Trans-Sylvania Epic Mountain Bike Stage Race - State College, Pennsylvania
hot, humid day greeted riders at the Trans-Sylvania Epic during stage 3. Both
the men’s and women’s class got off to an exciting start but the biggest change
happened in the singlespeed category where Team Dicky’s Rich Dillen had a
heroic day, upsetting leader Rich Straub (Freeze Thaw/NoTubes/BikeFlights) by
five minutes to take both the day’s contest and the overall leaders jersey by a
mere 35 seconds. According to Dillen, he blew through the first aid station and
ended up riding 35 miles to the final feed in near 100-degree heat with only
two water bottles. Then with just under one mile to go he flatted his rear tire
and rode in on the puncture.
The 47 mile stage was a mix of pavement, gravel and short but difficult singletrack
sections. As the open men rolled out the overnight buzz was that Team CF’s
Chris Beck would attack early and when he did the main bunch let him dangle for
a while before bringing him back. Once the capture happened Team Jamis leader
Jason Sager countered with an attack of his own. After this first surge, GC
leader Jeremiah Bishop and his Cannondale teammate Alex Grant, Kona’s Kris
Sneddon, Justin Lindine (BikeReg.com/Joe’s Garage/Scott), Drew Edsall (Super
Cool Bike Shop/Fastpaceracing) and Beck regrouped and formed the selection. The
only contender missing was Kona’s Barry Wick’s who was left dealing with two
flat tires and a badly out of true rear wheel during the early part of the day.
the major climb Grant tested his legs and Sager followed, slowly settling into
a groove that put a gap on both Grant and the rest of the field. According to
Sager, his plan was to slowly snap off riders with small accelerations and it
worked to perfection.
wanted to do little chips, little chips to isolate guys,” said Sager. "I tried
to do it earlier in the day too, chip away and splinter riders.”
Sager neared the crest of the climb he saw Bishop chasing on his own so he
slowed and waited for him to catch on.
was a bold move by Jason to slow up for Bishop,” said Sager’s teammate Adam
Snyder. "Anything could have happened, he could have countered with an attack
of his own.”
the pair worked through the last section of singletrack and the short gravel
road to the finish, which saw Sager take the win and Bishop hold onto the
overall lead going into stage 4. Grant came in third five minutes back.
and I worked well all the way in with a good even pace,” said Sager of the
women’s field started in no less dramatic fashion as Specialized’s Rebecca
Rusch, Sue Haywood (Shenandoah Bikes/Kenda/Turner/I-9) and Sonya Looney
(Topeak/Ergon) all went off course near the start and lost approximately 10
minutes and second place GC rider Karen Potter (MTBRacenews) abandoned the race
early in the stage.
the top three women went through the first feed GC leader Amanda Carey slowly
began to pull away over last years overall winner Selene Yeager (Team CF,)
eventually gaining about seven minutes by the finish. Going into the last
singletrack section Yeager took a wrong turn, ending up in driveway before
getting back on track and riding up on a crashed Vicki Barclay who snuck by
while Yeager was off-course. Barclay, who injured her ribs in a crash
during the prologue and continues to crash each day on the same side remounted
and held on to take third. In the final home stretch Haywood, citing general
race fatigue, crashed hard, finished and got a quick check by the medic before
riding away from the start/finish area.
three stages, Bishop holds a near eight-minute lead over Snedden and nearly
twelve minutes on third place Lindine. For the women, Carey sits eight minutes
ahead of Yeager and 14:12 over Barclay.