The forested hills of central Pennsylvania hide steep climbs and rocky singletrack that can make for an interesting race. Stage Two of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic is widely considered the toughest of the week, covering 37.5 miles and 5,892 feet of climbing. Despite the lengthy sections of technical trail through the Cooper's Gap area, team tactics played a role in the results today.
Payson McElveen (Competitive Cyclist) won the elite men's race and defended his yellow leader's jersey, while Vicki Barclay (Stan's NoTubes Elite Women's Team) won the elite women's and took over the race lead from Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing).
Once again, Under-25 rider Payson McElveen (Competitive Cyclist) was the winning elite man for the day. He stuck with his teammates Justin Lindine and Tristan Uhl, then made his move in one of the East Coast Rocks timed sections.
"Today I just went in wanting to feel it out, play it a little more conservatively," said McElveen. "We have a strong team with good numbers, there are three of us in the elite category."
"I got the holeshot into the singletrack to stay out of trouble and just rode my own pace," said McElveen. "We ended up getting away-myself, Justin Lindine, Dan Timmerman [Riverside Racing] and Tristan Uhl-so it was three of us and one from another team. Justin set a good tempo and we pulled away, then about halfway through I pulled away from him. Eventually I got away on the last East Coast Rocks section and tried to ride a tempo that was hard but not destroying myself, since we still have a lot more racing."
Lindine is a five-year veteran of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic, but it is his first time here with teammates on hand. It helped, at least for a while.
"This is, in my opinion, one of the harder stages of the week. It's long and it has so many dragging climbs where you're putting out a ton of effort but you're going six miles an hour," said Lindine. "Payson was smashing it all day, and we got away. For a while, it was a nice symbiotic thing where I was faster on descents and he was faster on climbs, but that game stopped working for me…There was not enough down to the up today!"
Nevertheless, Lindine was positive about the day. "It's nice to have many cards to play with the team. We put a pretty good chunk of time in today over everyone and that gives us a good cushion for the week."
NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic veteran Vicki Barclay (Stan's NoTubes Elite Women's Team) showed her prowess on rocky singletrack and put in solid work on the first long day of the race.
"The course was great. I have such an advantage since I live here," said Barclay. "The first section was a lot of road and Mical Dyck and Crystal Anthony are just powerhouses on the road from cyclocross. They're amazing. I decided I was going to keep them in sight and if they got ahead on the road, so be it. Mical got into the singletrack first, then Crystal, then me, which I was totally happy with so I could catch my breath. I knew there was a hike-a-bike so there was no point in panicking."
From there, Barclay's local knowledge came into play. "Crystal missed a turn, and so I got in front of her there. Mical was just ahead of me with a group of guys, but then I caught up and felt like the group was going too slow. Then, she dabbed in the rock garden and I went around her and never saw her again. I tried to ride consistently and not do anything stupid. I had an incident with a tree…whenever I lose focus and start thinking about life, I hit a tree. So I had to get back to race mode."
First-time NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic racer Mical Dyck (Stan's NoTubes Elite Women's Team) had good things to say about her experience, despite the day's difficulty.
"My day was interesting," said Dyck. "This was a lot of pedaling today, so I was in survival mode for three hours. I just wanted to stop pedaling for a few minutes! It was hard. This is my first time doing this race. I'm going to suffer, I think, but I'm so excited about checking out new trails."
Last year, Payson McElveen had the third fastest general classification time overall for the men as an Epic Team participant and Under 25 rider. This year it looks like two young riders are following in his footsteps, with finishes good enough to place in the top five. Drew Dillman and Lewis Gaffney, both on the Colt Training Systems Red Team and racing the Epic Team format, finished in 3:12:49 and 3:13:32, respectively.
Libby White (Colt Training Systems Blue Team) is racing her first NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic, but her experience racing elite cyclocross has obviously helped, as she's currently leading the Under 25 women. Ellen Noble (Competitive Cyclist) is right behind her, coming off a third-place U25 win at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic last year followed by a stellar season in mountain bike and cyclocross racing.
The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic presented 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!