The fourth edition of the Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic kicked off Sunday with picturesque weather and ideal trail conditions. The riders raced through the 14-mile NoTubes individual time trial at Pennsylvania’s Bald Eagle State Forest. The course took riders through a variety of terrain, from gravel roads, to rocky descents and freshly cut, serpentine trails.
With three-time champion Jeremiah Bishop deciding not to race this year, the open men’s field became an even tougher race as riders fought for the previously dominated top podium spot. Commenting on the talent in the 2013 field, Justine Lindine (Redline) figured that he was competing against “Six or seven guys who are pretty tightly matched.”
Though he acknowledges the threat many riders pose, Lindine (pictured above) was able to secure his lead in the time trial with an impressive 1:00:19, putting him over one minute ahead of runner-up Brain Matter (ProGold) in the overall standings.
Now Lindine hopes to build on his lead through the remaining stages despite his history of misfortune at the TSE in recent years. “I think last year I spent eight miles riding a flat tire just to make it to the aid station,” said Lindine about past misfortune. “Knock on wood, I’d like to avoid that kind of calamity this year.”
Local rider Aaron Snyder (TSEpic Team) also showed a strong performance, as he overtook Drew Edsall (Kenda/Felt) with only two miles left in the course. Snyder’s aggressive ride placed him in third, only three minutes behind Lindine.
In the open women’s field, the racers faced the formidable and dominating presence of the Stan’s NoTubes women’s elite team, which secured the top three podium positions for the day. Amanda Carey (pictured below) was first in 1:12:29, while Sarah Kaufmann and Vicki Barclay completed the podium.
Kaufmann and Barclay showed very comparable form, separated by a mere 16 seconds in the standings. Favored rider Sue Haywood broke her saddle during the race and lost almost eight minutes to leader Carey, resulting in a fifth place finish.
With the first day of racing wrapped up, riders now look forward to Stage 2, presented by Answer. The 36-mile stage will take riders through the beautiful, yet unforgiving, Cooper’s Gap area of Rothrock State Forest. With 4925 feet of elevation gain, and two SRAM/Bear Creek Enduro segments, the course will be sure to mix up the GC results and will test even the most experienced riders.
For full results, visit: TSEpic.com. All photos: A.E. Landes Photography and Harris Dulap. Stage report by Tim Darwick