When asked about what it was that sets the NoTubes TSEpic apart from the rest, veteran of more than a dozen mountain bike stage races, Rich Dillen, said, “Trans-Sylvania Epic is a different focus from other stage races. This one is about community, the tribe, about getting people together who want to ride bikes. It is fun. The Average Joe can get through it and not be destroyed.”
In 2013 the Trans-Sylvania Epic will again offer a wide range of options and make it possible for for all levels of riders to take part. Solos and Duos looking for the thrill of competition have seven days of fast racing to look forward to on challenging singletrack-filled courses.
Mountain bike lovers looking to ride every mile of incredible trail in a more relaxed vacation-like way can do so through the “Experience category” where stopping to take in the beautiful views of rolling green ridges stretching into the distance is encouraged and rewarded.
And groups of racers from beginner to elite can band together in an Epic Team and choose their own adventure in ways that allow all participants to make the week fit their lives, fitness, goals and abilities.
As Dillen and many others have noted, the Trans-Sylvania Epic is ‘A summer camp mountain bike adventure with adult beverages.’ The TSEpic is a week of hanging out and riding with people who just love to ride mountain bikes – and it just keeps getting better. Riders can look forward to improvements to camp and some new and revamped courses in 2013.
“We take a little different view of things here regarding our courses” commented TSEpic co-conspirator Mike Kuhn “and mix up a little of everything into the week.”
The changes in focus – from wide open fast dirt to the fastest cross country course in North America at Allegrippis to the IMBA style build of the Nittany Mountain Bike Association trails in Rothrock to raw old school trails from RB Winter – offer different racers an opportunity to excel and showcase the breadth of great riding in PA.
The shorter than death-march courses offer fast racing and exciting competition and the bonus of lots of time to hang out at camp and recover with your favorite post-race beverages and new found friends. “I think the biggest thing going with TSE right now, and I know I’m not the first to point this out, is the variety of the stages throughout the week. [Trans-Sylvania] is an excellent representation of what mountain biking is in Pennsylvania. And it’s good.” commented Scott’s Snyder.
Over the coming months the Trans-Sylvania Epic will be rolling out some changes to the courses and even the flow of the week. “We like to think about this sort of like they do at the Tour,” added co-conspirator, Ray Adams.
“You won’t see the same stages year on year. You might see a mountain top finish next year. You might find the ITT at the other end of the week as the final stage. We may bring back the enduro style stage from years one and two. We’re always looking for more great trails. Lucky for us there are hundreds of more miles of singletrack within the Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests to go explore and put to together into fun challenging courses.”
While the focus is on “the Tribe” and on making the week a blast on and off the bike, the NoTubes TSEpic attracts one of the most competitive men’s and women’s endurance fields of any race in North America. Besides spending the week with other lovers of mountain biking, participants get to wile away the hours between stages hanging out with racers like Barry Wicks (Kona) and Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale), stopping by Drew Edsall’s RV (Kenda/Felt), joining Cheryl Sornson (Team CF) for dinner and throwing back a cold one with Sue Haywood (NoTubes) after the stage.
“It is so cool to actually get to know these people you may only otherwise read about in magazines. For a week I literally get to hang out with some of fastest racers in the country.” said three-time participant Mike Festa of the Philly Ciclismo team. “And it doesn’t take long to realize why even these incredible racers want to be here, regardless of your ability and experience, this is just so much fun.”
The Trans-Sylvania Epic is much more than just racing. Most participants choose to spend the week hanging out at the TSEpic Base Camp where tent sites, RV spots, group lodges and small cabins offer a range of lodging possibilities and costs and the mess hall offers good food and lots of it! Even transportation and laundry can be taken care of through the a la carte menu of options at registration. With on-site mechanical support from Freeze-Thaw Cycles available as well all participants have to do is ride and enjoy the company. Evening fun in the past has included the wheelie competition, Jeremiah Bishop providing liquid refreshments for all at the “Hump Day Party” and TSEpic’s unofficial stage 8, the 3 Beer Derby by CyclingDirt. The organizers plan to turn the “in-between” bits up a notch in 2013.
Kona’s Barry Wicks wraps it up like this, “Every day has a different feel. I came out and did 7 awesome days. Man, Pennyslvania is rad! I want to go back there and ride my bike some more. Everybody is serious about racing but everybody is just as serious about having a good time. It is so chill. [Trans-Sylvania] is basically a catered, guided mountain bike adventure. You’re taken care of and get to ride all these rad trails. For the money it is probably the best value you can get. Super fun, hang out in camp, shoot the [bull], become friends.”
TSEpic entries and on-site lodging sold out in 2012 and the special pricing on the first 50 entries for 2013 mean those are sure to go fast. Sign ups start on Sunday June 24 at 8PM EST. Grab some friends and come to Pennsylvania for a week-long mountain bike adventure next May.