Editor’s Note: This article is part of Mtbr.com’s inside-the-race series, where we examine unique facets of the just completed Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race near State College, Pennsylvania. To learn more about the race, visit TSEpic.com. For race reports and results head to outdoorexperience.org/tse/live-coverage. This article was written by Rich Dillen.
Aaron Albright of the Stan’s NoTubes/Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike team is already making a name for himself in the stage racing scene, although he’s only one year older than my 1996 Cannondale track bike and still just shy of the legal drinking age.
Just this April, he was not only one half of the winning duo team at the Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race, but he also walked away with the win in the enduro classification as well. Stage racing is usually dominated by much more experienced riders, so it’s obvious that he has huge potential in the years to come. He finished sixth overall at the 2015 Trans-Sylvania Epic behind some very seasoned riders.
For this season, Albright is riding a BMC Fourstroke FS02 29er. The carbon front end is mated to an alloy rear end with 100mm of Advanced Pivot System suspension. Up front is a Fox Float Evolution Series CTD equipped fork with 100mm of travel. Naturally, he’s rolling on Stan’s NoTubes wheels with a Crest rim up front to save some weight and an Arch rim in the rear for added durability, a must when you’re the type of rider who’s going to peg it on the enduro segments of the Trans-Sylvania Epic.
Like most racers here at the Trans-Sylvania Epic, Albright has opted to run some bigger meats to tackle the Central Pennsylvania rocks: a Maxxis Ardent 2.4” up front with an Ardent 2.25” rear aired down respectively to 20 and 24psi.
Shortly after getting the bike, Albright swapped out the stock Shimano 2×10 drivetrain for a SRAM XX1 1×11 group. He said the weight reduction and function was worth the small loss in overall gearing range.
One significant feature of the stock build he is stoked on is the 180mm rotor spec (front and rear) on his XT brakes, something not normally seen on a bike with only 100mm of travel.
Albright has his handlebars cut down to an East Coast sensible 720mm, wide enough to throw the bike around but narrow enough to squeeze through the tight trees. His ESI Chunky grips have seen better days, but take a quick look around the start line, and you’ll see they are quite popular with the endurance crowd.
When I asked Albright about his bike’s lack of a dropper post and his more gravity-oriented skill set, he replied, “I just don’t have one… yet.”
For more photos, check out the gallery below.