It was one of those days
The Bald Eagle Coburn Stage 3 had almost 5000 feet of climbing over 42 miles of fire roads interspersed with technical, rocky trails. Riders found no solace in the mild weather from earlier in the week, which was replaced with temperatures in the low-50s and light to moderate rain for the first half of the competition.
Sam Koerber (ProGold), second in GC, was dropped from the leaders on the very first descent of the day, a short rocky singletrack that threw his chain over his cassette and left him standing trail-side as most of the field passed.
Brian Matter (RACC/Trek/ProGold) who was in third overall at the start of the stage, and Justine Lindine (Redline/NBX), the current race leader, were unaware of what took the fast descending Koerber from the picture but worried little about the cause. Matter, knowing that the time he lost to a flat yesterday could be redeemed, joined forces with Lindine who was looking to pad his lead.
Also in the lead group were Phil Grove (Hammer Nutrition), Aaron Snyder (TSEpic.com/NoTubes), Mike Wissel (B2C2/Boloco), and Wes Richards (Clemmons Bicycle). But Lindine and Matter were not interested in having help and shed the others by the time the race entered Tower Trail, ten miles into the course.
Brian Matter and Justin Lindine pushing through the wet grass on the last climb of Stage 3.
On the first enduro segment of the day, Lindine cooperated to allow Matter to compete in the enduro segments with hopes of keeping the enduro jersey to the end. The two continued around the course trading the lead through Coburn and up the long gradual climb of Seigerville-Millheim Pike. Entering the final enduro segment of the day, Lindine decided that the time was right and jumped away.
“I’m not going to say that I’m not taking advantage of Brian’s interest in the enduro jersey. He slowed and I went,” said Lindine, who crossed the finish line 30 seconds ahead of Matter.
Koerber impressed the competition with an all day chase over the 42 mile course that ended with a third place finish, while Wissell had his best ever finish in a Trans-Sylvania Epic in fourth. Aaron Snyder continued his steady effort in the event with his fifth place finish.
Drew Edsall, though distanced on today’s stage by a crash in the opening miles, did win the stage’s enduro challenges. This result bodes well for the Kenda/Felt racer, as stage 4 focuses on the enduro competition with five timed segments in Rothrock Forest.
Sue Haywood on the way to the stage win.
In the women’s race, the open women’s field was mostly clumped together, with very small gaps separating riders. After entering Tower Trail, the top riders would reunite to form a group that would stay together through most of the race. The group included four members of the Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team—Amanda Carey, Vicki Barclay, Sarah Kaufman, and Sue Haywood—along with Sonya Looney (Topeak Ergon), and Andrea Wilson (Brickhouse Racing).
Exiting Coburn, the group maintained a tight formation, trading off the lead on a pace-line charging through the roads back to the finish. The group climbed at a moderate pace up the gravel on Lingle Valley Road with no one willing to attack. The casual pace benefited eventual stage winner Sue Haywood, who struggled to hold on to the group up the climb.
“All they had to do was look at my face and they would know they should attack,” said Haywood.
With no one willing to be the aggressor, the group entered Mountain Church Road mostly wheel-to-wheel. But they would not stay close for long, as Barclay launched an attack up Synagogue Gap. Carey and Haywood latched on, developing a small gap to the remaining three riders. Haywood attacked the final enduro section hard, passing Barclay on her way down.
Before the mud.
Though still feeling her legs were lacking from yesterday’s effort, Haywood found her strength on the rolling hills and singletrack in the last few miles of the course. Passing Carey on the singletrack, Haywood developed a few second lead that stuck through to the finish line for a first place finish.
Carey’s second place finish allowed her to retain her NoTubes Leader’s jersey, while Barclay followed shortly after to grab third place for the day.
2013 Stage 3 TSEpic GC and Enduro Results are here.