Editor’s Note: This article is part of Mtbr.com’s inside-the-race series, where we examine various facets of the ongoing Trans-Sylvania Epic currently happening 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 is written by Rich Dillen.
Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing) poses with her 2015 Cannondale Scalpel 29 Team Edition mountain bike at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic (click to enlarge). Photo by Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team
Riverside Racing’s Crystal Anthony is mostly known for her cyclo-cross prowess. She’s represented the USA at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in 2014 and 2015 and placed fifth at U.S. Cyclo-cross Nationals just this year. That said, she’s no stranger to the world of mountain bike racing. She placed ninth at US Cross Country Nationals last year and first took a crack at mountain bike stage racing at the 2012 Trans Alps.
I had a chance to catch up with her and chat bikes at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic Mountain Bike Stage Race. By “catch up,” I mean literally, after she smoked by me on the Stage 1 Individual Time Trial, despite my several minute head start.
Anthony is riding a new bike for this year, a 2015 Cannondale Scalpel 29 Carbon Team Edition equipped with a Shimano XTR 2×11 drivetrain and XTR brakes. She’s opted for the very lightweight but time-proven Stan’s NoTubes Race Gold wheels shod with beefy Maxxis tires; an Ardent 2.25 up front and an Ardent Race 2.20 in the rear, both laden with enough technical acronyms to make three complete alphabets.
I did catch her using a handheld compressor to inflate her tires, which immediately identified her as a ‘cross racer. When I asked her what tire pressure she was running, she came back with a quick, “20 psi front and rear.” Cross racers always know their tire pressure.
Anthony’s pretty stoked on one feature that’s new for the Scalpel this year. With one push on the Full Sprint Remote, she can simultaneously lock out the 100mm of travel on her Rock Shox Monarch XX controlled rear end and on her Lefty Carbon XLR 100 fork. It’s a magic button that makes a plush rig into a hardtail, but just when she wants it. I asked her if she’d ever want to do the whole race on a hardtail, and she said, “hell no”.
The most amazing thing that she told me was that she had finally swapped to wider bars this year. By “wider,” she meant that last year she was holding onto bars that were only 584 mm, which blew my mind. She’s now riding bars that are 685 mm, and not only is she enjoying the additional width, she no longer has to endure the chiding from her teammates back home in Newburyport, MA.