Source: Trans-Sylvania Epic/Mike Cushionbury
The Queen stage of the Trans-Sylvania Epic came down to a battle between the top three overall contenders. As predicted, Jason Sager attacked on the biggest fireroad climb of the day, which came early in a bid to distance himself from Kris Sneddon.
As the open men went up the first singletrack climb off the start Jeremiah Bishop opened up a 25-second gap but sat up at the top to regroup with teammate Alex Grant, Sneddon, his teammate Barry Wicks, Sager and a few other contenders. When the group finally hit the big climb Sager attacked. “He went like it was a road race and instantly got a gap,” explained Bishop.
As the group followed, Wicks was setting pace for his teammate Snedden, who was second in the overall standings. At this point, Grant went to the front and pulled Bishop up to Sager.
“When I saw there was separation I slowed down a little just because that far out you need people to ride with,” said Sager. “I heard that Sneddon was gaining faster than Grant so we had to go right away and leave Grant at that point. We were going man to man. Kris chased hard and I went hard.”
As they progressed through the 38-mile course Bishop played it safe, knowing that Sager was on a mission to put time into Sneddon and possibly take over second place in the overall. As the pair hit the rocky singletrack climb leading up to Tussey Ridge, Sager got the jump as Bishop followed, eventually getting around and opening a small gap on the technical section. Unfortunately Bishop lost his chain on the backside of the mountain allowing Sager to join back on. Once the pair hit the final four-mile gravel road to the finish, Bishop, knowing that Sager was working to get back time, took only took token pulls to keep the pace up. Once the pair turned onto the steep, one-mile grassy climb that funneled to the finish line Bishop attacked and won with 30 seconds to spare over Sager and 7mn:37sec over Grant. But the Jamis rider’s efforts were not in vain, he was able to secure second overall heading into the last day, 7mn:30sec behind Bishop. Sneddon fell back to third overall, 7mn:31sec behind Sager.
As the open women rode up the first singletrack in a compact group all the major players were accounted for early. Heading into the fireroad climb Amanda Carey opened up a convincing lead but once into the technical trails Selene Yeager closed the gap and eventually passed her going across the ridge. Once off the rocks and on the final run-in to the finish, Carey was able to catch back on to Yeager and then pull away for a solo victory, all but securing her title at the conclusion of tomorrow’s final stage.
In the hotly contested single-speed race, Morgan Miller took yet another win ahead of Rich Dillen and leader Rich Straub.
“When Morgan saw Straub it was over, fuck it,” quipped Dillen. “I had stopped to straighten my rotor then I rode behind Miller for a while, but when he saw Straub he was gone. I wanted no part if it.”
Greg Martin who started the day in third overall retired from the race mid-stage and, in doing so, moved Miller into third overall, 8mn:04sec behind Dillen and 29mn: 07sec behind Straub.
The final stage of the Trans-Sylvania Epic concreted the overall standing with agreements on the trail and a festive last ride with beer hand ups under tepid skies on picture perfect singletrack.
The open men’s class raced to secure their overall spot on some of the best trail conditions the world has to offer. Barry Wicks took an early flyer on the initial technical sections but was soon caught by overall leader Jeremiah Bishop, second placer Jason Sager and Justin Lindine. The trio worked together and in the end it was Lindine who took the final stage victory as Bishop, who rolled across in second, claimed his second overall Trans-Sylvania Epic title with Sager in second and Kris Sneddon in third overall.
The women’s class rode a parade loop today with the top five taking a trail ride together and enjoying a perfect day in the sun. Amanda Carey is the 2011 Trans-Sylvania Epic champion followed by Selene Yeager and Vicki Barclay, who won the final day’s contest.
In an odd twist, the singlespeed class was all business when Morgan Miller said no deal to a single speed parade lap. As fate would have it, Miller, who won the stage, took advantage of a flat tire by second place rider Rich Dillen and moved into second overall despite a frantic chase by Dillen all the way to the line. Rich Straub rode a conservative race and secured his overall Trans-Sylvania Epic title.