True Grit Epic – Santa Clara, Utah

Fast Times Posted at NUE Series Opener in Southern Utah with Biggest Ever Field

Saturday’s True Grit Epic saw it’s biggest-ever field with over 600 racers taking on the treacherous, rock-strewn course tucked in the south west corner of Utah. The record-setting participants were rewarded with some of the best race conditions possible with calm winds, temperatures in the low 60s and overcast skies keeping the sun at bay.

All this allowed racers to post some of the fastest times around the notoriously techy True Grit course.

Gwendalyn Gibson (Norco) had some fun while destroying the marathon event. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli/MTB Race News

The NUE opener experienced a youth infusion with riders like Gwendalyn Gibson (Norco) and Hannah Finchamp (Clif Bar) who just recently left the junior ranks. 50 miles was not too much for these youngsters though as the powered away from the outset battling each other most of the day.

Gibson took the win with Finchamp just minutes back. It wasn’t all about the kids though as Jenni Smith (Kenda/Cannondale) who just turned 45 rallied all day and finished just behind in 3rd. Nicole Tittensor (Scott) and Liza Hartlaub (GU Energy Labs) finished off the podium in 4th and 5th.

Nicole Tittensor (Scott) leads Jen Hanks into the Waterfall. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli/MTB Race News

The men’s marathon was a showdown between Justin Lindine (Apex) and another youngster testing out the long distance scene, Zach Calton (Spry/ LPB Sotheby’s).

The two rode wheel-to-wheel through the most technical first half of the race before Lindine opened a gap and took the win after just missing it last year in a sprint finish.

Justin Lindine (Apex) showed his early-season form taking the men’s marathon title. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli/MTB Race News

Former winner Alex Grant (Maybird/Cannondale) took third followed by Nic Beechan (Trek) and Clayton Otto (Giant).

The kids came out in force for the 2018 True Grit. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli/MTB Race News

Dave Harris won the 50+ marathon event but had to leave part of his face on the course to do so proving that even living in St. George and riding these trails everyday doesn’t give you a free pass on the True Grit course.

Local speedster and 50+ marathon champ Dave Harris left some blood on course. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli/MTB Race News

100 Mile 

Taylor Lideen charges toward the finish. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli/MTB Race News

100-mile winner Taylor Lideen (Pivot/DNA Cycling) turned in one of the most impressive rides at the True Grit taking the win just three weeks after winning the solo race at 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. When asked if he considered doing the 50 mile event instead he said, “Never, I don’t have that kind of fire in my legs right now – my goal was just to set my pace and see how it went.”

Lideen was challenged throughout the opening lap and a half by Pete Karinen (Broken Spoke Racing) before a flat, on the second pass through Zen trail, sent him back in the pack and Brazilian Stefano Barberi (Team Barberi) took up the chase. He couldn’t catch Lideen as he finally finished second followed by David Krimstock (Pearl Izumi/Pivot). Pete Karinen rallied after his flat to finish fourth with Coulton Hartrich in fifth.

2017 NUE marathon champion Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/Pivot) traveled out from Ohio the NUE opener. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli/MTB Race News

Larissa Connors smashed the True Grit course winning by 30 minutes over Sparky Sears (First Hand MTB) and Carla Williams (Joe’s Bike Shop). Connors was so fast she would have placed just off the podium in the open men’s category in 7th.

Chase Hansen (CZ Racing) finished 4th followed by Lauren Cantwell.

Hannah Finchamp (Clif Bar) making an impressive debut at True Grit. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli/ MTB Race News

By far the most exciting part of the 2018 True Grit Epic despite the great weather, amazing views, brutally fun course, and fantastic volunteers and staff was the number of young racers on hand.

The number of participants under the age of 21 was truly impressive and a testament to the success of the NICA high school racing league in the southwest. Dozens and dozens of kids strapped on their helmets and conquered one of the toughest endurance events in the country with many even contending for race wins. It was an exciting development I hope we continue to see for years to come.

Riders have to decide between riding or taking in the incredible views at True Grit. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli/MTB Race News

 

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True Grit Marathon – Santa Clara, Utah

Keegan Swenson and Jenny Smith Win NUE Opener in Utah

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

 

In it’s second year as an official NUE event the True Grit 50 or marathon event showed significant growth and stacked fields to compete in the series opener.

Once again riders from all across the country made the trek to Santa Clara, Utah, to take in the desert singletrack oasis tucked in the southwestern corner of the state. Warm weather and ideal trail conditions greeted the 500 riders registered for this year’s True Grit Epic.

The fact that the NUE series finale would be moving out west in 2017 provided extra buzz as many of those in attendance would be making a run at the series title, a challenge that is typically out of reach for most racers out west who have a hard time traveling to the east coast for the series final. This year’s finale will be located in Big Bear, California.

Keegan Swenson leads Justin Lindine on course.

Open Men

The opens men’s race featured some of the fastest legs in the United States. Two-time U.S. national championship runner-up Keegan Swenson (Cannondale) was making his first appearance at this 50-miler. Swenson would be going up against longtime friend and teammate Alex Grant (Cannondale) who was making his return to mountain bike racing after being sidelined for almost all of 2016 after suffering a foot fracture in the world cup opener.

Last year’s NUE marathon champ Alex Pond was on hand looking to defend his title as was Justin Lindine (Apex/NBX) who always finds his way to the front of the pack.

Off the start it was Keegan Swenson and Justin Lindine providing the watts early on. Driving the pace and easily shedding the majority of the field in the early miles. The early pace was too much for Grant but California rider Menso De Jong (Clif Bar) and youngster Zach Calton (Competitive Cyclist) emerged from the pack staying close to the leaders. Calton surged ahead bridging the gap to the leaders.

After the race’s early climbs Swenson and Lindine led into the slickrock labyrinth of Zen trail. Both talented bike handlers, the lead duo flowed over the rocks like a flashflood pulling away from everyone including Calton who had worked hard to match the leaders pace.

Now the duo forged ahead, pushing the pace once again and opening big gaps behind them.

In the final miles, Lindine and Swenson traded attacks with neither rider getting an advantage. Late in the race the lead duo stayed together approaching the 1-mile paved finishing straight into downtown Santa Clara.

Lindine took the lead out with Swenson tucked behind waiting to make his final surge, which came just feet from the finishing chute as the Cannondale rider popped ahead just enough to take the win by one second.

Behind them Alex Grant had worked through his early cobwebs and traded the third spot with Calton. He made his final move on the Barrel Roll trail just miles from the finish securing a third place finish.

Calton rolled in for fourth followed by De Jong for fifth.

Riders flows over the rocks on Zen trail. Photo by: Crawling Spider

Open Women

The 2017 women’s field represented the most competitive bunch ever assembled at the NUE opener. Over twenty women registered for the race including mountain bike speedsters like Alexis Skarda (NoTubes/Kenda), Jenni Smith (NoTubes/Kenda), last year’s runner up Nicole Tittensor (Scott/Jan’s), collegiate cyclocross star Sofia Gomez-Villafane (Assos/Pivot), Arizona speedster Erin Osbourne (Flagstaff Bicycle Revolution) and ’16 podium finisher Jen Hanks (Pivot/DNA Cycling).

A mixed start with the open men’s group meant a fast start for the ladies. Alexis Skarda showed the most power off the start opening it up early. She was joined early on by Gomez-Villafane.

Jenny Smith managed to find her way up to the lead group before being gapped again just before a notoriously technical section called “the Waterfall.”

Skarda managed a small gap that widened at Sofia Gomez-Villafane missed a turn and ended up off course. This put Smith in second position chasing her teammate Skarda.

“Alexis was climbing so well today,” said the always-cheery Smith after the finish. “She would pull away from me on the climbs and I would have to claw my way back on the flats and downhill sections.”

Lucky for Smith she stayed close enough throughout the race to pull ahead in the closing miles and take advantage of the rolling downhill terrain leading to the finish line.

An impressive effort throughout allowed with race winner to cross the line with a smoking fast time of 3 hours 50 minutes; fast enough to beat more than half the open male riders.

Alexis Skarda came in about 5 minutes back after being in close contact with Smith for most of the day.

Sofia Gomez-Villafane soldiered on for third place after encountering some confusion on the notoriously tricky racecourse. “I didn’t have the luxury of pre-riding the course so I got off track about four times out there… Overall a hard day on the bike, but it was a good day.”

Nicole Tittensor secured the fourth spot after trading her position with Jen Hanks several times throughout the day. Ultimately her strong climbing gave her the advantage over the Pivot/DNA Cycling rider.

Start of the True Grit Marathon

Singlespeed

A moderately-sized crew signed up to race one-speeders in the southern Utah desert. Ten in all, decided riding 50 miles of rugged terrain would just be too easy with gears.

The favorites included 2 podium finishers in the 100-mile True Grit event in 2016. Shannon Boffeli (Pivot/DNA Cycling) and Corey Larrabee (Kuhl) finished fourth and second respectively in ’16 and spent much of the race wheel to wheel last year.

The 2017 race got off to a quick start with several of the singlespeeders spinning their way to the singletrack with the lead group of geared 40-49 racers. Once on the dirt Larrabee and Boffeli were joined by Brent Cannon (Team Elevate) as the three leaders made their way through Cove Wash and onto the early climbs in Green Valley.

When the uphill started Larrabee showed a clear advantage being marked for a short time by Boffeli but eventually opening up a solid advantage on the climb to Zen trail.

Now riding with the fastest of the geared riders Larrabee kept putting time into the chasers pushing a 32 x 20 over the 50-mile course.

In the end the Kuhl rider passed all but two of the geared riders he started with and posted a time that was over 10 minutes faster than last year’s winning 50-mile finisher.

A satisfied Shannon Boffeli took second suffering a bit in the heat. “Even on my best day I couldn’t have matched Corey on the climbs,” Boffeli shared at the finish. “I could get close on the flatter stuff early on but he just crushed me when it started to get steep.”

Brent Cannon solidified the third spot with a strong finishing time well ahead of the next closest rider.

Both Larrabee and Boffeli have eyes on the NUE marathon title so expect to see them at more NUE events throughout the season.

 

50+ Masters Men

The master’s event turned out to be a battle of local talent with local legend Dave Harris (LW Coaching) taking the win over fellow Utahns Zan Treasure (Bountiful Bicycle) and Dave Smith (Red Rock Bicycle).

Although once active on the race scene Harris has been absent from competition for years focusing his efforts on youth mountain bike coaching and desert moto riding. After Saturday it was clear the years away from racing haven’t slowed him much as he posted a time of 3 hours 51 minutes, which would have put him in the top-30 of the open male category.

Once again the True Grit epic did not disappoint. Riders taking on the True Grit challenge know they can expect a tough, technical course with incredible views, great weather, enthusiastic support crews, and a hefty dose of spring-time singletrack riding.

Cannondale rider Alex Grant’s thoughts after the race captured the overall feeling well. “It felt so good to be back out racing the mountain bike. It has been almost 11 months since my last MTB race. It felt so familiar yet so strange getting ready. Last year’s injury definitely gave me some perspective, when I was laid up and couldn’t step on my foot for 3 months I had plenty of time to think about how I would never take just being mobile and active for granted again. Every race I do is all just gravy because at the end of the day I unclip and walk away on two feet.”

 

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Stage 5 Trans-Sylvania Epic

Werner and Armstrong win NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic titles

Broken handlebar sidelines former women’s leader and defending champion Barclay

 

The final stage of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic brought thrills and spills on a tough, rocky course made more difficult with a downpour in the middle of the day. Battles for the overall general classification (GC) wins didn’t go quite as planned.

Elite men

Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling) soloed to win the final stage of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic on his way to claiming the overall victory. A much anticipated battle up the final climb between Werner and defending champion and eventual runner-up Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek) never materialized after Lindine flatted early in the day.

The peloton rolls out for the fifth and final time at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. The rain held off for the start, but a 45-minute deluge drenched racers and trails mid-stage, making the rocks even more challenging than usual.

The peloton rolls out for the fifth and final time at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. The rain held off for the start, but a 45-minute deluge drenched racers and trails mid-stage, making the rocks even more challenging than usual.

“It was unfortunate that Justin flatted. I’m not pumped to win that way, but at the same time that’s racing and I’ll take it,” said Werner. “This whole week has been great – it’s a super organized event with great volunteers. Growing up in another part of Pennsylvania, I always wanted to do this race, so it’s special to win. It’s my first time riding here, and I already want to come back and ride more of these trails.”

A motivated Lindine started the day within striking distance of Werner’s overall time and set a fast pace up the first climb, dropping everyone except his rival.

“I felt good today and was having fun on the trails,” said Lindine, “but I had some bad luck. I was keeping the pressure on Kerry and charged into the first enduro section, but flatted. When I went to install my spare tube, it had a hole… maybe from being under my seat for so long. I ran down the enduro segment trying to borrow a tube, but mostly everyone here in this race is on 29ers, and I’m on a 27.5”, so it took awhile to get one.”

State College, Pennsylvania local Aaron Albright (NoTubes Trans- Sylvania Epic) cruises on his home trails at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic.

State College, Pennsylvania local Aaron Albright (NoTubes Trans- Sylvania Epic) cruises on his home trails at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic.

Racers started the day on trails with wet, slippery rocks, then just as they were starting to dry mid-stage, a thunderstorm dumped heavy rain for 45 minutes. The already damp trails became even slicker.

At the front alone, Werner alternated between struggling and finding his groove. On the final enduro section, he laid it over three times. “They weren’t serious crashes, but I put my bar into the bench cut side of the hill, and then those wooden bridges at the bottom were so sketchy. I came into the first bridge as straight as I could, not braking, and I still started to two-wheel drift, so I walked the second bridge. I didn’t want to take risks at that point.”

Pau Zamora (Buff Pro Cycling) chased on his own in second place until Dan Timmerman (Riverside Racing) caught him. In the midst of the cyclocross off-season, Timmerman rode himself into fine form during the course of the week and was feeling great by the final stage. However, Zamora was hungry to defend his third spot on the podium, and rode away from Timmerman on the final climb for second on the day and third overall.

Lindine chased his way back up into fourth place on the day, managing to save his second spot in the GC.

“I think some of those trails ride better when they’re wet,” said Lindine. “I made it a game to catch as many people as I could. I’d roll into the technical sections but would stay loose, so I’d just ride into wherever I was supposed to go. You have to be in the right zone, and I was enjoying today.”

Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team) again proved himself to be the best enduro rider on the day and secured the overall enduro win. “I lost the enduro classification last year on the final stage, but this time I had two years of experience and came knowing what I needed to do. I also got lucky as this race will cause some issues for everyone – no matter what their experience.”

Cory Rimmer (Kona / Nox Composites / Provision Sports Medicine) pops over a log in the final stage of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic.

Cory Rimmer (Kona / Nox Composites / Provision Sports Medicine) pops over a log in the final stage of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic.

Phillips spent the day riding in short shorts and a cut-off T-shirt with an American flag after having successfully challenged his followers to raise a certain amount of money for the new Pennsylvania Interscholastic Cycling League. “I was part of a group raising money PA high school cycling, and I wasn’t doing very well,” said Phillips. “I’m a competitive person and was pissed that I was getting beat by the others, so I came up with some schemes to get people to donate more money. I raised at least $1,300. I’m not good at math on day 5 and haven’t added it all up yet, but it was cool to raise the money for the kids. I wouldn’t be where I am today without high school cycling.”

Stage 5 Brief Results

  1. Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling)
  2. Pau Zamora (Buff Pro Cycling)
  3. Dan Timmerman (Riverside Racing)

Final General Classification

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

 

Enduro Stage 5 Brief Results

  1. Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team)
  2. Aaron Albright (NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic)
  3. Damian Gonzalez (Michael David Winery)

Final Enduro Classification

  1. Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team)
  2. Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling)
  3. Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek)
Race leader Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team) was still smiling at this point in the final stage of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic; however, that would change later in the day. She broke her handlebar just after the second aid station and dropped out of the race.

Race leader Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team) was still smiling at this point in the final stage of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic; however, that would change later in the day. She broke her handlebar just after the second aid station and dropped out of the race.

Elite women

The battle for the top podium spot came down to the last day, but not in the expected way. Last year’s winner and this year’s favorite, Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team), suffered a devastating mechanical and had to drop out of the race.

Selene Yeager (Emmaus Bad Decisions), a past GC winner racing on a team this year, saw Barclay stranded in the rocks along the way. “Vicki jumped into a train of guys, and I thought, ‘There she goes.’ Then I went into a rocky section and she was just standing there. It was bad – her handlebar had snapped off in her hand. But at least she didn’t crash.”

That left Kaysee Armstrong (Liv), who was sitting in second place overall after yesterday’s stage 4, to take the win if she could. But this was not a foregone conclusion. “I felt tired,” said Armstrong. “Bryna [Blanchard, Windham Mountain Sports] was climbing so fast. I was feeling the fatigue through the rocks. But the enduros were fun, and I tried to be happy through them. Today was about surviving.” Armstrong managed to not only do that, but also to claim her second stage win of the week, the overall race title and second place in the enduro classification.

Blanchard, too, was feeling the cumulative effects of the week’s racing. “I did not feel good,” she said. “Yesterday was like a cross country race – it was so fast, and I didn’t recover. My heart rate was in the toilet, and I was tired. It was survival: keep moving, don’t stop pedaling. I wasn’t climbing nearly as well as I had been. I was happy I got through it.” Blanchard persevered to earn second on the day and in the general classification.

Yeager had an unexpectedly good day and was the first woman across the line. “I felt good on the climbs. I went into a little bit of a cave on all the chunky stuff, but I drew on all the stage races I’ve done, and kept thinking, ‘Just pedal your bike.’ It’s been a bittersweet week because I raced on a team, but I have such good fitness right now. I wish I had raced solo, but to know that you can perform well without all the pressure that you put on yourself is enlightening.”

Meggie Bichard (Fuji Bikes) crushed the women’s enduro all week long at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic, winning the enduro classification.

Meggie Bichard (Fuji Bikes) crushed the women’s enduro all week long at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic, winning the enduro classification.

Meggie Bichard (Fuji Bikes) ripped down some of the scariest enduro sections yet to take the win and secure victory in the enduro classification. She had begun the week as a GC contender, but quickly changed tactics. “I gave stage racing a go on the first day, and I rode a hardtail, but I got completely beat up on it,” she said. “So I swapped over to the enduro bike and focused on enduro. I can’t go for the GC on that bike because it weighs a ton.”

Bichard typically races enduro, but enjoyed the different take on it and may come back for a crack at the GC next year. “I loved the course with so much singletrack – really techy, super rocky. We don’t often do such big days in enduro racing, but I like the long cross country loop, and I love a big day out. Maybe I’ll come back on a smaller travel bike and do a bit more focused training.”

Stage 5 Brief Results

  1. Kaysee Armstrong (Liv)
  2. Bryna Blanchard (Windham Mountain Outfitters)
  3. Kaarin Tae (Bike Monkey Cycling)

Final General Classification

  1. Kaysee Armstrong (Liv)
  2. Bryna Blanchard (Windham Mountain Outfitters)
  3. Kaarin Tae (Bike Monkey Cycling)

Enduro Stage 5 Brief Results

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

Final Enduro Classification

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

The Trails

Always a favorite among singletrack lovers, the Cooper’s Gap stage was plenty long at 34.5 miles and chock full of singletrack and climbing (5,466 feet). New for 2016, the stage started remotely from Greenwood Furnace State Park and finished back at the Boy Scout Camp that serves as race headquarters. The stage had four separate Julbo/EVOC enduro segments of tight, technical Pennsylvania singletrack. The route finished with the climb up Stillhouse Hollow, a notoriously steep ascent also featured in the Wilderness 101.

Thanks to our sponsors

The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic 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!

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.

Tran-Sylvania Epic Stage 2 Report/Results

Lindine claims stage 2 battle with Werner at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic

Barclay continues winning ways

TRANS-SYLVANIA, PA (May 31, 2016) – Today’s stage featured some of the signature trails of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic, including classic Eastern rocky singletrack that inspired racers to give it their all. Despite the challenging terrain, the top riders fought until the end and kept things close.

Elite men

Justin Lindine (APEX / NBX / Trek) and Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling) continued their two-man battle with Lindine sprinting to the stage victory and continuing as overall leader.

“Today was a lot like yesterday with Kerry and me getting away early and racing each other in the hopes of snagging time bonuses by also doing well in the enduros,” said Lindine. “We’d stay together on the gravel and whoever felt better would surge to get ahead in the singletrack – each of us led different singletrack sections. Kerry even got a slight gap on me at one point up on Tussey Mountain, but I knew the trail so well that I was pretty sure I could bring him back.”

Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling) leads Justin Lindine (APEX / NBX / Trek) through a tight section of singletrack early in the second stage of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. The two top elite men’s riders would stay together for the duration of the stage - neither was able to shake the other.

First-time NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic racer Werner doesn’t have the advantage of familiarity with the trails, but he’s still loving them. “I’ve never ridden up here, but I grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania. We have rocks there, but not as gnarly,” said Werner. “The John Wert trail and Tussey Mountain ridge trail were amazing today!”

Going into the final off-road section in the last mile, Werner attacked on a steep section, but Lindine reacted quickly. The stage was set for a sprint.

“Justin and I are well matched fitness-wise,” said Werner. “Maybe toward the end of the week, we’ll start to see some chinks in each other’s armor.”

The surprise of the day came from Spanish rider Adria Noguera Soldevila (Buff Pro Team), who rode his way into third place for the stage and GC. “I’m on a hardtail – unlike the other top riders – so the technical parts have been hard, and I try to make up time on the gravel roads.” His teammate Pau Zamora said, “We’ve never ridden singletrack like this before. This is different – it’s hard to keep your momentum through the technical sections, especially on our hardtails.

Tomorrow’s stage 3 enduro format could shake up the standings as the top three riders will get time bonuses applied to the general classification.

Phil Beard (Bicycle Express Racing) leans into a turn. The singletrack is tight and leaves little room for error throughout the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic.

Phil Beard (Bicycle Express Racing) leans into a turn. The singletrack is tight and leaves little room for error throughout the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic.

Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team), who overcame mechanical issues to win the enduro category for the stage as well as defend his overall lead in the enduro classification, was clearly having fun. “The second segment was super pedally, and I time trialled it and was going so hard that I got cross-eyed. I came into that last rock pile so fast that I literally couldn’t crash because I had so much momentum. I hit something and caught air and got sideways but was up there for so long that I had time to turn myself back around. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s enduro stage – I want to finally get a Trans-Sylvania Epic stage win!”

Stage 2 Brief Results

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

General Classification After Stage 2

  1. Justin Lindine (APEX / NBX / Trek)
  2. Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling)
  3. Adria Noguera Soldevila

Enduro Stage 2 Brief Results

  1. Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team)
  2. Cory Rimmer (Kona / Nox Composite)
  3. Edward Kerly (Fuji Bikes)

Enduro Classification After Stage 2

  1. Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team)
  2. Cory Rimmer (Kona / Nox Composite)
  3. Justin Lindine (APEX / NBX / Trek)

Full Results from the Stage Here: Stage-2-Results-0358-PM-stage

Elite women

Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women) used her local expertise on the technical course to pull out a win, despite not feeling her best. “As soon as I started today, I could tell I was heavy in the legs,” she said. “Kaysee Armstrong [Liv] was with me for the first 6-7 miles, and then I got away on one of the big climbs and I rode by myself all day. Bryna [Blanchard, Windham Mountain Outfitters] was not too far behind today.”

For tomorrow’s enduro stage, Barclay said she’s not going to push it. “I’m not going to try to win the enduro stage… there’s some fast downhill girls here, Kaysee and Meggie [Bichard, Fuji Bikes],” she said. “I just want to get down and have a good time… just let my legs spin and recover as much as possible.”

Defending champion Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team) on her way to a second solo stage win in a row during day 2 of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. Barclay, a State College local, knows and loves most of the trails in this year’s race.

Defending champion Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team) on her way to a second solo stage win in a row during day 2 of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. Barclay, a State College local, knows and loves most of the trails in this year’s race.

Blanchard had a fantastic day, and it showed in her result, just 2:28 behind Barclay. “I had so much fun today. It was like magic… probably one of the best days I’ve had on the bike this year,” she said. She also plans to ride conservatively in the enduro stage. “Tomorrow I just want to ride clean, minimize the damage, and recover on the climbs. Hopefully I can build on how I felt today and keep it smooth. I have no illusions about trying to do anything on enduro day other than just enjoying it and not killing myself.”

Armstrong, who nabbed second in the 2014 NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic in the Under 25 category, is enjoying her solid third place spot. “We started off well,” she said. “Vicki and I were together for a little bit at the beginning, but then we hit the gravel road and she was gone. Bryna caught me not long afterward, so I just tried to maintain third and saved energy for Tussey Ridge, because two years ago when I did it I died, and today it was perfect.”

Armstrong is a good descender and earned a 60-second time bonus for finishing second overall in today’s enduro sections, so she could be a threat to gain GC time tomorrow with a good performance. However, the New Zealander Bichard continues to dominate the overall women’s enduro competition.

Stage 2 Brief Results

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

General Classification After Stage 2

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

Enduro Stage 2 Brief Results

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

Enduro Classification after Stage 2

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

Full Results from the Stage Here: Stage-2-Results-0358-PM-stage

The Trails

At 36.9 miles and with 3,921 feet of climbing, the “Queen Stage” came early to the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic this year – it was moved up from its traditional spot as the final day to the second day. Perhaps the most awesome stage of the week, stage 2 combined trails from the myriad of races that have made Rothrock State Forest legendary. The three Julbo/EVOC enduro segments were among the fastest of the week, but rocky singletrack lovers also got their share of awesomeness with the John Wert trail and the always scenic Tussey Ridge trail.

Check out our daily Facebook Live video coverage!

Watch our live video 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.

Soldier Hollow – I-Cup #4

The 2016 Intermountain Cup has officially returned to northern Utah with round 4 at Midway, Utah, Soldier Hollow Sports Park.

After hosting the first 3 races of this season in St. George, and Moab the I-Cup traveled north for Saturday’s event and it appeared northern Utah’s late winter wasn’t about to cooperate. Forecasts were gloomy at best and down right freezing depending where you looked right up to the start of this weekend’s race.

Seth Bradley airs it out during Saturday's race. Photo by: Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Seth Bradley airs it out during Saturday’s race. Photo by: Angie Harker/Selective Vision

The bummer forecasts didn’t keep everyone at home as a few hundred motivated racers made their way to Soldier Hollow and were rewarded with dry trails and moderate temperatures throughout the event.

The 2016 Soldier Hollow course included a bit more singletrack per lap but maintained every bit of climbing the venue is known for. Riders climbed over 1,000 quad-burning feet per 6-mile lap. The elite men’s field raced 4 full laps as the women tackled 3 circuits.

Well over 20 riders took the start in the men’s elite race but Justin Lindine (Hyperthreads) quickly stamped out any notions that he would be challenged for the race win. Lindine has won two of the three I-Cup races this season and rode away with this one. His biggest challenge of the day would be staying motivated with such a big lead in hand.

Justin Lindine kept the hammer down despite being on his own most of the day. Photo by: Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Justin Lindine kept the hammer down despite being on his own most of the day. Photo by: Angie Harker/Selective Vision

He stayed clear of the field taking his I-Cup win total to three of four for 2016.

The race for runner up was much closer with Drew Free (Kuhl) and Anders Johnson (Whole Athlete) taking shots at each other all race long. After shedding other contenders in lap one Free and Johnson threw attacks at each other with neither getting an advantage until Johnson made a final attack less than a mile from the finish. The 18-year-old was able to put just enough space between himself and Free to take second with Free rolling in third.

Drew Free battled Anders Johnson for the runner-up spot. Photo by: Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Drew Free battled Anders Johnson for the runner-up spot. Photo by: Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Bryson Perry (Canyons) and Jeff Bender (Kuhl) rounded out the podium in 4th and 5th respectively.

The women’s race was a much closer affair as most of Utah’s fastest women toed the line. Any of the top-6 women had a legitimate chance to win at any I-Cup event. Included in that group were round #1 winner Jen Hanks (Pivot/DNA Cycling) and the winner of race #2 Erica Tingey (Jamis).

Jen Hanks gets focused on the log crossing at Soldier Hollow. Photo by: Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Jen Hanks gets focused on the log crossing at Soldier Hollow. Photo by: Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Off the start though a three-way race started to take shape between Sarah Kaufmann (NoTubes Elite), Nicole Tittensor (Scott), and Rachel Anders (Competitive Cyclist).

Kaufmann lead after lap one but crossed the start/finish just seconds in front of Tittensor and Anders.

Now it was Tittensor’s chance to take control of the race as she climbed clear of the lead group on lap two. her acceleration was enough to drop Kaufmann back but Anders never lost sight of the race leader and as the climbing began again on lap three 18-year-old Anders bridged the gap and jumped into the lead.

Rachel Anders took the lead on the last lap at Saturday's race. Photo by: Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Rachel Anders took the lead on the last lap at Saturday’s race. Photo by: Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Once out front the youngster stayed focused as she drove to the finish line taking her first I-Cup win of this year.

Tittensor stayed close but couldn’t close the gap eventually rolling in second. Kaufmann kept a steady pace and held on to third place.

Hanks and Meghan Sheridan (Bingham’s Cyclery) finished off the podium.

Nicole Tittensor led most the day in Soldier Hollow. Photo by: Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Nicole Tittensor led most the day in Soldier Hollow. Photo by: Angie Harker/Selective Vision

Once everyone had finished and podium photos had been shot the skies finally opened up and fulfilled their ominous predictions by dumping sheets of freezing rain on Soldier Hollow.

Next up on the I-Cup schedule is the Stan Crane Memorial in Draper, Utah, May 30th. Check in with MTB Race News for full coverage from this and every Intermountain Cup race in 2016.

Click Here for full results from all categories

Red Rock Rampage – St. George, UT

Saturday’s edition of the Red Rock Rampage ushered in a new era for Utah’s Intermountain Cup now under new ownership. The iconic mountain bike series was purchased at the end of 2015 by Threshold Events. And while the racecourse didn’t look all that much different the general consensus after the race was that the new guys seem to know what they are doing. Post race food, quick results, and speedy podium presentations left racers happy and encouraged for things to come.

Alex Grant chases Justin Lindine on lap one of four in St. George. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

Alex Grant chases Justin Lindine on lap one of four in St. George. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

As always, the riders themselves put on quite a show. The race was headlined by Olympic hopeful Alex Grant (Cannondale/Fly360) who was putting the finishing touches on his spring training prior to the upcoming UCI races in California. Justin Lindine (Hyper Threads) played Grant’s antagonist ensuring it wouldn’t be a smooth ride out front for the Cannonade rider. The duo rode wheel to wheel for three laps before Grant pulled ahead out climbing Lindine in the opening climbs of the final lap.

Kevin Day follows Adam Brown over some rocks. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

Kevin Day follows Adam Brown over some rocks. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

Kevin Day (Endurance 360) had strong showing shown here following Summit devo rider Adam Brown. Shortly after Brown’s chain exploded with enough force that it hit Kevin in the face.

Jen Hanks showed off her early-season form riding away from the competition on lap one. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

Jen Hanks showed off her early-season form riding away from the competition on lap one. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

Jen Hanks (Pivot/DNA Cycling) continued her early-season tear tallying a win in St. George to go along with her third place at TransAndes and 5-person team championship at 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. Hanks was challenged early on by elite youngster Rachel Anders (Competitive Cyclist) who represented the US at the world championships last year.

Hanks’ fast climbing style was too much for Anders as the race winner pulled clear on the rocky climbs of the first and second laps.

Justin Lindine popping and locking over some big rocks. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

Justin Lindine popping and locking over some big rocks. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

Not many people were choosing this line on the second climb but when your name is Justin Lindine it’s not a problem.

DNA Cycling rouleur rider on his final lap. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

DNA Cycling rouleur rider on his final lap. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

Riders of all ages and skill levels tested themselves at the Red Rock Rampage.

Rachel Anders put down a solid effort in second and highlighted a good showing for the Competitive Cyclist dev program. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

Rachel Anders put down a solid effort in second and highlighted a good showing for the Competitive Cyclist devo program. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

The Competitive Cyclist devo program had a strong showing placing several of it’s junior and U-23 riders on the podium and challenging at the front of the pro/elite events.

Chris Holley rode a solid but lonely race occupying third place all day. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

Chris Holley rode a solid but lonely race occupying third place all day. Photo by: Shannon Boffeli

Taking third on the day Chris Holley (Kuhl) is one of the toughest riders on the circuit and almost untouchable in the rocks and washes of southern Utah.

Click Here to learn more about the Intermountain Cup. You can see coverage of the next race on the I-Cup series right here on Mountain Bike Race News. Racers will be back in St. George for the Cactus Hugger, April 2nd.

Wasatch Back Endurance XC

Joey Lythgoe and Justin Lindine Dominate Wasatch Back

Written by: Shannon Boffeli

The Saturday morning sunrise brought with it the start of the third annual Wasatch Back 50 in Heber, Utah.

The second race on the Intermountain Cup’s endurance schedule, the Wasatch Back is a classic backcountry ultra-endurance test featuring big climbs and extended downhill runs that allow skilled bike-handlers a chance to overtake their slimmer climb-happy compatriotss.

This year’s Wasatch Back course featured two long laps of roughly 22 miles with each lap including Utah’s offroad version of Alpe d’Huez, a 1,600 vertical foot monster of a climb with closer to 40 switchbacks compared to the Alpe’s 21. Even for the fastest pros the climb takes over 40 minutes with not one section of flat to rest the legs on the entire 7-mile grind. And while the climbing is hard the descent from the top almost makes it worthwhile. Miles of fast, turny, singletrack darting in and out of forested hillsides rewards riders once they hit the summit. It’s a tough challenge but participants rave about the course year after year.

Joey Lythgoe drops the final long descent with Jordanelle Reservoir in the background. Photo by: Selective Vision Photography

Joey Lythgoe drops the final long descent with Jordanelle Reservoir in the background. Photo by: Selective Vision Photography

Competitive Cyclist honcho Justin Lindine took it to the pro men’s field right from the start. Lindine made his way to the front before the foot of the opening climb jumping in front of chasers Chris Holley (Kuhl) and Justin Desilets (Revolution/Peak Fasteners).

Lindine climbed fast enough to hold his advantage over the two chasers but really did the most damage once the trail took a downhill slant.

“I could see Justin on the climb the whole first lap,” Chris Holley said, after the race. “He never got that far in front of us until we hit the top. Then he just put it in a different gear and was gone.”

Indeed the long, techy descents worked right into Lindine’s skill set putting him solo out front and never at risk for the rest of the race.

Holley, meanwhile, was able to hold off Desilets for second.

Zach Crane on his way to a win in the 19-34 expert category. Photo by: Selective Vision Photography

Zach Crane on his way to a win in the 19-34 expert category. Photo by: Selective Vision Photography

Sam Sweetser (Cole Sport) and Quin Bingham (Rooster’s/Bikers Edge) finished off the podium in fourth and fifth respectively.

Unfortunately for the pro women’s field the course also fit perfectly with Joey Lythgoe’s (Kuhl) skill set. Climbs are her thing. The bigger the better and Wasatch Back has one of the biggest.

Lythgoe took full advantage crushing her rivals right from the start. After the race many of the expert men’s field could be heard judging their performance by how long they stayed with the pro women’s champion.

In the end Lythgoe would win by almost 10 minutes in front of Meghan Sheridan (UtahMountainBiking.com).

Sheridan overcame some of her downhill demons to take a well-deserved runner-up spot holding off a fast-finishing KC Holley (Kuhl) who was locked in battle with Carrie Porter.

Porter was riding in third position as the riders sprinted along the final doubletrack section of trail less than a quarter mile from the finish. She dropped into the final singletrack section with Holley on her rear wheel but overcooked a corner allowing Holley to squeak by and steal third place.

Jen Hanks (Pivot/Epic Brewing) took the final podium spot in fifth.

Click Here for full results from all categories

NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic – Stage 7

Lindine and Barclay win NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic

Timmerman and Chinburg celebrate victories in final day’s stage 7

 

The last day of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic brought a few more miles and lots of smiles. For the elite men, the final day was shorter, but no less intense, with 26 miles of twisty singletrack for racers to whip through in an effort to grab one of the tightly-contested top spots. Two fun enduro sections offered up the last points for the gravity specialists to grab. Most everyone else decided to celebrate a good week with a nice, relaxed ride in the woods with friends.

Justin Lindine (Competitive Cyclist) and Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team) celebrated overall victories in the elite men’s and women’s general classification. Final stage wins went to Dan Timmerman (Riverside Racing) and Megan Chinburg.

Dan Timmerman (Riverside Racing) makes a solo push during stage 7 at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. Photos by: Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team

Dan Timmerman (Riverside Racing) makes a solo push during stage 7 at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. Photos by: Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team

Elite men

Dan Timmerman (Riverside Racing) took advantage of his fifth place in the general classification (GC) to escape for a stage win.

“I was of no consequence in the GC, so I figured the guys would give me a bit of room,” said Timmerman. “And I attacked at a good place. No backpack today. I think that was it. My back was feeling good today!”

Timmerman enjoyed the race and his result. “Great experience overall—there were a few days when I got myself up there, and I’m happy with that,” he said.

Justin Lindine (Competitive Cyclist) fended off an attack by his teammate Payson McElveen to grab the overall NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic win, his second ever. His team worked well together and dominated the podium as a result.

“We rode a great team race all week long. Today, we were one-two coming out of the time trial, Payson and me, and Tristan was in third or fourth, and we got him into third,” said Lindine. “We did smart team tactics all week. Payson unfortunately flatted yesterday, and so I had the leader’s jersey today. We had enough of a gap to have a friendly battle today. It came out perfect, we got 1-2-3 in the general classification. It’s so nice to have the cards to play. Peter [Glassford] had an unfortunate situation trying to battle all three of us. You fight those odds and it’s impossible to win.”

Lindine pointed out that to race hard on this seventh day is asking a lot of already battered bodies. “Today was hard. This day is always like a normal cross country race at the end of some endurance days, so your legs don’t want to do what you want them to do. Between Peter and Payson charging, it was managing the leaks in the ship. It’s pretty awesome to win, it’s a tough week of racing.”

Payson McElveen (Competitive Cyclist), having been in prime position to win for most of the week and then losing time yesterday due to a mechanical, was not willing to give up without a fight.

“I threw everything I could at Justin, but I knew seven minutes was a pretty tall task in 28 miles,” said McElveen. “My plan was to sneak into the singletrack first and hope he’d be a couple riders back, but I went a little too early and he just jumped on my wheel. I went hard for the first 15 minutes and settled in, then hit it hard at halfway. Timmerman threw down a massive attack. I chased him, both Justin and I chased him, but my legs were so sore when I woke up this morning from running yesterday. I was chasing as hard as I could, he had more gas than me though, so I was happy with second.”

About coming so close and then settling for second, McElveen said, “It’s pretty bittersweet. It’ll take some time to fully appreciate, but it’s an improvement from last year. It was everything, having a team. Poor Peter. He didn’t complain a single time, just pulled. Based on how much he could have complained, I was so impressed with his professionalism. Big props to him.”

Peter Glassford (Trek Canada) was the lone man in the lead group, but he nevertheless made a valiant effort to get away, being only a few seconds from third in GC. “It was hard. I didn’t think I’d have a lot today,” said Glassford. “I felt OK, but it’s amazing how fast I went considering how crappy I felt. There were some accelerations but mostly I led. Then on the gravel road, I put in a last-ditch effort on the long climb up through the feed zone, but it got steep fast and I sort of caved in. It came back together, and after that, Tristan and I were really tired. My body said, let’s just enjoy this.”

After the dust settled, Tristan Uhl (Competitive Cyclist) had hung on to his third place. “Today was hard! Started fast. Peter and Payson were pushing the pace from the get-go, but my strategy was to just hang with Peter and hope he couldn’t drop me,” said Uhl. “We both put in some surges, he was tearing my legs off on the long climb but I was able to stay with him, and we came to an unofficial truce at the end. We were ready for it to be over, I think.”

Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team) makes her way through the heckle pit on her way to winning the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. Photos by: Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team

Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team) makes her way through the heckle pit on her way to winning the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. Photos by: Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team

Elite women

Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Women’s Elite Team) has been a favorite to win this race in all four years she’s entered, and at last, today she stood on the top of the podium. Since the women’s standings were fairly spread out, they decided to do a “parade lap” and have some fun.

“Today was definitely a parade! There was a bit of confusion for a bit, since two of the Under 25 riders were going to race, so women in the elite category got nervous that if they went fast enough, it would change the overall GC standings,” said Barclay. “But it turned out that the two had a mishap and were behind anyway. We all got back together at the checkpoint, and it was a proper party pace from there.”

Barclay is happy to bask in glory. “First GC win here! It feels amazing,” she said. “I was a little concerned in the last day that something would happen to my bike and everyone would just ditch me. It’s a party, but inside, everyone is still worried about their times. It was a fun ride with a great group of women. The dynamics this year were good.”

Mical Dyck (Stan’s NoTubes Women’s Elite Team) had the skills to earn second place in both the elite women’s and enduro categories. “It was a fun week, but abusive on the body and bum! It was super nice today doing a parade lap and not having to go for it,” said Dyck.

This was Dyck’s first trip to the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic, and she learned some geology. “I knew it would be rocky, that’s what I had heard about the trails out here,” she said. “In Victoria, BC, we have a ton of rocks, but different rocks. We have big rock slabs. But this is constant false flats so you have to pedal through smaller rocks all day. I would definitely challenge it again, I like to suffer.”

Cyclo-crosser Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing) came in third in GC while having a good time at her second stage race. “It was super challenging in a lot of different ways,” said Anthony. “It was such a great event, I’m so glad I was here. I’ve only done one other one, with a lot more people, around 1,200 people, so this is much more close-knit and fun.”

Anthony showed her prowess on the technical sections of the course and earned the top spot for the women in the East Coast Rocks competition.

: Libby White (Colt Training Systems) cuts a line through the brush during stage 7 of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. Photos by: Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team

: Libby White (Colt Training Systems) cuts a line through the brush during stage 7 of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic. Photos by: Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team

Under 25 men and women

Libby White (Colt Training Systems) was able to hang on through the week to take the overall win for the Under 25 women.

“It’s been exhausting! After day 1, I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep it. I was surprised to get the lead on day 1, but I kind of killed myself,” said White. “Then enduro day came and all these long days, but today we had ourselves a parade stage and finished things out.”

White pointed out that in such a long race, relaxing and socializing can help you focus. “The motivation came from talking to people and making sure I was having fun,” said White. “When you ride this many hours, you have to make sure you’re having fun and are mentally in the game. I usually just picked a pop song for the day. Today was ‘Bad Blood’ by Taylor Swift, so I just keep singing that.”

For the Under 25 men, Drew Dillman (Colt Training Systems) remained just behind Payson McElveen for second place. He also showed his technical skills by winning the King of the East Coast Rocks competition. His teammate Cameron Dodge rounded out the top three.

Enduro overall winner Bryan Fawley (Kodiak Tough) makes his way through the woods at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic  Photos by: Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team

Enduro overall winner Bryan Fawley (Kodiak Tough) makes his way through the woods at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic Photos by: Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team

Enduro

Sue Haywood (Stan’s NoTubes Women’s Elite Team) has built upon her considerable technical cross country riding skills to transform herself into an enduro specialist, and her NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic Enduro win is her first win this season. It’s not necessarily easier than cross country, though.

“Lifestyle enduro is not all fun and games! It’s mostly fun, but you still have to charge every downhill, even the ones you don’t know, so you’re reading them fresh,” said Haywood. “The thing about enduro is you still have to keep yourself together throughout the week. You’re either going to have a mechanical or a crash. It hurt, but I could still go on. No mechanicals, no flat tires, which was great.”

Haywood remains a threat for either category and could take her pick. “I knew enduro would be a possibility,” she said. “This is my first race of the year. I thought I’d have more in the tank for the cross country stuff, but I had nothing. So being able to focus on enduro was awesome. Cody [Phillips] has said this, but you cannot pursue two goals here. You won’t be able to to do top-notch in the GC and the enduro. Mical [Dyck] got second in both, but if she’d focused on enduro, we would have been super tight, and mentally I would have really had to step it up. It’s so taxing, everything, and it’s so hard mentally and with your adrenal glands going crazy, to do both.”

Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team) was a favorite to grab the elite men’s enduro win, but he just missed out when talented cross country racer Bryan Fawley (Kodiak Tough) decided to focus on this category instead of open men. “I just lost it today by 60 points,” he said. “[Fawley] got me on both of the segments today and we were only separated by 20 points, so that put him in the win by 60 points.”

Phillips was philosophical about his close loss. “I give it all I have and there’s nothing else I can do,” he said. “It’s different from cross country where you can see where people are. So I go out and try to focus and relax. It’s what I’ve been doing for the past few years, so I know how to do it. But he beat me straight up today. I can’t complain! He made it really hard, especially compared to last year. No one was that focused on it last year.”

Some of the credit for the fun enduro sections goes to Phillips, who gave feedback on the course after racing last year. “Getting more people here for enduro was the goal,” he said. “I gave the promoters a lot of input on the course to improve the enduro segments so we have more guys coming from out West to participate. We need to have more downhill to get the big names out here. I think the prize money is enough to bring people out though.”

Special Announcement: Pennsylvania gets new NICA High School League

High school mountain bike racing is coming to Pennsylvania in 2016. At the awards ceremony of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic on Saturday afternoon, organizers announced that the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) has awarded Pennsylvania a new league.

“We started on this effort a year and a half ago, and I’m excited to announce that NICA has accepted our bid,” said Mike Kuhn who submitted the bid for the league in conjunction with Pat Engleman, Mike Bush, Matt Spohn, Lou Mazzante, Todd Strauss, Jason Thomas, Clay Chiles and Bruce Bedell.

Pennsylvania High School Mountain Bike Racing will be conducted each fall, with the first season kicking off in the fall of 2016.

More information on the new league will be forthcoming at Interbike in September. Find the new Pennsylvania League in the meantime on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PASMTB?fref=ts

The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic is made possible with the generous support of great partners like Pactimo, Lupine, Purple Lizard, Klean Kanteen, Dirt Rag, SRAM, Kona, BMC, ProGold, NUUN, Freeze Thaw Cycles and more!

Click Here for full results from Stage 7

Click Here for full GC results following Stage 7