Jeremiah Bishop and Karen Potter Claim Leader Jerseys at TSE
In it’s second year the Trans-Sylvania Epic (TSE) has
transformed itself into a premier, national-level event boasting the most
competitive pro field of any U.S. mountain bike stage race. This year’s field
consists of some of the fastest riders in the States including world cup racers
and top National Ultra-Endurance series contenders.
The Trans-Sylvania Epic kicked off it’s second season with a
roughly 10-mile prologue today. The course included some short sections of the
classic rock and roots the TSE is known for sprinkled in a mixture of dirt road
and fast singletrack. Although the course was mostly dry, large mud bogs
littered the course, offspring of the abundant rain and flooding that has plagued
the east coast this season.
The men started things off with Cannondale rider Alex Grant
getting first crack at the course. Grant, who finished second last season,
turned in a strong ride with few mistakes.
Ultimately, it was Grant’s Cannondale teammate Jeremiah
Bishop who would take the top spot in the prologue. Bishop has been focusing
his early season in Olympic distance cross country races and having great
success. He won the Pro XCT season opener in California and has recently been
racing the world cup scene.
His fitness over short distances was evident today as the Cannondale
rider elevated his ride to a different level taking over 3 minutes out of his
Justin Lindine (BikeReg.com) turned in a surprise
performance today taking second. Lindine does much of his racing on the road.
His familiarity with stage racing showed today and should make him a contender
the rest of the week.
Lindine was followed by the Kona duo of Kris Sneddon and
Barry Wicks. The Kona teammates are veterans of multiple stage races and are
virtually unbeatable as a team. They both seem fit and their teamwork will add
extra dimension to this week’s race.
Drew Edsall took fifth showing that he intends to be a
contender for the TSE title again this season.
The women’s event is without a doubt the largest collection
of elite-level women to ever compete at a single MTB stage race. This year’s
field includes the reigning NUE series champion, reigning Leadville 100
champion, and an ex-world cup racer.
With all the high-profile riders in the start house it was
Massachusetts rider Karen Potter (iRide Adventures/MTBRaceNews.com/zaboo29) who
would steal away the leaders jersey.
"I guess I had some aggression I needed to get out,” Potter
said after the finish.
first out of the gate Potter turned in an impressive ride holding off 2010 TSE
champion Selene Yeager (Team CF).
When asked about the stiff competition this year Potter
said, "I wasn’t expecting to win today, I came into this race just hoping to be
in the top-5.” And after shredding the singletrack sections Potter now sits
atop the TSE leaderboard.
After finishing third at the recent Cohutta 100, Potter has
proven she excels when the miles get long so look for her to be in contention
Yeager showed her good form coming in second and is focused
on defending her title this year.
Yeager was followed by NUE series champion Amanda Carey
(Kenda/Felt) who also said she had a good race today and felt comfortable
putting in hard efforts on the prologue course.
Sue Haywood, who has been keeping her hand in the endurance
racing game since officially retiring, looked strong in fourth place followed
by Leadville champ Rebecca Rusch (Red Bull/Specialized).
Tomorrow’s race is the Rothrock-Cooper’s Gap stage. Riders start the day with a
moderate climb out of the camp, followed by a fast, fun decent, some gravel
road, and loads of great singletrack, including Cooper’s Gap, which has become
the "must ride” area in Rothrock, with long flowing downhills and just enough
rocks to keep you on your toes. You’ll return to the camp on a stretch of
gravel road, through a concrete tunnel, and up one more short climb. 42.5
- Today’s race produced few casualties. Women’s contender Vicki
Barclay was one of the few exceptions as a crash left her with some bruised
ribs. She intends to continue racing and should be on the line tomorrow
- Early on it was reported that Ross Schnell crossed the line with one of the fastest times. Unfortunately for Schnell, he had unknowingly missed a portion of the course and his result was later corrected.