Trans-Sylvania Epic Mountain Bike Stage Race - State College Pennsylvania
Day two of the Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race
proved to be an exciting and groundbreaking event. Exciting because Cannondale
rider Jeremiah Bishop was beaten by Kris Sneddon (Kona) and groundbreaking
because the lead of the womenís race was occupied by not one but five elite
women, each with a shot at taking the top spot.
In the womenís event, race leader Karen Potter (iRide
Adventures/MTBRaceNews.com/zaboo29) was joined by Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt),
Sue Haywood (Shenandoah Bikes), Selene Yeager (Team CF), and Vicki Barclay. The
elite group, the strongest to ever compete in a U.S stage race, traded the lead
back and forth with Potter, Carey, and Yeager each going off the front
throughout the 43-mile stage.
No rider seemed to have the upper hand as the group stayed
together in the early rough and technical sections of singletrack. The Cooperís
Gap stage is one of the most technically demanding in the weeklong race and it
took a toll on the lead group.
As the riders approached the final sections of the race the
lead pack had been reduced to Potter, Yeager, and Carey. Now on the final
10-mile stretch of gravel road leading to the finish Amanda Carey was able to
use her pure power to open up a gap on her competitors.
After 43 miles Carey take the win just one minute in front
of Selene Yeager who was followed 20 seconds later by Karen Potter.
Carey had done just enough to take the leaders jersey from
Vicki Barclay finished in fourth with Sue Haywood taking
Expect a lot more excitement from the womenís field the rest
of this week as the top-3 women are separated by less than one minute in the
The menís race proved to be no less exciting. The technical
riding and competitive field led to lots of riders taking risks. Those risks
paid off for some more than others.
A fast pace was set from early on. Riders were doing their
best to get established at the front of the field but the bad luck started
early as well. First, Alex Grant (Cannondale), last yearís runner-up,
encountered a conglomeration of mechanical trouble that led to him having a
broken chain, broken rear derailleur, broken spoke, and a flat tire.
He wasnít the only rider set upon my misfortune as Barry
Wicks (Kona) suffered two flats, Justin Lindine (BikeReg.com) flatted, and
Jeremiah Bishop had an untimely broken chain that ultimately allowed Kona rider
Kris Sneddon to get a gap and take the stage win.
Despite the broken chain that cost Bishop his wheel Sneddon
was clearly having a stellar day up front. Sneddon had kept a high pace all day
and unlike some of the others in the early group, he did not fade toward the
The Kona rider is an experienced stage race rider and has
titles from the BC Bike Race and TransRockies proving his prowess as a favorite
for TSE glory.
While Bishop finished just over a minute behind the Canadian
Sneddon he maintained the leaders jersey on the strength of his dominating
performance in the prologue.
The lead duo put some serious time into their closest
competitors and the race is shaping up to be a showdown between the two best
stage racers in Canada and the United States. While Bishop has never lost a
stage race in the U.S., Sneddon has won about every stage race there is in
Canada. And to make it even more interesting each rider is supported by
superstar teammate of their own: Barry Wicks for Sneddon and Alex Grant for
This should make the remaining 5 stages extremely
- Jeremiah Bishop rode his Cannondale 29er full-suspension
prototype for todayís stage. This was Bishopís first race on the bike
- Ross Schnell, who has been riding a borrowed bike in the
first two stages, tweeted that his bike and bags had finally arrived after
getting lost on his flight to Pennsylvania
Stage III Ė Bald Eagle Coburn
3 is a 47-mile loop from the scout camp. Riders start on a mix of dirt
roads, scenic paved roads, and a little singletrack. The then make their way through Coburn, home of the famous
Wilderness 101, and transition to old rail grade and some singletrack along
beautiful Pennís Creek. Riders will pass through an old rail tunnel and
climb to a beautiful vista called Pennís View (2nd checkpoint location). From
there, itís more rolling dirt roads and trail as they return to camp. This
stage will cover a lot of ground and lot of history. Rolling through
historic train tunnels and Amish countryside along with some amazing views. 47
miles. 5100′ climbing.