The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic presented by Dirt Rag is drawing a top notch field to its seven-day mountain bike stage race from May 25-31, 2014. Some of the fastest endurance mountain bike racers will converge near State College, Pennsylvania for a race many affectionately call “Singletrack Summer Camp” where $60,000 in cash and prizes is up for grabs with a total of $10,000 going to the top finishers in the general classification, with $5,000 each going to the male and female podium finishers.
Jeremiah Bishop returns, Jeremy Powers debuts
In the open category, past winners, Justin Lindine (Team Redline / NBX) and Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale), are the top favorites. Bishop won the first three editions and is undefeated in his appearances; however, he was absent in 2013, when Lindine claimed the yellow winner’s jersey.
“My specialty is stage races and 100-mile races and after focusing on the Pro XCT series of cross country races last year, racing the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic marks a return to my endurance racing,” said Bishop, above,, a former World Cup racer and national champion.
Former road racing pro Nick Waite (ProTested Gear), a training buddy and long-time racing rival of Bishop’s, will return to his mountain bike roots by lining up at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic.
“I didn’t decide to do it. Jeremiah Bishop mentioned it, I started thinking about a week on the bike, and the pieces came together,” said Waite, who has competed in major road races like the Tour of California. “It’ll be the showdown of my career racing Jeremiah. I figure if I can beat him, I’ve got it covered!”
Back for the fourth time, Lindine, above, will focus on the general classification. “The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic has come to be a cornerstone of my summer race season. This year, it kicks off the first of three week-long stage races I will be doing, including also the BC Bike Race and the Breck Epic, so I’m excited to get things off on the right foot!”
A few racers from abroad will be on the start line for the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. Among them are Peter Glassford (Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team) from north of the border and German Ben Sonntag (Stan’s NoTubes), who now resides in Durango, Colorado.
Sonntag has done stages races around the globe, but will be making his first appearance at the TSEpic. “The race has some pressure to fulfill all the hype I’ve heard. Considering the depth and talent, this could be the deepest field for a stage race in the U.S. in a while. It’s no secret that I want to race for a top spot in the stages and the general classification.
Other top contenders include Kris Sneddon (Kona), State College local Aaron Snyder (TSEpic.com/NoTubes), Mike Broderick (Kenda NoTubes), Spencer Paxson (Kona) and Cole Oberman (Rare Disease Cycling).
A few big name riders will be competing either on multi-person teams in the seven-day TSEpic or as solo racers in the three-day version of the race TS3. U.S. cyclocross national champion Jeremy Powers and road pro Jeremy Durrin (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) will compete as part of an Epic Team. Seasoned veterans Barry Wicks (Kona) and Jeff Lenosky (Giant) will race as an individuals in the TS3, with Lenosky coming in focused on the enduro competition over the three days.
Multi-time national champ and Olympian McConneloug a favorite
Two past winners, Cheryl Sornson and Selene Yeager (both Team Rare Disease Cycling), are expected to face each other for another shot at the overall title but a late entry by four-time XC national champion and two-time Olympian Mary McConneloug will surely factor in the battle for the top spot.
Sornson, above, won the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic in 2012 while Yeager topped the general classification in 2010.
When asked about her goals for the 2014 edition, Yeager said, “I’m still working on that honestly. The field is so formidable and the week so unpredictable that it’s hard to know what to expect.
Sornson is best known for her accomplishments in single-day, 100-mile mountain bike races and as a multiple time NUE series champion, although she has plenty of stage racing experience, including events like the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race.
“I most look forward to the SRAM Enduro stage,” said Sornson. “I’ve never participated in a race of this format and am excited to try it. It will also be a great break in the week to change things up.”
The two favorites will be challenged by a strong contingent of teammates from the Stan’s NoTubes Women’s Elite Team, among them Sarah Kaufmann and Vicki Barclay, above. Both have proven themselves as podium contenders in previous editions of the race.
Of the Stan’s NoTubes ladies, Barclay is likely to get the loudest cheers from spectators as she is the most accomplished of the local women competing. She’ll enjoy the home court advantage of racing familiar trails and roads.
You can follow the race on Twitter @TransSylvania, #TSEpic, #TS3 and #TSEnduro.
If you want to join in the fun you can register here through May 15.