage 7 to confirm the final standings.
Heading into the seventh and final stage of the Trans-Sylvania Epic, race leader Justin Lindine (Redline/NBX) led the Open Men field by a comfortable fifteen minute gap over Sam Koerber (Progold) in second. The strong lead allowed Lindine to race more defensively in the final stage to retain his leader’s jersey, while the other competitors used their final opportunity to defend or improve their standings in the GC.
Early in the race, Phil Grove (Hammer Nutrition) put in a strong effort and gained a substantial lead over the Open Men field. “Right before the long enduro section Aaron was pulling really hard; I was following him and the rest of the guys didn’t want to come around,” said Grove. On the road climb heading into the aid station, Grove had a 30 second gap over the chase group comprised of Aaron Snyder, Justin Lindine, and Sam Koerber. However, the group would catch Grove right near the aid station, ending his chance for a stage win. “I can’t quite hang on the dirt road climbs,” commented Grove.
From the checkpoint onward Snyder, Lindine, and Koerber developed a severe pace. “It took a little while to warm up, but I was just getting fired up there towards the end,” said Koerber, who felt particularly strong. Koerber stuck with Lindine, but would lose precious time when he clipped a pedal on a rock and crashed about two miles from the finish.
Lindine developed a minute and half lead over second-place Koerber to take the win in the final stage and finalize his hold on the NoTubes Leader’s jersey in the GC competition.
Brian Matter (RACC/Trek/Progold) went through a troubling day on the bike after spending most of the night with a stomach virus. Matter rode strong to try to keep his third place standing in the GC over Aaron Snyder (TSEpic Team).
Snyder needed to make up twenty-two minutes in today’s stage to surpass Matter in the GC and stand on the overall podium. Snyder watched the clock tick away after he crossed the line, but would only put ten minutes into Matter on Stage 7, leaving him just outside of the overall podium for the week.
Very content with his performance over the week, Lindine commented that it felt “like everything came together,” adding, “We had a pretty good field. Everybody was taking their shot at it every day. It was fast racing.”
Lindine intends to return for the 2014 Trans-Sylvania Epic to defend his jersey.
After losing over thirty minutes from a detour off-course in Stage 5, the Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women went into the final stage with one goal: to reestablish their dominance of the Open Women GC. After a strong finish in Stage 6, Vicki Barclay needed to gain only 41 seconds on fourth-place Andrea Wilson (Brickhouse Racing) in order to put the NoTubes team in the top four GC positions.
Sarah Kaufmann, the winner of today’s stage, worked from the start to move Barclay up the field and develop an early lead. “We had a plan for Vicki [Barclay] and we executed it,” Said Kaufmann. With Barclay suffering from a small virus, Kaufmann helped to pace her through the road sections while Barclay used her technical skills to excel on the single track. “Sarah was my knight in shining armor,” said Barclay of Kaufmann’s assistance.
With their teammates up the road, Amanda Carey and Sue Haywood took a brisk but defensive pace. Carey’s lead in GC enabled her to play a more supportive role in Stage 7, allowing her to “be more choosey about when to help and when to go.”
Despite having her teammates as her main competitors, Carey acknowledges that the race dynamic remained intense. “We are still each other’s competition; Sue [Haywood] and I went at it every day fair and square,” said Carey.
The NoTubes team’s goal succeeded, with Barclay gaining almost eight minutes over rival Andrea Wilson. Sarah Kaufmann finished first in the stage, with Barclay following shortly behind. Haywood and Carey crossed the line within fifteen seconds of each other in third and fourth, respectively.
The strong finish secured the top four GC podium spots for the Stan’s NoTubes team, with Amanda Carey keeping the NoTubes leader’s jersey, Haywood in second, and Kaufmann in third and Barclay in fourth with Wilson finishing fifth overall.
Though NoTubes controlled the podium at the end of the week, their success was hard fought. “Talk about a roller-coaster week,” commented Carey, who’s team endured crashes, detours, mechanicals, and ninety-degree weather over the rugged Pennsylvania terrain. Continuing, Carey admitted that the Trans-Sylvania Epic contained “some of the most challenging riding” she had experienced. Carey encouraged other riders, particularly those from the West unfamiliar with East Coast terrain, to challenge themselves at the Trans-Sylvania Epic. “If you think the high-altitude, long climb stuff is hard, you come and ride these rocks; this stuff is no joke,” said Carey. When considered the technical nature of the course all week, Carey remained grateful to her lead sponsor, attributing her flat-free race to Stan’s NoTubes’ products.
After two disappointing stages for former U25 leader, Cory Rimmer (Piney Flats Bicycles/Dean Endurance) used Stage 7 to put in one last effort to reclaim time on the GC. With six minutes separating him and second place Gunnar Bergey (Team Seifert), Rimmer executed an exhaustive attack. “I just put it all out there,” said Rimmer after the stage.
The attack was effective early in the day, growing to two minutes within the first few miles. As Rimmer attacked the gravel climbs, he built his lead to over five minutes by the end of the day, taking the stage win in the process.
However, the gap would not be sufficient to remove Bergey from the second step on the GC podium. Rimmer would still trail Bergey by almost a minute and a half.
Rimmer applauded the other racer’s efforts. “Everyone I raced definitely deserved what they got,” said Rimmer on his competitor’s successes. Though not meeting his own personal expectations for the week, Rimmer acknowledged his shortcomings and had a definitive plan should he race again next year.
With the final stage concluded, Madison Matthews kept the U25 Leader’s jersey, much to the cheers of the local cycling community. Gunnar Bergey keeps second place, while Rimmer’s impressive ride secures third-place.
Coming into Stage 7, race leader Matt Ferrari (FreezeThaw/Hubcap Cycles) held a comfortable lead over second place Dax Massey (Breck Epic/Honey Stinger/Light and Motion). However, with the two riders riding wheel-to-wheel the past few days, Ferrari did not have the luxury of easing up on the last day of the race.
Though close in the early segments of the race, Massey suffered from two flats throughout the 26-mile stage, causing him to lose six minutes to Ferrari by the time he hit the aid station.
“I just kept looking over my shoulder expecting him to come and get me, but he didn’t,” said Ferrari on Massey’s unexpected absence from the lead of the race.
Massey was able to recover some time from his bad luck, but it would not be enough to catch Ferrari. The FreezeThaw/Hubcap Cycles rider took the stage win and earned the Single Speed leader’s jersey for the 2013 Trans-Sylvania Epic.
Ferrari attributes his success throughout the week to his girlfriend’s support, “Nita is my main teammate; she got me through this week. I couldn’t have done this without her.”
With improved fitness in the second half of the week, Rob Campbell took his first stage win in the Masters 40+ competition. Chris Cyr (Bikeman.com) finished second, with four and a half minutes separating him from Campbell. Bob Radzwich (The Bicycle Shop/Vassago) also showed phenomenal late-week form, finishing third in Stage 7, only thirty seconds behind Cyr.
In the GC standings, Nathan Ruch (Evolution) stays in first place to keep his NoTubes Leader’s jersey, while Alex Hawkins and Rob Campbell take second and third, respectively.
John Williams continued his control on the Masters 50+ field with another stage win. Williams closes out the 2013 Trans-Sylvania Epic in first-place for the GC, giving him the leader’s jersey. Jack Dalzell and Joe McCarthy had a tight race today, with Dalzell finishing only thirty seconds ahead of McCarthy to take second place. The finish, however, was not enough to make up for McCarthy’s sizeable lead in GC. McCarthy finishes second in the GC, while Dalzell finishes in third.
With the exception of one stage, TransRockies/Honey Stinger/Planet Foods riders Jon Firth and Drew Simson controlled the Duo Mens category for the entire week. The two took another stage win today, extending their GC lead to one hour and ten minutes over second place stage and GC finishers Mike Festa and Craig Lebair (Philadelphia Ciclismo). Christian Baks and Paul Wojciak (Pawling Cycle and Sport) hold third place in the GC after finishing third in today’s stage.
Kaarin Tae and Lawrence Plug (Java Blend) take another Duo Coed stage victory with a seven minute lead over second place Elizabeth Shaner and Sean Riley (Griggs Orthopedics). The Java Blend riders secure their GC victory, while Crosshairs Cycling duo Libbey Sheldon and Chris Merriam take second on the GC podium. Shaner and Riley take the honor of third in the GC after a strong showing this week.
Achieving one of his main goals for the week, Toasted Head Racing rider Zach Adams finishes first in the Enduro results for Stage 7. Clocking in only two-seconds behind Adams, Stephan Kincaid (Team Seifert) placed second in the stage’s enduro competition, while Drew Edsall took third. For the Women’s Enduro stage competition, Kaarin Tae (Java Blend) put in a phenomenal run for a first place finish. Enduro leader Andrea Wilson (Brickhouse Racing) finished thirteen seconds behind for second, and Jordan Salman (Pisgah Tavern) beat out Rhonda Pearce by two seconds for third place.
In the Men’s Enduro GC competition, Drew Edsall (Kenda/Felt) finished first with a four point lead over second place Derek Bissett (NoTubes/Trans-Sylvania Epic/BMC). Zach Adams’ consistent riding landed him in third place.
In the Women’s Enduro GC competition, Andrea Wilson retains her substantial lead to win the leader’s jersey for the race. Rhonda Pearce and Jordan Salman finish second and third, respectively, in a very close competition.
Unique to the Trans-Sylvania Epic, the Epic Team category enables riders to construct teams of two to five riders to focus on fun and camaraderie while competing in a GC event. While any and all team members may start any combination of stages, the Epic Team category requires at just one team member to finish a stage each day to compete in the GC competition.
Cycle-Smart wrapped up the week with another first place stage finish, thereby confirming their first place GC position in the Epic Team category and taking home the perpetual Epic Team Cup. Team Seifert, racing for the family of a friend on the anniversary of his loss in the Iraq invasion ten years ago, once again benefited from teammate Gunnar Bergey’s strong ride, leading them to second in the stage and GC. Team Kelpius Cycling & Logan Taylor finished the stage just two minutes behind Team Seifert for a third place stage and GC finish.