Titan Tropic Stage 1

December 4, 2016

Titan Tropic by GAES Stage 1 – Havana to Soroa

The first serious day of riding finished after riding 97 kilometers from the urban and historic city of Havana to the relaxed mountain resort of Soroa. In observance of the final day of mourning for former Cuban leader Fidel Castro today’s stage was a transfer stage only, meaning no official time was kept.

Riders are given 2 liters of bottled water at the beginning of each stage. Tap water in Cuba cannot be trusted.

Riders are given 2 liters of bottled water at the beginning of each stage. Tap water in Cuba cannot be trusted.

Tucked into the mountains we chased for about half the day, Soroa is known as the “Rainbow of Cuba” for it’s natural beauty and the Orquideario Soroa park, which is home to 700 orchid species from around the world.

Bike racks are full prior to stage 1.

Bike racks are full prior to stage 1.

Today’s stage started with several miles of road transitioning to a jumbled mix of pavement and dirt cane field roads. The pavement sections could barely be called roads as the mammoth potholes littering every stretch made life difficult for the riders and prevented pack riding in groups larger than 4 or 5.

Jen working with our group through 10-foot-tall sugarcane fields.

The second half of the race featured primarily dirt roads only with some primitive trails that would pass for singletrack throwing in some small river crossings and rocky climbs leading to the finish.

We started off slow as burning matches on an untimed stage seemed stupid. As the day went on temperatures started to rise and with the wind blowing hard at 20-30 mph. Our gameplan changed as limiting our time in the heat and holding on to our drafting partners suddenly rose in importance.

We chased the mountains in the distance for most of the day before finally catching them at the very end.

After just over 4 hours we finished without any major issues although we spent most of the day worrying about stray dogs, goats, or cows wandering onto the roads and weaving around atomic potholes.

Once across the finish line, the stress immediately stopped and the chilling began with a distinct Carribean feel. Palm trees, great food, and lounging near the pool was the order of the afternoon.

Farms and children greeted us around every corner

Farms and children greeted us around every corner

Tomorrow’s stage starts and ends in Soroa. Stage 2 will be the first real racing of Titan Tropic. We don’t know what to expect from our competition but today gave us a nice introduction to riding as a team again and the course markings and feed zones of Titan Tropic.

Tomorrow’s stage will be a 106 km loop bringing riders back to Soroa after completing a tour of several hydro-electric dams, fertile crop fields, and some technical riding including a 300-foot rocky climb to the finish line.

 

 

 

 

Titan Tropic Pre-Race Report

Titan Tropic by GAES – Pre-race Report

The moment we learned about Titan Tropic we knew it would be an unforgettable experience. Now add in the death of Fidel Castro and the experience just ramped up to eleven. It’s hard to imagine a more historic time to be in Cuba.

The flight to Cuba was itself an experience. After more than 50 years of travel ban from the US to the largest island in the Caribbean boarding a commercial flight in Miami and landing in Havana just 45 minutes later is something few Americans have experienced since JFK was president.

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Leaving the high rises, glitz, and glamour of Miami and in less than an hour you’re transported to a different time, flying over unmaintained dirt roads winding between fields full of ox and cattle before touching down at Jose Marti International airport, disembarking on the runway, and catching a cab that’s most likely a late 50s Chevy makes you feel like you’ve been transported back in time. While just 90 miles south of the United States, Cuba feels light years away.

Titan Tropic has already been a unique experience and we haven’t even started racing yet.

All of Cuba is currently observing a period of mourning following the death of their former leader and this will continue until December 5th. For Havana that means the rollicking nightlife it’s become known for is on hold but promises to resurface when riders return to the capital city on December 9th.

We have still been able to visit the city and take in the incredible culture and architecture of Havana, which dates back to the 16th century.

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Havana is also known for it’s many artists and art instillations including the home of Jose Fuso. Fuso is a Cuban treasure who opens his private home for visitation and you can tour the neighborhood he has rebuilt with glittering mosaics.

And of course we have been awestruck by the American cars from Dodge, Plymouth, Oldsmobile, Ford, and Chevy dating back to the 1940s and 50s when owning a car was more than just a mode of transportation but a statement about the driver. The cars alone are worth a trip to Havana.

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The Titan Tropic organizers have had to make some changes in observance of the mourning period and that includes canceling the prologue day and stage one will be neutralized as well but the racers will be riding the entirety of the stage without logging an official time.

The real racing starts with stage 2 with riders making a loop around the mountain resort town of Soroa, known locally as the “rainbow of Cuba” for it’s unsurpassed natural beauty.

My wife Jennifer Hanks and I will be competing as a mixed duo team. According to race rules we must ride within 2 minutes of each other throughout the race and can help each other along the way. For us that usually means me carrying all the food and tools, keeping Jen light and fast on the climbs. This will be our fourth team event and we seem to work pretty well together with each knowing their partner is trying their hardest at all times.

We will do our best to keep everyone updated on the race throughout the week as our internet availability allows.

In the days to come there are many incredible experiences in store for all the riders as the race takes in torrential river crossings, Unesco World Heritage sites, tobacco fields, tree rats the size of a house cat, majestic white sand beaches and much more.

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Descriptions of the 5 stages of Titan Tropic are below:

The race starts in Havana. Usually with a 30km untimed prologue around the city taking in all the sights including the Malecon, Revolution Square, and the Plaza de Armas. Unfortunately, the prologue had to be canceled in observance of the official mourning period following the death of Fidel Castro.

Titan Tropic’s first stage, 89 kilometers from Havana to Soroa, will also be neutralized as the final day of mourning. However, racers will ride the full distance without logging an official race time.

Following their first night of tent camping in Soroa riders will ride the following day for the first official competitive stage of the 2016 Titan Tropic.

This stage will be a 106 km loop bringing riders back to Soroa after completing a tour of several hydro-electric dams, fertile crop fields, and some technical riding including a 300-foot rocky climb to the finish line.

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Stage 3 is the longest of the Titan Tropic at 119 kilometers and perhaps the most scenic taking the race from Soroa to Vinales. This stage includes multiple large river crossings, mountain climbs as steep as 18%, and the unique mogotes (haystack-shaped limestone mountains) of Valle Vinales which make it a Unesco World Heritage site.

Riders will camp here overnight before taking on stage 4, Vinales to Vinales, of 84 kilometers. Known as the Queen Stage of Titan Tropic, Vinales to Vinales, is completely off-road and reportedly the most difficult of the race.

The fifth and final stage takes riders 86 kilometers from Vinales to Cayo Jutias, a white-sand key on the northern Atlantic coast of the island. Despite being named for the giant tree rats that inhabit the islands mangroves, Cayo Jutias is a jewel of the northern coast of Cuba and protected for it’s singular beauty.

Click Here for a Full Start List for the Titan Tropic.

Check back with MTB Race News for updates throughout the week.

Breck Epic Stage 3 Report

BRECKENRIDGE, Colorado

(Uncommon Comms.)

The third day of the Breck Epic saw the riders tackle the second-longest course of the week, circumventing the massive Mt. Guyot. Men’s overall race leader, Todd Wells (SRAM-Troy Lee Designs) and teammate Russell Finsterwald distanced themselves from the others on the second climb of the day —the decisive Georgia Pass—and they never looked back. “On the second climb, it’s a really steep one and it’s rideable all the way to the top,” said Wells. “It’s one of those things where you don’t attack or anything, you just push whatever gear you can sustain and we rolled off.”

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By the time Wells and Finsterwald reached the rock gardens at the bottom of the descent off Georgia pass the duo had about five minutes over third place rider Chris Jones (Unitedhealthcare Pro Cycling). At the finish, the lead duo had a nearly seven-minute gap.“First legit mountain bike podium ever,” said Jones at the finish. “Well, I’ve only done like six races ever, but I think if I’m on the podium with Todd and Finsterwald, that’s a pretty legit podium, right? We’ll call it dumb luck. I was okay going up Georgia Pass, but I don’t have the skills those guys do [on the steep climbs] where you’re just kind of balancing and if you unclip you have to run. That’s where those guys got away. They rode a section, I had to walk it, and I never saw them again.”

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While the leaders had dry conditions for most of the day, the majority of the field dealt with driving rain on the climb and descent of Georgia Pass. Many riders dealt with flats early on, including Clif Bar teammates, Troy Wells and Ben Sontag. Sontag was able to repair his flat with a plug, but Troy Wells’ who suffered his flat early in the stage, got shuffled back in the field and lose a chunk of time.

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ON RIDING WITH FINSTERWALD

“You know when you’re descending and you’re at a comfortable pace? ”Asked Wells. “You’re going fast, but it’s what you feel comfortable at. I was going just over that the entire day, so I couldn’t even enjoy those descents. I was always looking forward to the climbs so I wouldn’t have to worry about crashing into a tree. You know, we have a decent lead now, but with stage race mountain bike, anything can happen. You can lose an hour. Two hours. Break a wheel and have to walk five miles. “It’s not over until the finish,” added Finsterwald.

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In the three-day Epicurio us, Bryan Dillon (Topeak-Ergon), added to his lead with a win on his third and final stage. “Today is a fun stage. It really gets into the true Breckenridge style of rocky-riding and hike-a-bikin’, but it’s super fun,” said Dillon. “Being up on Guyot that time of day and looking back down on the valley, it’s just righteous.”

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WOMEN’S PRO/OPEN 6-DAY

The Women’s 6-Day Open leader, Amy Krahenbuhl, added to her lead with her elevated level of technical riding on the technical descents of stage three. Ksenia Lepikhina (Tokyo Joe’s) was in second 10-minutes back, and Emma Maaranen (Rolf) was another four and half minutes back of her. “[Lepikhina] was behind me at the start of the first climb, but after that I was hanging out with boys and using that as motivation, said Krahenbuhl of Lepikhina.

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“Today I finally felt like my legs were strong. I really like the day after day cycling, so I felt like today I finally got my legs and I’m going to keep with it.” “Absolutely beautiful to go up and over the Continental Divide,” continued Krahenbuhl. “Everyone was in great spirits and having a great time. On the downhill everyone was hootin’ an’ hollarin’. There was great energy out there.” With stage four being the longest of the week and almost 8,000 feet of climbing, there will be plenty of good times for the race leaders and those just enjoying the high-mountain singletrack, alike.

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Full Results from the stage here: (Stage 3 Results)

2016 Off Road Assualt on Mt. Mitchell Race Report

Race Report: Blue Ridge Adventures – Off-Road Assault on Mt Mitchell

The 2016 Off-Road Assault on Mt Mitchell (ORAMM) started off in downtown Old Fort, NC, for its 17th consecutive year, on Sunday, July 31, 2016. ORAMM was one of the earliest endurance mountain bike events in western North Carolina and has gained a reputation across the country for its challenging course, beautiful scenery and great support. For 2016, ORAMM saw riders from 26 different states, and as far away as Phoenix, AZ.

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Due to construction on Old Hwy 70, there was a slight re-route this year that added an additional 2 miles onto an already long course. That still didn’t stop the top riders from setting a blistering pace of over 13 mph across 62 miles and over 10,000 feet of climbing.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, Kitsuma, Heartbreak Ridge and Curtis Creek are all names that come up over and over again when talking to ORAMM racers. With beautiful views, rooty and rocky descents and climbs, long singletrack downhills and gravel road climbs that will make even the toughest of riders quiver, ORAMM has it all, leaving lots of smiles and grimaces on the faces of riders new and old.

A nice size lead group of about 12-15 riders stuck together for over half of the race. As they made the long climb up Curtis Creek to the Blue Ridge Parkway, things started to break apart. This is where racers have to decide to stay with the leaders or save some for the last third portion of the course. When all was said and done the top 3 finishers came in less than 10 minutes of each other and the top 6 broke the 5 hour mark.

For the Open Men category, current course record holder, Thomas Turner, took the win with a time of 4hrs 34min. Tristan Cowie followed for 2nd place in 4hrs 37min and Matt Champion rounded out the top 3 in 4hrs 43min. The Open Women category saw impressive performances as well, with Jen Nielson coming in first at 6hrs 21min. Jordan Salman and Erin Setzer took 2nd and 3rd place, with times of 6hrs 39min and 6hrs 45min, respectively.

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There are number of racers that choose to do a double-header, with the 26 mile Jerdon Mountain Challenge on Saturday and ORAMM on Sunday. Among these was Junior racer, Chad Hale, from Tallahassee, FL. This 17 year old racer took 5th overall in the Jerdon Mountain Challenge and almost broke the 6hr mark, with an impressive time of 6hrs 5min. With weekends like this, we’re sure we’ll be seeing his name pop up more and more. In addition to Hale, Andrew Blackstock and Noah Pawlik were 2 other Juniors racing ORAMM. Both at 15 years old, they endured with solid times and more importantly, finished the race.

 For complete results, visit: http://www.blueridgeadventures.net/2016-oramm-results/

It was another great day in Old Fort and smiles could be found all around the finish line area. Lots of stories shared and a feeling of accomplishment for everyone who trained, traveled and experienced one of the best mountain bike events in the country. While the podium often gets much of the attention, for hundreds of other riders, ORAMM is about setting a goal and pushing yourself, not necessarily to win, but to just have a good ride. For some, ORAMM is a race. For most, it’s a mountain bike adventure and one that brings riders back year after year.

-Written by Seyl Park

2016 Jerdon Mountain Challenge Report

Race Report: Blue Ridge Adventures – Jerdon Mountain Challenge

240 riders, from 13 different states, put their wheel to the starting line of the 2016 Jerdon Mountain Challenge. What was once considered the ‘little sibling’ to the infamous Off-Road Assault on Mt Mitchell (ORAMM), which happens the following day and is over twice as long, Jerdon Mountain Challenge has become a race all in its own.

Located in the small mountain town of Old Fort, NC, Jerdon takes on many of the same trails as ORAMM, such as Kitsuma and Heartbreak Ridge, but with a more user-friendly distance. This is part of the reason the race has become so popular with a wide range of riders. This year, Jerdon saw a 30% increase in riders over 2015. What makes this number so exciting is the people who make up the 30%. Women saw a 36% increase and 8 junior riders, ranging from 10-17 years old, started and finished the 26 mile route. “This is exactly what Blue Ridge Adventures is all about”, says race director Todd Branham. “Offering challenging, high quality events for seasoned racers, while creating a friendly environment for young and/or less experienced riders”.

The mass start left downtown Old Fort with a police escort leading riders to Curtis Creek, which allowed riders to spread out a bit before making the first climb up to Salt Gap. The route traverses to Star Gap, where riders make the ascent and descent down Heartbreak Ridge. The climb afterwards up Kitsuma is steep and technical, but offers a long descent down the backside, leading to the final miles back to the finish.

 The overall winner, Ben Renkema, from Greenville, SC, finished in 1hr 55min at a brisk 13.5 mph pace. Michael Mathers and Seth Cooley rounded out the top 3. 17 year old, Chad Hale from Tallahassee, FL, had an impressive 5th overall finish, with a time of 2hrs 18min. Bonnie Kleffman took the Open Women win, with a time of 2hrs 33min. Following in 2nd and 3rd place were Leah Nicholson and Duffy Danish, respectively. Another Junior rider made the top 5. Hannah Dickson, from Brevard, NC, came in at 3hrs and 3min, taking the 5th place Open Women spot.

For complete results, visit: http://www.blueridgeadventures.net/2016-jerdon-mountain-challenge-results/

 With temperatures approaching the mid-nineties, it was a hot and dry day of racing. Post-race, riders could be found cooling off in the cold creek that runs right through the finish area and enjoying a well-deserved meal and beverage. While most riders head home and recover in the comfort of their own home, a few hearty souls do a double-header, Jerdon Mountain Challenge on Saturday and ORAMM on Sunday. One of these happens to be Junior rider, Chad Hale. We’ll be keeping our eye on him and cheering him on. Here’s to the next generation of mountain bikers!

-Written by Seyl Park

Big Bear Grizzly 100 Race Report

JULY 23, 2016

Kenda NUE Series #9

Presented by Hammer Nutrition 

By Ryan O’Dell

The third annual NUE Big Bear Grizzly 100 race course received its inspiration from the infamous Terrible 10,000, a ride the local endurance hammerheads have been doing for years. This year’s race included racers from seven different countries and twenty different states. It also rewarded racers in both the Grizzly 100k and 75k with NUE Race Series points.

The race kicked off a week-long cycling festival organized by Big Bear Valley Race Association teamed up with the Big Bear Cycling Association and the City of Big Bear Lake. Big Bear Cycling Association promotes the Tour de Big Bear this next weekend with an anticipated 2000 riders.

2016 Grizzly 100 NUE Tinker Juarez

Located at 7000 feet above sea level, the charming tourist town of Big Bear has long had a solid reputation as a cycling destination, attracting visitors from the LA Valley and hosting some of the largest national events over many years. Nearby ski resorts offer lifts for cyclists during the summer months accessing the newly developed Skyliner Trail. New Belgium Brewing offered several variety’s of draft brews throughout the day in the beer garden welcoming weary racers and fans with malty, hoppy goodness.

 

 

 

Women’s Open – Edwards wins!

Following her fifth place finish last year, Chase Edwards moved up and across the finish line first in 2016 at 6:19:13.

Eight minutes later, Nikki Peterson, took second at 6:27:38 improving from a fourth place finish in 2015. “The Grizzly 100 is a unique event: with 8,000+ feet of climbing that is 75% singletrack, it is extremely challenging! However, at point in time when you are in excruciating pain all you need to do is look around and suddenly you are feeling better because the views are that AMAZING! I was recently signed to Team RideBiker, a professional mountain bike team, and this was my second race with them. Adam Pulford, the director of Team RideBiker and a coach for Carmicheal Training Systems, is my coach so, as of two weeks ago, I am training more than I ever have! I am so excited to have this opportunity, it is a dream come true!

2016 Grizzly 100 NUE Chase Edwards

The Grizzly 100 is not a focus for me as I am focusing on XCO distances (1:30-2hr races) so we decided to not rest up for it and ride it in the middle of a large training block. With this is mind, we focused heavily on my nutrition throughout the race to ensure that I was fueled properly for the latter half, where I bonked hard last year!

I came into this year’s event as the fastest returning competitor from the 2015 event. However, I knew the field was stacked: Chase Edwards, who finished 5th last year only thirty seconds behind me and beat me by 21 minutes at the Whiskey 50 in April; Madeline Bemis, a high school Phenom who happens to be the U23 World Champion in the 24 Hour Solo; Lauren Mulwitz, a new Pro who won Cat 1 Nationals 2 weeks ago; and local endurance legend Rhonda Patterson-Geiszler, who is commonly found on the podium of endurance races.

The race started out fairly fast given the fact that we had 56 more miles to go! I knew it was important to get a good position for Seven Oaks so I went with the quick start, went back and forth with Chase, and had a good spot going into the sketchy downhill. I ended up passing three people going down and felt good about the descent. Shortly after we got onto the fire road Chase was there again. We played Cat and Mouse for a while but Chase ended up getting onto SART ahead of me. I paced myself on SART, feeling my heavy legs but not worrying as I knew there was a lot of racing ahead. I caught up with Chase towards the beginning of Radford. She turned around, saw me, and put in a huge attack! I ended up struggling up Radford, which is usually a strong point for me, and never saw Chase again.

I stopped at the Heaven aid station to fill up my pack and continued on. Skyline was slow going at times but unlike last year when I had to dab and even get off my bike often, I was able to clean everything this year! I kept up with the hydration, sugars, and electrolytes and didn’t even bonk- another success! The best part though? I felt amazing going up the five mile Pineknot climb at mile 50! Some of it had to do with my positive mindset, but most of it had to do with nutrition and training. I finished strong on the fire road and came across the finish line in second place, 25 minutes faster than last year! I ended up about 8 ½ minutes behind Chase, which is also an improvement over the Whiskey 50 results.

All in all, I am stoked on my race given the circumstances. The Grizzly 100 is a very well-organized event and will likely be my next NUE event as I am going to work on getting some UCI points to hopefully compete in World Cups in the next year or two!”

Lauren Mulwitz from Marina Del Ray, CA finished third at 6:50:03.

At the age of fifteen, she was the final finisher in 2014, not long after becoming the 2014 NICA California State Champion. Last year, Madeline Beamis, Bear Valley Bikes, moved up to sixth place. Beamis moved up again this year finishing fourth at 7:01:06. “I took off fast from the starting line to begin the long uphill climb, paying close attention to the women around me, and estimating who would be my toughest competitors. The 7 Oaks single-track is the first downhill, and is particularly challenging because of the sandy terrain being easily influenced by every tire that passed before mine. Large ruts were left in the ground, leaving me holding on tight to my handlebars while sliding around; trying to avoid falling down the steep sandy slopes beside me. I was relieved when I reached the end of the daunting 7 Oaks and a wide downhill fire road greeted me.

Next up was SART, which is a more stable singletrack complete with just the right amount of rocky and technical terrain. At the end of SART, I had moved up from 9th place to 6th, and was determined to continue powering through. Next on the agenda was the infamous Radford climb, which is a grueling six-mile uphill. 5th place was in sight at the beginning of Radford, and I was determined to make a move or, at the very least, keep her in my sights. She and I both stopped at the aid station midway up, so I took off while she continued fueling.

But, as soon as she started again, she began gaining on me. I considered giving up and letting her steal 5th place back, which is something I would have done in my first or second year of the race, but this year was different. I became the U23 24-hour solo world champion in New Zealand this past February, so now I stand for something. People know who I am, cheer me on by my name, and hope to see me succeed in endurance races like these. So I persevered and held on tight to 5th place.

I had paced myself well in the beginning, so I was able to stay strong for the remaining 30 miles. More mountain singletrack and fire roads followed, but nothing as challenging or exhausting as Seven Oaks Singletrack or Radford. Temperatures reached up into the 90’s mid-race, but by the finish it was pouring rain with crackling lightning and dark clouds shadowing the landscape. The scenery was breathtaking as always in Big Bear, and the spirit and energy of the whole event is always memorable. The SAG stations of the Grizzly 100 are what make this race truly special. About every ten miles, an EZ Up sheltering cheering supporters awaited hungry racers, ready to serve boiled potatoes, fresh fruit (the watermelon was especially refreshing), peanut butter pretzels, olives, beets, pickles, trial mix, and even smoothies!

I am grateful for the support of my parents, coaches of my high school mountain bike race team Corona Composite, Empire Bikes, Kenda Tire, and, most importantly, God for the opportunity and ability to race mountain bikes. I ended the race in 4th place for the 2016 Grizzly 100 NUE, and I’ll definitely be back next year to improve my time and fight for another podium finish.

Eight minutes later, Mary Dannelley took the final podium spot to place fifth at 7:09:57.

Men’s Open – Lideen gets his second NUE Win of the season!

Taylor Lideen, Pivot Cycles 92Fifty, from Phoenix, AZ earned his second NUE Series victory with a winning time of 5:05:16. Lideen won the NUE Season Opener at True Grit and was 8th at Bailey Hundo before suffering an injury to his wrist and hand at the Tatanka.

“Oh man! What a fun event the Grizzly 100 was! I was super nervous going in knowing I had to conserve a bit due to racing next weekend at Pierres Hole in Wyoming. I think trying to keep a lid on things was a real test of patience but a smart choice considering that I have heard Pierre’s Hole is a tough race!

A group of eight or so formed right away and it seemed like we were all having so much fun! The first long downhill was such a blast! About half way into our day it was Tinker, Steven and I. Up the long climb Steven kept pushing his single speed gear and pulled away from Tinker and me. It was super impressive to watch Steven crank out an amazing ride on his singlespeed, massive congrats to him! I wasn’t at all interested in chasing Steven down as I was worried about coming across some more bad luck if I pushed too hard. I was happy enough to come across the line with a clean race and no crashes or bad luck like the last few NUE’s for me. Everyone was so dang friendly in Big Bear and it is an event I would definitely go back to! Next up is Pierre’s Hole and the Hampshire 100! I can’t wait for those events!”

Two time US Olympian and Hall of Fame inductee, David “Tinker” Juarez was next, just four minutes behind Lideen to finish 5:09:09. “I was hoping for a better result, of course, but when it is not your day, just go with the flow and be happy with what you get. When you make the podium that is not so bad. The course was awesome with 80% single track and over 8,000ft of climbing. It takes a lot of concentration because of the single track and that makes it a different challenge to race.”

2016 Grizzly 100 NUE Taylor Lideen

Three minutes behind Juarez, Ryan Steers was third at 5:12:10. “This is one of my favorite races of the year and one of the best courses you can ride in SoCal. To race here you have to be able to do everything well. Long, scorching, brutal fire road climb? Radford. Check. Elevation? Most of the race is at 6500-8k feet. Check. Technical single track? About 40 miles of it: Cabin Trail, Skyline, Santa Anna River Trail, Plumbers Trail. Check. Ridiculous loose descent with massive exposure? Seven Oaks. Check. Pavement? A few miles but still a check. To win this race you’ve got to be able to climb, descend, flow, spin, climb some more, shred it, and hammer….and ride a singlespeed?

We lined up at 6:45 for a 7am start. It was already getting warm in the sun, which was worrisome. The start was quick. You have a few hundred yards of gradual uphill pavement on Pineknot and then you hit 2N08 and the race is on. It’s only a few miles but just shy of 1000 feet of climbing and gets the heart pumping. The peloton blew apart quickly. I was in the front with Tinker, Steven Mills, Taylor Lideen, Stefano Barberi, Cameron Brenneman and Alfred Pacheco. I noticed Steven was on a single speed and thought to myself, “Wow, this guy is going to blow up.” Boy was I wrong.

After the climb you roll on the fire road a bit and the hit the singletrack and it’s right on to the Seven Oaks Descent: two miles and 1600 feet of descending a super narrow, exposed, sandy rut. No room for error. Every year I’ve been behind someone that’s taken a tumble- nothing serious but it’s easy to do some barrel rolling. Last year Munoz took a few spills and this year Barberi went toppled over. I play it a little too safe and it costs me a minute or two. Most the guys were out of sight by the time we were halfway down. Barberi and I were together and Alan Laframboise caught us and I let him by. Barberi and I hit the fire road at the bottom and played chase with poor single speed Alan spinning out on the rollers. I pulled ahead and caught sight of the leaders (after watching Tinker add some air to his tire and then speed away again). SART trail is always a blast and seems longer every year. They’ve done some work to it so there are no more walking sections and it’s all ridable. It’s a hard trail to rail because there are so many sweeping turns with exposure but you can get some speed. Lots of sharp rocks (I flatted here twice 2 years ago) so don’t run Schwalbes.

After the Santa Anna River Trail the real work begins. You roll along Seven Oaks road for a bit and then start to head up up up. Bit of advice- make sure you get aid here. Don’t hit Radford without full bottles. Sure there’s an aid station 3/4 of the way up but if you stop there you’ll have a really hard time moving again.

My plan all along was to chill the first 30 miles and then give Radford a good push. I saved the segment in my Garmin and gauged my effort against my time last year. On the way up I was able to pass Pacheco and Brenneman and catch sight of Tinker, and Tayler ahead. I also saw Steven throw the hammer down and take the lead on a single speed at the top of Radford! What a beast. This guy was not going to pop. I shaved over two minutes off my climb from last year but it wasn’t enough to catch the leaders.

The joy of Plumbers is immense. After a hot and brutal fire road you are rewarded with two miles of blissful single track….until you hit 2N10 and have to climb all the way back up to Skyline. Ouch. From there it’s about seven miles of rolling skyline but you’ve got to stay on top of your nutrition or it’s super easy to bonk or cramp here. You’re flowing and rolling along and suddenly you forget to drink and you’re out of water with twenty miles left to race. Miles of single track roll by.

I caught a glimpse of Barberi about two minutes behind me and kept the speed up. I kept getting time checks that Tinker was two minutes up but I was never able to spot him. Cabin trail is a blast but the climb back out to the fire road is brutal. Punchy and steep and your legs will be screaming. However, once you get back to 2N08 its easy street. The race ends with four miles of rollers and descending. Don’t crash. The descent into town (the same as the starting climb) is steep, fast, and loose. You probably won’t catch anyone but you can end your day in sight of the finish.

Big Bear is so much fun this time of year and every year we’ve been treated to a thunderstorm at the finish. The course is amazing and the talent is exceptional. I’m three for three on this race and I’ll be back again next year. So excited to finish fourth this year and win a little cash. Shooting for top three next year!”

Two minutes behind Steer, Stefano Barberi, took fourth at 5:14:29, two minutes ahead of Cameron Brenneman of Sante Fe, NM who took the final podium spot at 5:17:18.

Single Speed Open – Mills smokes the field!

Coming off his first NUE win at the High Cascades 100, Steven Mills dropped the hammer in his home state of California getting his second straight win at 5:01:04. Mills also placed third at True Grit and sixth at Bailey Hundo this season.

Allen“The Rasberry” LaFramboise, Don’s Bikes/Bike for Bender, was next at 5:35:37. The Rasberry achieved back to back wins in 2014 and 2015.

NUE Race Series SS leader, Kip Biese, KJBike Coaching/ Old Town Bike Shop, was next taking third at 6:02:15. Already, Biese has completed eight of the last nine races, including four second place finishes and two third place finishes. “I went in tired so I ran a little gear (32/20 on a 29er). On the very first hill I quickly saw I didn’t have it to keep up with Steven or Alan. So I just settled in and enjoyed my ride (except for the Radford climb).”

Ten minutes later, 50-year-old Rex Merritt, claimed fourth at 6:12:36. Three minutes later, Freddie Espinoza took the fifth spot at 6:15:42.

 Masters 50+ Open – Golet gets his fourth NUE Victory!

Greg Golet, Team Chico, moved UP to the top rung of the NUE Standings gaining his fourth straight win in the NUE Race Series this year. Golet’s time of 5:40:55 was four minutes faster than the blistering time put down by 2011 NUE Race Series Masters Champion, Doug Andrews, at the 2015 Grizzly 100.

“I spent an amazing day at Big Bear racing on fantastically varied trails that tested me in new and ever changing ways. I remember a crazy downhill on off-camber, thick coarse sand, where the only sign of the trail ahead was a transient rut carved by the previous rider, a sweet river trail with blind sandy and rocky corners flanked by steep drop offs, a fairly monstrous (HORS) climb that made me really wish for my hardtail, awesome rolling, flowy singletrack along a ridgeline with incredible views of the San Bernadino Mountains taking me up, around, and over cool sculpted granite towers, then a sweet bermed corner forested descent on relative hard pack leading to a nice late-in-the-game, pin-it-to-win-it singletrack climb up to the final fireroad downhill where the probability of a car appearing around each blind loose corner seemed to increase the closer I came to town (but where I got my only top 10 Strava segment on the day!)… All of that packed into one fantastic sub-six hour experience at a truly incredible place on the planet.

In terms of the actual racing, I spent most of the day chasing Doug Andrew’s ghost. He was registered, but didn’t show, although I didn’t know that until after the race ended. Doug was the 2011 NUE champ who has dominated the Master’s field here in the past, and I was worried about getting crushed by “the Hulk”, as he is sometimes called. So much so, I guess, that I taped a couple of his split times from his last year’s Strava record to my top tube. I thought that this might help me track where I was on the course relative to him. In the end, I finished a few minutes ahead of his last years’ time but, of course, that doesn’t really mean much. Just the idea that he might be out there was motivation enough to work hard until the end.

Thanks to Derek and his team for doing a fantastic job hosting all of us 317 riders from seven different countries and twenty US states! Next up Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica!”

Ken Winston from San Diego, CA was second finishing 6:03:55.

 

David Turner was third at 6:23:36. “I really hope that the fast guys in my class that whipped my ass this year share their secrets, as I would really like to go faster next year!

Yes, of course there will be a next year; there was never any doubt from the moment I finished. I was already looking forward to the Grizzly in 2017, maybe even try an out of state NUE like True Grit Epic or the High Cascades 100. The Grizzly race course was incredible, the numerous aid stations staffed with the most helpful people handing out a variety of snacks.  I really cannot thank everyone enough, hats off to Derrick Hermon and the dozens of staff scattered all over the mountain.

Anyone that calls themselves a mountain bike racer should plan on doing an NUE event, this IS mountain bike racing! A long day on the bike away from it all makes the rest of our cluttered lives shut up and just let us be for a good long ride, a total mental and physical reset. I look forward to doing it again.”

Eight minutes later, Dan Bartlett, finished fourth at 6:31:40. David Jolin, Stark Velo, from Belleville, Ohio claimed the fifth and final spot on the podium to finish 6:53:56.

NEXT:

NUE Race Series #10, Pierre’s Hole 100 in Alta, Wyoming on August 6

 

 

 

Big Bear 75k Race Report

JULY 23, 2016

Kenda NUE Marathon Race Series #6

Presented by Hammer Nutrition 

By Ryan O’Dell

The third annual NUE Big Bear Grizzly 100 race course received its inspiration from the infamous Terrible 10,000, a ride the local endurance hammerheads have been doing for years. This year’s race included racers from seven different countries and twenty different states. It also rewarded racers with NUE Race Series points for the first time as part of the new NUE Marathon Race Series.

The race kicked off a week-long cycling festival organized by Big Bear Valley Race Association teamed up with the Big Bear Cycling Association and the City of Big Bear Lake. Big Bear Cycling Association promotes the Tour de Big Bear this next weekend with an anticipated 2000 riders.

Located at 7000 feet above sea level, the charming tourist town of Big Bear has long had a solid reputation as a cycling destination, attracting visitors from the LA Valley and hosting some of the largest national events over many years. Nearby ski resorts offer lifts for cyclists during the summer months accessing the newly developed Skyliner Trail. New Belgium Brewing offered several variety’s of draft brews throughout the day in the beer garden welcoming weary racers and fans with malty, hoppy goodness.

 Women’s Open – Giovane wins!

Sophie Giovane was the first woman across the line at 5:21:14. Ten minutes later, Stacy Forcino was second at 5:31:22. Kathryn Lockwood from Dana Point was third at 5:48:05. Three minutes later, Mandy Oliekan was fourth at 6:08:54.

Men’s Open – Forcino with the W!

Romolo Forcino took the Men’s Open 75k at 4:15:43. Trolis Niebla came in second at 4:57:54.

“The race was epic. I tried not to go too hard at the start and save something for Radford. When we hit the decent from Grand View Point I was sitting third with fourth place on my wheel. I had heard the descent was knarly so I let him by and took it slow. I’m glad I did because the middle of that descent was crazy technical (especially since that was my first time on it).

Once we hit the bottom, I pushed a tough tempo thru the rollers up to the SART. I was able to catch third by the start of the SART. I rode his wheel through the single track and recovered some through this section, ready to go by Radford. I hit the gas at the bottom of Radford and dropped fourth place. Towards the top of Radford I could finally see second place and caught him at the top. When I passed him, I tried to sprint by so that he would not try to suck my wheel.

On the Skyline single track (which I know well), I hit the gas. Once we hit the second part of Skyline I could no longer see the third place racer behind me anymore. On Skyline, I was stopped by a rescue helicopter. I had to hike up a steep incline to the fire road and then back down to Skyline to get around it. This was exhausting and I was panicking about getting caught. After that detour, I pushed it all the way to the finish. It was a super fun and tough day. Glad to have finished second and already looking forward to next year!”

Three minutes later, Scott Pontzer captured third at 5:02:44. Collin Drake was fourth at 5:29:13.

Rob Marquart rolled in just six minutes later to take fifth at 5:35:36.

 

Single Speed Open – Mulka wins the SS!

26 year old Mark Mulka from Columbus, Ohio won the SS race coming in at 6:41:56.

53 year old Raulie Tarango from Fawnskin, CA was second at 7:08:40.

 

Masters 50+ Open – Whittmore wins the Masters!

51-year-old Joe Whittmore from Murrieta, CA took the top spot to finish in 6:00:39. “What a great event! This was my second year racing the Grizzly. Last year I competed in the 100K and decided I didn’t have the fitness for that distance this year, so I signed up for the 75K.

The event is very well supported with several (themed) aid stations that are placed at just the right distance apart. Great volunteers and support staff.

I’m from So CA and love the different trails that comprise the course. SART and Skyline rank at the top of my all-time favorite single track trails. If I had to sum up the race with one word it would be “Radford!”  The Radford road climb is a difficult climb on a good day, but start the 5.7 mile, 2500 ft. climb at mile 30 (at race pace) on a hot summer day and you’re in for a huge challenge, both physically and mentally. The conversation among most racers, post-race, begins and ends with how they did on Radford. Overall a great event! I am looking forward to next year!”

55-year-old Jeff Peterson from Mission Viejo was next, placing second at 6:27:23.

60-year-old Doug Benedon from Agoura, CA was third at 6:48:05. “This my third year participating in the event and I’ll keep coming back (legs and lungs permitting).  Everything about this event is first-class. The organization (registration, volunteer’s course markings, aid stations) is professional and friendly.

The course itself is unbeatable. There is a great mix of single track and fire roads, all of which seems to be pointed uphill. But when things really get tough, and they do, you can soak up the beauty of the surrounding mountains. This is a must do event for anyone looking to challenge and reward themselves on a mountain bike. There are also shorter distances for riders wanting to challenge themselves and get a taste of the event before taking on the longer distances. These riders enjoy the same first-class treatment as the NUE riders, so come one, come all!”

NEXT:

NUE Marathon Race Series #7, Pierre’s Hole 100k in Alta, Wyoming on August 6

 

 

 

Tran-Sylvania Epic Stage 4

Stage 4 win boosts Werner into leader’s spot at NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic

Armstrong claims women’s stage victory while Barclay defends overall lead

TRANS-SYLVANIA, PA (June 2, 2016) – Stage 4 of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic was a wet and wild ride at R.B. Winter State Park, a mainstay of the event with some new trails and more miles added for this edition. A steady rain through most of the day encouraged some riders and hindered others.

Elite men

With its high speeds, smoother trails and wet weather, stage 4 turned into a more tactical battle for the top men. Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling) raced his way into the lead of the general classification by virtue of winning the stage and finishing as the top enduro rider on the day. Previous leader Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek) dropped to second overall after finishing second in the stage and third in the enduro.

Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek) started stage 4 of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic as race leader, but ended it in second place on both the stage and in the GC after a challenging day. The men’s race proved to be extremely tactical with three of the favorites battling it out for most of the stage.

Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek) started stage 4 of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic as race leader, but ended it in second place on both the stage and in the GC after a challenging day. The men’s race proved to be extremely tactical with three of the favorites battling it out for most of the stage.

Previous third overall racer Adria Noguera Soldevila (Buff Pro Team) initially led a group of four top favorites, including his teammate Pau Zamora, Werner and Lindine. However, an unfortunate flat after the first enduro section would eventually cost Soldevila more than 30 minutes on the stage.

That left a highly motivated Zamora with Werner and Lindine. “I often was at the front so I could make up time on the other riders and get a top-three today,” said Zamora.

Werner was happy for the extra company up front. “Pau was being a trooper and taking good pulls with us. He wasn’t the best descender although he’d get in front for some of the enduro segments,” said Werner. “I think his motive was to slow us down so we wouldn’t get away from him.”

Cyclocross pro racer Dan Timmerman (Riverside Racing) is no slouch when it comes to mountain biking. He’s been mixing it up among the top five of the solo men at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic, and sits in fourth overall after stage 4.

Cyclocross pro racer Dan Timmerman (Riverside Racing) is no slouch when it comes to mountain biking. He’s been mixing it up among the top five of the solo men at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic, and sits in fourth overall after stage 4.

Zamora’s strategy worked well until a steep climb just before the fourth of five enduro segments when Werner seized an opportunity. “I’d never seen the trail before, but I had scoped it out on Strava and saw that it was wicked steep for 0.1 miles,” said Werner. “Pau swung wide on the right turn into it, and I chopped him inside and took over the lead ahead of him and Justin. I made it three-quarters of the way up the slick rocks before having to run, but the others had to run the whole thing after Pau slipped out. I led into the enduro segment, got a bigger gap and then went full gas to the finish which felt much further away than it had looked on the course map.”

The enduro riders were clearly having at least as much fun, if not more, than everyone else all week. Here, Cory Rimmer (Kona / Nox Composites / Provision Sports Medicine) demonstrated the preferred enduro line. He and enduro classification leader Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team) have ridden together for most of the week thus far.

The enduro riders were clearly having at least as much fun, if not more, than everyone else all week. Here, Cory Rimmer (Kona / Nox Composites / Provision Sports Medicine) demonstrated the preferred enduro line. He and enduro classification leader Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team) have ridden together for most of the week thus far.

“Kerry’s move was a good one,” said Lindine. “When we popped out on the road after the enduro segment, I could see him, and it became a pursuit match. I closed what was 35-40 seconds down to maybe 20 seconds at the finish.”

“Today was a hard day – a bit of a disaster for me from a GC standpoint,” said Lindine. “Unbeknownst to us, the enduro guys were having a terrible day, so their times on some of the enduro segments were slow. Neither Kerry nor I pushed it on the enduros today, but Kerry ended up first, and I was third in the day’s enduro classification, so due to the enduro time bonuses, I lost even more time to Kerry. Maybe I rode too conservatively today, but when you’re on the rivet, you don’t want to make a move and have someone counterattack it.”

It was a stellar day for Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling), who moved into the lead of the solo men’s general classification in stage 4 of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. He leveraged a strategic move going into the fourth of five enduro segments to grab a stage win.

It was a stellar day for Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling), who moved into the lead of the solo men’s general classification in stage 4 of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. He leveraged a strategic move going into the fourth of five enduro segments to grab a stage win.

With one minute separating Werner and Lindine, Friday’s final stage 5 will decide the race. Lindine knows well from his own past experience that one minute isn’t a big gap and anything could happen to change the race’s outcome.

Stage 4 Brief Results

  1. Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling)
  2. Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek)
  3. Pau Zamora (Buff Pro Team)

General Classification After Stage 4

  1. Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling)
  2. Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek)
  3. Pau Zamora (Buff Pro Team)

Enduro Stage 4 Brief Results

  1. Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling)
  2. Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team)
  3. Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek)

Enduro Classification After Stage 4

  1. Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team)
  2. Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling)
  3. Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek)

Elite women

Kaysee Armstrong (Liv) added climbing power to her descending prowess to earn her first stage win of the race. “This morning I wasn’t feeling super motivated, but then when we headed up the road climb, all the ladies were together, so I thought I’d dig a little deeper,” she said. “When I did, I felt really strong. So I thought, ‘Let’s just try to get to the first enduro as fast as possible.’ But then the rain started coming down, and I was like — oh, today’s my day. I loved every bit of it.”

Kaysee Armstrong (Liv) took her first NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic stage win of the week, beating women’s GC leader and race favorite Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team). Armstrong’s performance was good enough to bump her up from third to second in the women’s GC.

Kaysee Armstrong (Liv) took her first NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic stage win of the week, beating women’s GC leader and race favorite Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team). Armstrong’s performance was good enough to bump her up from third to second in the women’s GC.

Armstrong is quite familiar with racing in the rain. “I race a lot in Pisgah where it rains a lot like that, so it worked out in my favor.” She now sits solidly in second place in the GC, as well as the enduro classification, and continues to take each stage one at a time.

Overall race leader Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women) did not pull away from the pack as she has on other days, but she still held on to her lead and her good attitude. “I had some mechanical issues today…those slowed me down,” she said. “But it’s good for me to have days like this, because it challenges me to push through. I had to work to get back up into second place. It was rough. I’m actually feeling a little bit grumpy. But Kaysee rode an amazing race and even before I was having problems, she was crushing the climbs.”

Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team) had a challenging day despite weather that was more like that of her native Scotland; however, the pink-clad race leader successfully managed to defend her overall lead with one stage to go in the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic.

Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team) had a challenging day despite weather that was more like that of her native Scotland; however, the pink-clad race leader successfully managed to defend her overall lead with one stage to go in the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic.

Stage racing allows one to wipe the slate clean and start fresh each day. “Tomorrow’s another day… I’m just hoping to hold onto the GC win,” Barclay said.

Bryna Blanchard (Windham Mountain Outfitters) also had a strong day that resulted in third place. “I surprised myself that I could maintain that pace for that amount of time. I did everything I could and am satisfied with my ride. I was proud to be able to ride with Selene Yeager (Emmaus Bad Decisions Club).” Yeager is a past winner of the race who is riding on a team this year.

Blanchard had no illusions about the coming final effort. “Tomorrow’s going to be harder than today, a lot harder. I think I have to just not go to that dark place and try to stay focused on every section.”

Stage 4 Brief Results

  1. Kaysee Armstrong (Liv)
  2. Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team)
  3. Bryna Blanchard (Windham Mountain Outfitters)

General Classification After Stage 4

  1. Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team)
  2. Kaysee Armstrong (Liv)
  3. Bryna Blanchard (Windham Mountain Outfitters)

Enduro Stage 4 Brief Results

  1. Meggie Bichard (Fuji)
  2. Kaysee Armstrong (Liv)
  3. Kimberly Quinlan (Bicycle Express Racing)

Enduro Classification After Stage 4

  1. Meggie Bichard (Fuji)
  2. Kaysee Armstrong (Liv)
  3. Kimberly Quinlan (Bicycle Express Racing)

The Trails

Stage 4 of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic took racers to R.B. Winter State Park for some of the most picturesque riding in Pennsylvania. Among the highlights were Black Gap Trail and White Deer Creek Trail. The course’s 35.2 miles, with 4,616 feet of climbing, were fast and furious and included five enduro segments. A cold, spring-fed lake awaited at the finish – where riders could cool down and clean off the day’s mud.

Check out our daily Facebook Live coverage!

Watch our live coverage on Facebook for each stage’s start and from somewhere out on course. We also stream each evening’s post-stage slideshow, video recap and awards ceremony.

Thanks to our sponsors

The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic presented is made possible with the generous support of great partners like Julbo, Central PA Tourism, Lupine, Purple Lizard, SRAM, Kona, NUUN, Freeze Thaw Cycles, EVOC and more!

Social media

For more information, visit OutdoorExperience.org or TSEpic.com; find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TransSylvaniaEpic; or follow us on Instagram or Twitter @TransSylvania, #TSEpic, #TSEnduro and #SingletrackSummerCamp.

Tran-Sylvania Stage 3

Phillips finally gets his NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic stage win

Bichard tops women’s podium while Lindine and Barclay retain their overall leads

TRANS-SYLVANIA, PA (June 1, 2016) – Today was Enduro Day at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic – a day when descending prowess is key for every racer. While the elite solo general classification contenders tried to keep the rubber side down and their hopes of overall glory alive, the gravity specialists let it fly and showed everyone the fastest way down the mountain.

Elite men

Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team) was ecstatic to finally capture his first stage win at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic on his third try. “I’m pumped, I finally got a stage win at Trans-Sylvania! That’s been a long time coming,” he said. “The last two years, I’ve been frustrated to miss out on the enduro stage win due to flat tires and other issues. Today, I didn’t do the typical enduro day hangout with people; I stayed focused and blasted my way through the course.”

Before the stage even started, Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team) had his sights set on winning the enduro stage of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic after being the fastest enduro racer on the first two days of this year’s race. Phillips had never previously won a Trans-Sylvania Epic stage… until today.

Before the stage even started, Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team) had his sights set on winning the enduro stage of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic after being the fastest enduro racer on the first two days of this year’s race. Phillips had never previously won a Trans-Sylvania Epic stage… until today.

When asked what he did differently this year, Phillips explained his gravity-focused bike prep. “The last few days, I had some chain issues because I didn’t have a chain guide, which was poor planning on my part, so I went and got a chain guide yesterday at Freeze-Thaw Cycles. I put on downhill tires and put 33 psi in the rear tire and 30 psi in the front, so I could go as fast as I wanted through the rocks without flatting.”

The fourth section of the day, the Wildcat Gap trail, is notoriously difficult – basically a steeply tilted rock garden – but Phillips made it look easy. “You’re good at things when it’s life or death. So basically you get going into a section, and if you shut your brain off just enough that you get up to a speed where it’s life or death, you’re going to be a way better rider than if you’re thinking about it and trying to use your skills. Suddenly you realize you’re going so fast you can’t stop, so you either have to make the trail or you’re going to crash. Eventually you go so fast that you don’t fall in the holes, you’re just skimming across the top, and it feels like you’re riding across braking bumps instead of a rock garden.”

Phillips has a decently comfortable lead in enduro points over second place racer Cory Rimmer (Kona / Nox Composites / Provision Sports Medicine). He plans to ride conservatively the next two days to defend that lead.

Men’s race leader Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek) rails it on the first timed enduro section during stage 3 of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. Lindine would go on to finish third on the day and retain his lead over Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling).

Men’s race leader Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek) rails it on the first timed enduro section during stage 3 of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. Lindine would go on to finish third on the day and retain his lead over Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling).

Overall leader Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek) put in a good performance to grab the third podium spot, keeping his GC lead. “I gained a whole nine seconds on Kerry [Werner, Rally Cycling]…not terrible. I had four good runs, and then crashed in the middle of the last one, which was too bad, because I think it would have been fast.” Werner borrowed a bigger-travel bike which mean he lost time to Lindine in the flatter two first sections, but made up time on the latter two steeper, rockier sections.

Tomorrow’s stage 4 at R.B. Winter State Park, with its new added sections and longer distance, will challenge Lindine’s local knowledge gained from past race editions.

Stage 3 Brief Results

  1. Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team)
  2. Cory Rimmer (Kona / Nox Composites / Provision Sports Medicine)
  3. Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek)

General Classification After Stage 3

  1. Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek)
  2. Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling)
  3. Adria Noguera Soldevila (Buff Pro Team)

Enduro Stage 3 Brief Results

  1. Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team)
  2. Cory Rimmer (Kona / Nox Composites / Provision Sports Medicine)
  3. Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek)

Enduro Classification After Stage 3

  1. Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team)
  2. Cory Rimmer (Kona / Nox Composites / Provision Sports Medicine)
  3. Christopher Hamlin (Bicycle Express Racing)

Elite women

With the day’s action focused on enduro, Meggie Bichard (Fuji Bikes) got a turn in the spotlight. The unassuming British enduro racer, who currently lives in New Zealand, has been quietly dominating the enduro category all week.

“I enjoyed today! The last three enduro segments were world-class,” said Bichard. “I haven’t ridden anything like that before. It was pure rock garden the whole way down the trail. Riding it blind made it pretty interesting, too. I’ve never raced anywhere like this in the U.S., and I’m impressed – I’d only previously been to Colorado.”

Meggie Bichard (Fuji Bikes) continued her domination of the solo women’s enduro classification in her first-ever NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. She spends half the year in New Zealand and half the year travelling around the world to different races.

Meggie Bichard (Fuji Bikes) continued her domination of the solo women’s enduro classification in her first-ever NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. She spends half the year in New Zealand and half the year travelling around the world to different races.

Up and coming young rider Kaysee Armstrong (Liv) continued to excel in the enduro and rode to second place in the stage. Unlike Bichard, who decided not to contest the cross country after experiencing stage 1, Armstrong is among the top women in both classifications.

“My chain came off on the third enduro segment, but everything else was perfect and smooth about today,” said Armstrong. “The fifth and final section was my favorite. I didn’t remember all those rocks! It just kept going and going.”

Kaysee Armstrong (Liv) has been one of the top cross country and enduro riders in the solo women’s category this week. She broke a chain during stage 3 of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic, but fortunately, it was between the timed enduro segments, so she still finished second in the stage.

Kaysee Armstrong (Liv) has been one of the top cross country and enduro riders in the solo women’s category this week. She broke a chain during stage 3 of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic, but fortunately, it was between the timed enduro segments, so she still finished second in the stage.

Kimberly Quinlan (Bicycle Express Racing) claimed the final spot in the day’s top three and made her first podium appearance of the week.

Race leader Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes) kept her overall GC lead with a fourth place on the day; however, Armstrong’s enduro prowess moved her into second place, bumping Bryna Blanchard (Windham Mountain Outfitters) into third.

 

Stage 3 Brief Results

  1. Meggie Bichard (Fuji Bikes)
  2. Kaysee Armstrong (Liv)
  3. Kimberly Quinlan (Bicycle Express Racing)

General Classification After Stage 3

  1. Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team)?
  2. Kaysee Armstrong (Liv)
  3. Bryna Blanchard (Windham Mountain Outfitters)

Enduro Stage 3 Brief Results

  1. Meggie Bichard (Fuji Bikes)
  2. Kaysee Armstrong (Liv)
  3. Kimberly Quinlan (Bicycle Express Racing)

Enduro Classification After Stage 3

  1. Meggie Bichard (Fuji Bikes)
  2. Kaysee Armstrong (Liv)
  3. Karen Talley Mead (Two Wheel Fixation)

The Trails

The third day of the Trans-Sylvania Epic was all about enduro racing. There were five separate Julbo/EVOC enduro segments with no timed racing in between them – racers simply pedalled on to the next segment and let it roll. The timed segments counted toward both the overall general classification and the enduro points sub-classification. The day’s total riding covered 29.5 miles and included 4,377 feet of climbing.

Check out our daily Facebook Live coverage!

Watch our live coverage on Facebook for each stage’s start and from somewhere out on course. We also stream each evening’s post-stage slideshow, video recap and awards ceremony.

Thanks to our sponsors

The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic presented is made possible with the generous support of great partners like Julbo, Central PA Tourism, Lupine, Purple Lizard, SRAM, Kona, NUUN, Freeze Thaw Cycles, EVOC and more!

Social media

For more information, visit OutdoorExperience.org or TSEpic.com; find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TransSylvaniaEpic; or follow us on Instagram or Twitter @TransSylvania, #TSEpic, #TSEnduro and #SingletrackSummerCamp.