Enduro racing has exploded in popularity in recent years, and the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race presented by Dirt Rag Magazine takes that popularity seriously, with their week-long SRAM Enduro stages during each day’s racing and a full day devoted to the SRAM/Geax Enduro on stage 3 on Tuesday.
The 22-mile long stage 3 featured five enduro segments—for those who don’t know, enduro stages are roughly four to eight minutes in length, largely downhill and often technically challenging—and riders were only timed on those segments combined, not the trails to them and between them. The enduro segments featured some of Pennsylvania’s best riding: massive rock gardens; fast, tight downhills; and everything in between.
Day 3’s weather started with sunny skies but racers knew they were also racing to finish ahead of massive thunderstorms moving into the area. Mike Broderick (Kenda/NoTubes) and Vicki Barclay, above (NoTubes Elite Women’s Team) won the day’s enduro stage while Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) and Cheryl Sornson (Rare Diseases Cycling) continue to lead the men’s and women’s overall standings.
Mike Broderick (Kenda/NoTubes), who has been doing well in the enduro stages thus far, again showcased his prowess and took the stage win. Behind him, 2013 overall winner Justin Lindine (Redline/NBX) redeemed himself after a comedy of mechanical errors in the first two stages to take second spot, while local under 25 racer Madison Matthews (Toasted Head Racing) impressed his elders with a third place finish.
“More or less, everything went according to plan,” said Broderick. “I went into the stage prepared and only had a few mistakes. At the end of the day, I knew I had a good thing going and I was consistent.”
Lindine said, “I had a day when nothing went wrong, which was good since so far this race has been a challenge that way. Today was fun – I like those trails.”
Tristan Uhl (TSEpic.com), who took fifth in the stage and is currently holding the enduro leader’s jersey for the overall race, said, “I came into the race knowing that the enduro overall was something I could shoot for.” He’s never done an official enduro, though, so his results have surprised some of the “enduro experts” in the field.
In the overall race, Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) still holds the overall leader’s jersey. Today’s stage shook up the general classification behind him though, as Spencer Paxson, above (Kona) moved into second, edging out Nick Waite (ProTested Gear), who dropped into third spot followed by Paxson’s teammate Kris Sneddon, below.
Bishop said, “I had a blast out there. It was fun to do something different, but it was important today to stay smooth and stay out of trouble.”
Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes) won her second stage in a row, thanks to her intimate knowledge of the local trails and her love of technical riding. Carolyn Popovic (Rare Diseases Cycling) took second, while Barclay’s teammate, Sarah Kaufmann, took third.
“It was fast, and my plan was to stay focused,” Barclay said. “For the first three stages, Sarah was on my wheel, but she got a flat after stage 3. I had some brake issues as well.”
Runner-up Popovic said, “I haven’t done an enduro before – I’ve just done a few super Ds. I’m totally into this and I’m sure it will be the highlight of my week!”
Mary McConneloug (Kenda/NoTubes) and Cheryl Sornson (Rare Disease Cycling) tied for fourth place on the day, after having come into the stage as the enduro overall jersey holder.
Overall race leader Sornson maintained her number one spot, though Barclay is edging closer and closer to the yellow jersey with only three minutes between her and Sornson. Selene Yeager (Rare Disease Cycling) is sitting in third in the overall classification.
U25 men and women
In the BMC Women’s Under 25 race, the first two stages produced close competition between three women in the category: Ellen Noble, above (Bear Development Team), Kaysee Armstrong (Kona/TBB Race) and Emily Shields (BMC Project Dirt).
By stage 3, the spread was roughly eight minutes between Armstrong to Noble, with Armstrong having such a strong showing in the SRAM Enduro stage that she was also sixth among the elite women. The enduro stage played to her greatest strength.
Currently, Armstrong is leading the under 25 women’s overall standings, with Shields in second and Noble in third. Shields just recently came over to mountain biking from road and cyclo-cross though, and with tomorrow’s road-heavy stage, may make more progress up the rankings.
In the BMC Under 25 men’s race, Madison Matthews (Toasted Head Racing) took the win and logged an impressive third place among the elite men while Cody Phillips (Felt Factory Enduro Team) and Payson McElveen (Richard’s Rainwater) rounded out the top three.
McElveen’s lead is indomitable in the overall classification, but for the first time since racing began this week, he didn’t manage to take the stage win. McElveen leads the general classification, trailed by Cameron Dodge and Cole Oberman, respectively.
After today’s enduro-focused stage, Tristan Uhl remains the overall leader in the men’s enduro classification. However, Uhl’s victory is far from secure, as an incredible performance from Aaron Snyder (TSEpic.com/NoTubes) propelled Snyder from fourth to second overall. After today, Snyder is only 10 points behind Uhl in the overall standings, with third place Michael Broderick (Kenda/NoTubes) close behind. The tight overall competition will provide lots of excitement leading into the second half of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic.
In the women’s competition, overall race leader Kaarin Tae (Bike Monkey Cycling) crashed hard early in the race, resulting in a broken ankle that removed her from the race. In her absence, Kaysee Armstrong (Kona/TBB Race) moved up to first place. Carolyn Popovic (Rare Diseases Cycling) is second in the overall standings, with Cheryl Sornson (RDC) in third. Mary McConneloug, third overall after yesterday’s stage, dropped to fourth overall after today’s stage.
East Coast Rocks
With no Bear Creek East Coast Rocks segments in today’s stage, the overall standings remain unchanged. Mary McConneloug (Kenda/NoTubes) leads, with Cheryl Sornson (Rare Disease Cycling) in second and Kaarin Tae (Bike Monkey Cycling) in third. However, Tae suffered an accident today that resulted in a broken ankle, leaving an opportunity for other riders to move up in the standings.
In today’s race, Kurt Gensheimer (Ibis) won his first stage of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. Gensheimer finished almost a full minute ahead of second place Scott Smith (TVB Race/Tomato Head) on the five timed enduro segments in stage 3. Matt Ferrari (FreezeThaw/Hubcap Cycles) completed the enduro segments with a total time just three seconds slower than Smith.
Gensheimer’s stage win enabled him to reduce Ferrari’s overall lead, but was not enough to unseat the leader from the podium. Ferrari maintains the leaders jersey with a 13-minute lead over Gensheimer. Rich Dillen sits comfortably in third, 10 minutes behind Gensheimer.
Stage 3 resulted in new faces on the BikeFlights.com Masters 40+ podium, as Mike Yarnall bested the field to take first place in the day’s enduro segments. Yarnall beat second place David Cook by 43 seconds, while Mike Hebe (Team Novo Nordisk) finished just four seconds behind Cook.
Despite the unique stage results, the overall standings for the Masters 40+ category remain unchanged in order: Nathan Ruch (Pure Energy Scott Elite Team) leads the standings, with Steve Mee, above, in second and Hebe in third. However, the results from today’s stage bring the three leaders even closer together in the overall standings, with only 1:41 separating the riders.
Alex Hawkins rode strong to a first place finish in the Masters 50+ category in today’s stage, completing the five enduro segments in 23:36. Hawkins’ time was strong enough for a sixth place finish in the overall Open Enduro competition, and enabled him to gain over a minute on race leader Jim Matthews (Toasted Head Racing).
The overall standings for the Masters 50+ category remain unchanged, with Matthews in first, Hawkins in second, and Rick Landry (speedriver.com) in third. However, Landry suffered a significant loss of time on two enduro segments, resulting in a 33-minute gap between him and Landry in the overall standings.
TS3 – Three-day Trans-Sylvania Epic
With commanding performances in today’s enduro stages, Jeff Lenosky won stage 3, with Barry Wicks coming in second and Stephan Kincaid (SRAM Factory East) in third. Lenosky posted the fastest time on three of the stage’s five enduro segments. The stage victory did not change the overall standings, as Barry Wicks (Kona Bikes) retained his first place standing to win the men’s TS3 three-day race, which finished up today.
Jess Kutz showed her all-around strength with another stage win in today’s enduro race. Kutz completed the segments 50 seconds ahead of second place, Melissa Nash Mertz (Toasted Head Racing). The win secured Kutz’s position as the women’s winner of the TS3 race.
See all our coverage of the 2014 Trans-Sylvania Epic here.
Daily video coverage
Click here to view a video of stage 3 race coverage.
Track top riders
The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race, partnered with event tracking provider Trackleaders.com, device maker SPOT LLC and Stan’s NoTubes, is the first stage race in North America to be testing the use of tracking devices for top racers. Visit TSEpic.com to follow racers via SPOT tracking during each stage.
Click to download a spreadsheet:
Stage 4 Preview
ProGold’s Coburn stage presented by Purple Lizard Maps
Traditionally considered the dirt road-style stage, this 40-mile Coburn stage has been tweaked from previous years and features new singletrack and doubletrack. The famous dark, abandoned railroad tunnel also makes a return. A new prologue-style lap allows the opportunity to split the group before the first enduro segment on the day. New multi-use doubletrack trail construction through the forest results in a return trip eliminating some gravel roads, but the stage is still expected to be the one with the fastest average speed of the week. This stage was perhaps the most exciting stage in 2013, as top riders in all categories launched attack after attack in attempts to dislodge one another before the end of the stage.
The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic presented by Dirt Rag Magazine is made possible with the generous support of BMC, Pactimo, Hammer Nutrition, Red Bull, Purple Lizard and Freeze Thaw Cycles. For more information, visit OutdoorExperience.org or TSEpic.com; follow on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.