Photos and text courtesy of the Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team
With 31 miles of racing in R. B. Winter State Park, about 45 minutes from camp and deep into Pennsylvania Amish Country, NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage racers not only got to experience some new, perfectly tacky singletrack on Thursday, but they also got a taste of Pennsylvania culture, passing horse-drawn buggies en route to stage 5, and with a stop at Elk Creek Cafe for some locally brewed beers post-stage.
Cole Oberman (Rare Disease Cycling) and Vicki Barclay (NoTubes Elite Women’s Team) won stage 5 on a damp and drizzly day while Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) and Cheryl Sornson (Rare Disease Cycling) successfully defended their respective leads in the elite men’s and women’s categories.
Payson McElveen, above, isn’t the only fast Under 25 racer in the peloton. Another Under 25 racer Cole Oberman (Rare Disease Cycling) was today’s stage winner by a full minute, over current general classification leader Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) in second and McElveen in third. The 23-year-old Oberman is a local legend, and while he’s done well in the overall in many of the stages this week, this was his first stage win – a feat he accomplished without water for the second half of the race.
“We went through the only checkpoint today, and I missed my bottle, so there was a little anger there,” Oberman said, laughing. “Then after the East Coast Rocks section, I caught back on, everyone was sitting up, so I decided to launch it.”
“That was not normal,” Bishop joked. “Cole had really good timing. Perfect. He was quiet as a mouse; he came by us like a falcon.”
Once Oberman got away, it was just a matter of staying at the front for the rest of the race, which he did – motivated more by a desire to get to water at the finish line than anything else!
“It was awesome — definitely perfect East Coast riding,” said Oberman.
Bishop, on the other hand, didn’t feel so hot early in the stage. “I felt like a bag of rocks this morning,” Bishop said. “They hit the first climb like bats out of hell. It was a 10-minute race. but lucky for me, I’m a tough bastard, and so I covered some of the moss from the Kona guys. They just went and went and went, but it got easier for me as it went on. We had a big front group!”
Nick Waite (ProTested Gear) was third among the elite men, Kris Sneddon (Kona) was fourth and Spencer Paxson (Kona) rolled in for fifth.
Bishop still leads in the overall standings, and Paxson now leads Waite by a single second, with Sneddon behind them by less than a minute.
Vicki Barclay, above, (NoTubes Women’s Elite) took her third stage win of the week today in R.B. Winter State Park, using her home field advantage to the best of her abilities on the slick terrain though she still crossed the line and fell over in exhaustion.
“I just killed myself,” she said, out of breath after the finish. “I didn’t see Cheryl all day.” Barclay, a State College area local resident, had pre-ridden the course once before today, and she put her knowledge of the course to good use, especially in the singletrack sections.
“They’ve done a lot of work out here,” said Barclay, complimenting the locals who have been taking care of the park’s trails.
Selene Yeager (Rare Disease Cycling) rolled in for second a mere minute later, laughing as she admitted that it often takes her head longer than her legs to get started in a race, especially when it’s chillier and wetter out.
“That was the most fun course yet,” said Yeager.
Overall race leader Cheryl Sornson, above, (Rare Disease Cycling) suffered a flat and lost nearly five minutes to Barclay, rolling in to round out the podium in third on the day.
As she rolled in, Sornson said, “How much time did I lose?” before explaining that a flat tire and sliced sidewall just ahead of the aid station had cost her a bunch of time. “I flatted and I fumbled trying to fix it for a minute before I realized that the aid station was just around the corner, so I ran there with all my gear in my mouth and got help.”
Despite her mechanical, Sornson still leads the overall standings, though Barclay’s finish today moves her closer to the top spot.
In a noteworthy moment of sportsmanship, it was Barclay’s NoTubes team which donated a replacement wheel to Sornson in her moment of need at the aid station. Had she had to stop and repair her torn sidewall or change a tire, she would have lost more time.
Kaysee Armstrong (Kona/TBB) crossed the line for fourth and as the first under 25 woman. Barclay’s teammate Sarah Kaufmann finished behind her.
U25 men and women
Cole Oberman’s win today is most likely sweeter for him than McElveen’s was for him yesterday, since Oberman is eligible for the elite men’s category and his victory bumped him up in the overall rankings. Behind them, Cameron Dodge (Pure Energy Scott Elite Team) and Madison Matthews (Toasted Head Racing) finished third and fourth in the stage for the BMC Under 25 Men, respectively.
“I think Jeremiah and his generation better watch out!” Oberman said of his and McElveen’s top finishes in recent stages.
In the BMC Under 25 Men’s standings, McElveen still sits comfortably in first. He and Oberman have gone head to head for the last three stages, but his earlier time gap established in the first two stages has allowed him to race defensively.
Still, Oberman is optimistic, though realistic. “I don’t know. It’s a lot of time to make up but I’m definitely trying to catch up,” said today’s stage winner.
In the BMC U25 Women’s race, Kaysee Armstrong (Kona/TBB Race) took the win, coming in sixth in the women’s field overall and taking back some of the time lost in yesterday’s road stage.
“It was a good day! This course was definitely better than yesterday. I don’t know what happens to me on gravel, but two miles on a gravel road and my mentality just trickles down. I like gravel, but only when it connects to singletrack a lot!” said Armstrong.
Emily Shields (BMC Project Dirt) finished just two minutes behind her, showing that her mountain bike talents, while still new, are clearly suited to technical terrain as well as gravel roads. Ellen Noble (Bear Development Team) had a rougher day, coming in third a few minutes behind the two.
As far as the BMC Under 25 Women’s overall standings, Shields maintained the leader’s jersey, still nearly 10 minutes ahead of Armstrong and Noble.
“I think getting behind yesterday made me a little sad,” Armstrong said, “But i just wanted to get out there and have fun!”
With only two stages to go, the races are winding down and becoming more and more fierce as battles for podium position have started to take shape, with less and less time remaining to close gaps.
Today’s stage at R. B. Winter State Park provided four separate SRAM Enduro segments for competitors.
In the men’s SRAM Enduro competition, Tristan Uhl (787 Racing) proved without question to be the winner of today’s segments by recording the fastest time for all four of the timed courses. Uhl’s dominating performance allowed him to grow his lead over second place Aaron Snyder (TSEpic.com/NoTubes) to 210 points. Justin Lindine (Redline/NBX) also rode strong in the enduro segments and gained enough points to move himself to third in the overall standings.
In the women’s enduro race, Carolyn Popovic continued to dominate over her competitors by posting the fastest time in three of the stage’s four segments. Mary McConneloug won the first segment of the day to help land her in second place in the stage’s points competition. However, the strong performance was not enough to move her up in the overall standings as McConneloug still trails second place Kaysee Armstrong by 75 points. Popovic remains in first place overall as the riders prepare for stage 6.
East Coast Rocks
The Bear Creek East Coast Rocks competition continued during today’s stage at R. B. Winter State Park with a timed segment along White Deer Creek Trail. In the men’s competition, Cody Phillips (Felt Factory Enduro Team) remains the leader in the overall standings, with Cole Oberman (Rare Disease Cycling) just over two minutes behind in second, and Michael Wissell (B2C2/Boloco) following close in third place. In the women’s competition, Mary McConneloug (Kenda/NoTubes) remains in first place. Carolyn Popovic (Rare Disease Cycling) moves up to second place after today and is following just one minute behind McConneloug.
Matt Ferrari (FreezeThaw/Hubcap Cycles) continued his winning streak today with another stage victory in the singlespeed class. Kurt Gensheimer (Ibis) finished second to Ferrari with a three-minute gap separating the two riders. John Merriam, below, (Crosshairs Cycling) finished just two and a half minutes after Gensheimer to take third place.
In the overall standings, Ferrari remains in first with an almost 40-minute lead over second place Gensheimer. Rich Dillen (Faster Mustache) remains in third and was able to increase his time over fourth place rider Scott Smith, (TVB Race/Tomato Head) to a 13-minute lead.
The BikeFlights.com Masters 40+ field saw new faces on the podium for today’s stage. Javier Lopez (Rock Mountain Bike Life) grabbed his first stage win of the week, beating out Steve Mee by almost two minutes. David Thompson (Cycle Smart) took third, finishing about three minutes behind Mee.
Despite the interesting stage results, no major changes appeared in the overall BikeFlights.com Masters 40+ standings. Nathan Ruch (Pure Energy Scott Elite Team) remains in the leader’s jersey with a six-minute gap over second place Steve Mee. Mike Hebe, leading the way above, (Team Novo Nordisk), keeps his third place position, but his gap over fourth place David Thompson is now reduced to just over five minutes.
In the Masters 50+ field, Alex Hawkins continued to put pressure on race leader Jim Matthews (Toasted Head Racing). After finishing only one minute behind Matthews in yesterday’s stage, Hawkins rode hard in today’s stage to finish a mere nine seconds behind stage winner Matthews. Hawkins’ strong riding could threaten Matthews’ first place overall standing should Matthews encounter any adverse circumstances in the next two days.
In the Masters 50+ overall standings, Jim Matthews leads the field with a 16-minute gap over second place Alex Hawkins. Rick Landry (speedriver.com) remains comfortably in third place.
See all our coverage of the 2014 Trans-Sylvania Epic here.
Daily video coverage
Click here to view a video of stage 5 race coverage.
Track top riders
The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race, partnered with event tracking provider Trackleaders.com, device maker SPOT LLC and Stan’s NoTubes, is the first stage race in North America to be testing the use of tracking devices for top racers. Visit TSEpic.com to follow racers via SPOT tracking during each stage.
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The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic presented by Dirt Rag Magazine is made possible with the generous support of BMC, Pactimo, Hammer Nutrition, Red Bull, Purple Lizard and Freeze Thaw Cycles. For more information, visit OutdoorExperience.org or TSEpic.com; follow on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.