Photos by A.E. Landes Photography
The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race presented by Dirt Rag Magazine is pleased to announce the route for its fifth edition on May 25-31, 2014. This year’s race will offer more singletrack than ever before and will feature additional enduro segments during seven days of racing through the lush, green forests of central Pennsylvania.
“Staying true to its roots, the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic will treat racers to a variety of stage types. There’s something for everyone – the climbers, the thrill-seeking descenders, the rock-hungry singletrack maestros and those with big engines,” said Trans-Sylvania Epic Race Promoter Mike Kuhn.
“Off the bike and hanging out in between stages, racers can settle in for the week and enjoy the race’s relaxing, camaraderie-filled summer camp-like atmosphere.”
Applying a new order to the stages, the enduro-centric stage will happen on day 3 while the traditional Coburn stage will occur on day 4. Throughout the week, several of the stages will include more singletrack and enduro racing.
NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic elite men’s and women’s winners Justin Lindine and Amanda Carey had a blast en route to victory in 2013.
“The Trans-Sylvania Epic is just an awesome race. The courses are amazing, real East Coast hard, and everything is well run without being super high stress,” said Lindine. “I don’t think I could come up with a better way to spend a week racing my bike, I look forward to it every year!”
Carey said, “What I like most about the Trans-Sylvania Epic is the variety of its terrain and how each day is just so different in character. There’s everything from lengthy rock gardens to dirt road climbs, short enduro segments, both long and shorter days. You need a huge bag of tricks to succeed here. Even after racing and winning Trans-Sylvania Epic twice, I feel like I could still go back again and have a exciting, new and challenging race.”
Sunday, May 25: Stage 1 – Individual time trial, 15 miles
The opening time trial features some tweaks, including new singletrack segments thanks to the Seven Mountains Conservation Corps. and a new enduro segment. Course highlights include portions of a motorcycle enduro-cross course and the network of trails within the boundaries of CampTSEpic, which serves as race headquarters. Noted for its mix of features, the opening day’s route offers a taste of everything riders will encounter throughout the week.
Monday, May 26: Stage 2 – Coopers Gap, 42 miles
Always a favorite among singletrack lovers, the Cooper’s Gap stage gets slightly longer and even more singletrack, which may be hard for those who’ve been here before to imagine. The stage is marked by up to five separate enduro segments of tight, technical Pennsylvania singletrack and one East Coast Rocks singletrack section. In a reversal of previous years, the new route finishes with the climb up Stillhouse Hollow, a notorious ascent in the Wilderness 101 and ends with a tour of base camp’s singletrack.
Tuesday, May 26: Stage 3 – Enduro stage, 25 miles
The third day of the Trans-Sylvania Epic is all about enduro racing. Expect five timed enduro segments with no timed racing in between segments – simply pedal on to the next segment and let it roll. The timed segments count toward both the overall general classification and to the enduro points sub-classification.
Wednesday, May 27: Stage 4 – Coburn, 43 miles
Traditionally considered dirt road-style stage, this 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.
Thursday, May 28: Stage 5 – R.B. Winter State Park, 29 miles
Warning: this stage may rekindle fond memories of favorite East Coast Old School riding at its best. The route travels through a lightly used area that is among the most picturesque riding in Pennsylvania, and old tram trails from early 20th century logging cuts will leave riders with a new understanding of baby-head rocks. The course returns to the trails used during the first two years of Trans-Sylvania Epic. Black Gap Trail is hard for riders to forget and for those who’ve experienced it, White Deer Creek Trail ranks among the top 10 trails in Pennsylvania. R.B. Winter State Park is a beautiful park with a cold, spring-fed lake at the finish to cool riders off. Expect four enduro segments with a wide variety in features.
Friday, May 29: Stage 6 – Tussey Mountain Queen Stage, 42 miles
Perhaps the most awesome stage of the week, this route will again be among racers’ favorites. The 2014 version of the queen stage is a mix of what has come before, combining courses and trails from the first fours years of trips through Rothrock State Forest. New enduro segments on Long Mountain Trail and the never before included Hessick Traill augment the enduro segment count to three on this stage. Rocky singletrack lovers will eat up the scenic Tussey Ridge Trail and another East Coast Rocks segment, although they may not have time to look around at the spectacular view while mindfully picking their lines.
Saturday, May 30: Stage 7 – Bald Eagle, 26 miles
The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic wraps up on the seventh day with a final visit to the Bald Eagle State Forest. A slightly shortened stage of 26 miles offers super fun singletrack sections and two final enduro segments to sort out the enduro GC. It is a stage that is raced hard by some but will be a rolling party for others as everyone closes out an incredible week of riding and camaraderie. Then we’ll celebrate!
The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic presented by Dirt Rag Magazine is made possible with the generous support of BMC, Pactimo, Hammer Nutrition and Freeze Thaw Cycles.