by Jeff Lockwood
February 14, 2014
If you’re looking for a fun and challenging racing experience in the United States this year, perhaps you should check out the 2014 NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic in (and around) central Pennsylvania.
In its fifth year, the TSE returns with seven stages of classic East Coast singletrack, enduro runs, rocky trails and challenging descents. There’s even an entire stage that’s timed only on enduro runs. Previous years have seen the TSE endearingly referred to as “Singletrack Summer Camp.” That name will stick once again, thanks to the addition of more singletrack for this year’s route.
“Staying true to its roots, the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic will treat racers to a variety of stage types. There’s something for everyone. The climbers, the thrill-seeking descenders, the rock-hungry singletrack maestros and those with big engines,” said promoter Mike Kuhn.
While seven days of mountain bike racing can definitely be grueling, Kuhn has managed to cultivate an inclusive atmosphere for the week-long race. While the race attracts top professional racers, organizers have made significant efforts to include people who rather challenge themselves than compete with the pros. Thus people can choose between the “Standard” category for those truly wishing to compete, and the “Experience” category for people looking for a serious week-long mountain biking experience.
Living up to its “Singletrack Summer Camp” moniker, all racers…pros and Joe’s alike…all bunk together, eat communal meals and generally hang out after each day’s stage. This creates a celebratory atmosphere for which the event is also famous. Kuhn elaborates, “Off the bike and hanging out in between stages, racers can settle in for the week and enjoy the race’s relaxing, camaraderie-filled summer camp-like atmosphere.”
Racers and riders of all types are welcome. Categories include men, women, age groups (including U-25) and singlespeed. If you’re looking to share the experience, you can sign up for a duo team or the Epic Team category. The latter of which will allow participants to ride every day, or take a day off while the rest of your team does a stage.
The 2014 NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic presented by Dirt Rag Magazine will be held May 25-31. For more info, check the official TSE web site.
A brief summary of all seven stages:
Sunday, May 25: Stage 1 – Individual time trial, 15 miles
Noted for its mix of features, the opening day’s route offers a taste of everything riders will encounter throughout the week.
Monday, May 26: Stage 2 – Coopers Gap, 42 miles
This stage is marked by up to five separate enduro segments of tight, technical Pennsylvania
singletrack and one East Coast Rocks singletrack section.
Tuesday, May 26: Stage 3 – Enduro stage, 25 miles
Expect five timed enduro segments with no timed racing in between segments
Wednesday, May 27: Stage 4 – Coburn, 43 miles
Traditionally considered dirt road-style stage, this stage has been tweaked from previous years and features new singletrack and doubletrack.
Thursday, May 28: Stage 5 – R.B. Winter State Park, 29 miles
The route travels through a lightly used area that is among the most picturesque riding in Pennsylvania. Riders will also gain a new understanding of baby-head rocks.
Friday, May 29: Stage 6 – Tussey Mountain Queen Stage, 42 miles
Featuring a mix of enduro riding, classic East Coast rocks and breath-taking views, this stage will likely be a favorite among riders.
Saturday, May 30: Stage 7 – Bald Eagle, 26 miles
Twenty-six miles of super fun singletrack sections and two final enduro segments.