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Stage winner Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team). Photo: Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team

Stage winner Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team). Photo: Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team

Day 3 of the Trans Sylvania Epic was an enduro day, meaning only the descents would be timed. There were five timed descents with your total combined time added to your overall for the week. It’s kind of a rest day since you’re not pinning it up the climbs, but according to my Garmin, the enduro day packed more climbing (4,200′) into fewer miles (29) than Stages 1 or 2.

To spread the field out the race started us near State College and we had some road and gravel before getting into the woods. From there, it was a steady diet of uphill roots and rocks until the start of stage 1.

Fellow Faster Mustache team rider Rich Dillen getting the job done. photo: Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team

My fellow Faster Mustache rider Rich Dillen getting the job done. photo: Trans-Sylvania Epic Media Team

It was another scorcher with temps in the mid-80s and high humidity. Taking it easy on the ups also meant spending more time in the sun, so pick your poison.

I opted to bring my Kona Process 153 for the day and it was the right move – I’m riding a Norco Revolver XC bike on the other stages. Pushing the few extra pounds of bike up the hill was well worth the extra travel on the descents. As far as those descents go, they were all chunky. Each one more so than the last, seemingly.

Overall, I had a clean race apart from a bobble on the 5th stage. It was a slight uphill into – yet another – rock garden and I took a bad line. I ended up jumping off and running the last few feet through it. All in all had a fun, long day on the bike in the woods riding great trails!

Made the podium!

Made the podium!

Full results release from the Trans-Sylvania Epic:

Elite men

Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team) was ecstatic to finally capture his first stage win at the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic on his third try. “I’m pumped, I finally got a stage win at Trans-Sylvania! That’s been a long time coming,” he said. “The last two years, I’ve been frustrated to miss out on the enduro stage win due to flat tires and other issues. Today, I didn’t do the typical enduro day hangout with people; I stayed focused and blasted my way through the course.”

When asked what he did differently this year, Phillips explained his gravity-focused bike prep. “The last few days, I had some chain issues because I didn’t have a chain guide, which was poor planning on my part, so I went and got a chain guide yesterday at Freeze-Thaw Cycles. I put on downhill tires and put 33 psi in the rear tire and 30 psi in the front, so I could go as fast as I wanted through the rocks without flatting.”

The fourth section of the day, the Wildcat Gap trail, is notoriously difficult – basically a steeply tilted rock garden – but Phillips made it look easy. “You’re good at things when it’s life or death. So basically you get going into a section, and if you shut your brain off just enough that you get up to a speed where it’s life or death, you’re going to be a way better rider than if you’re thinking about it and trying to use your skills. Suddenly you realize you’re going so fast you can’t stop, so you either have to make the trail or you’re going to crash. Eventually you go so fast that you don’t fall in the holes, you’re just skimming across the top, and it feels like you’re riding across braking bumps instead of a rock garden.”

Phillips has a decently comfortable lead in enduro points over second place racer Cory Rimmer (Kona / Nox Composites / Provision Sports Medicine). He plans to ride conservatively the next two days to defend that lead.

Overall leader Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek) put in a good performance to grab the third podium spot, keeping his GC lead. “I gained a whole nine seconds on Kerry [Werner, Rally Cycling]…not terrible. I had four good runs, and then crashed in the middle of the last one, which was too bad, because I think it would have been fast.” Werner borrowed a bigger-travel bike which mean he lost time to Lindine in the flatter two first sections, but made up time on the latter two steeper, rockier sections.

Tomorrow’s stage 4 at R.B. Winter State Park, with its new added sections and longer distance, will challenge Lindine’s local knowledge gained from past race editions.

Stage 3 Brief Results
Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team)
Cory Rimmer (Kona / Nox Composites / Provision Sports Medicine)
Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek)

General Classification After Stage 3
Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek)
Kerry Werner (Rally Cycling)
Adria Noguera Soldevila (Buff Pro Team)

Enduro Stage 3 Brief Results
Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team)
Cory Rimmer (Kona / Nox Composites / Provision Sports Medicine)
Justin Lindine (Apex / NBX / Trek)

Enduro Classification After Stage 3
Cody Phillips (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team)
Cory Rimmer (Kona / Nox Composites / Provision Sports Medicine)
Christopher Hamlin (Bicycle Express Racing)

Elite women

With the day’s action focused on enduro, Meggie Bichard (Fuji Bikes) got a turn in the spotlight. The unassuming British enduro racer, who currently lives in New Zealand, has been quietly dominating the enduro category all week.

“I enjoyed today! The last three enduro segments were world-class,” said Bichard. “I haven’t ridden anything like that before. It was pure rock garden the whole way down the trail. Riding it blind made it pretty interesting, too. I’ve never raced anywhere like this in the U.S., and I’m impressed – I’d only previously been to Colorado.”

Up and coming young rider Kaysee Armstrong (Liv) continued to excel in the enduro and rode to second place in the stage. Unlike Bichard, who decided not to contest the cross country after experiencing stage 1, Armstrong is among the top women in both classifications.

“My chain came off on the third enduro segment, but everything else was perfect and smooth about today,” said Armstrong. “The fifth and final section was my favorite. I didn’t remember all those rocks! It just kept going and going.”

Kimberly Quinlan (Bicycle Express Racing) claimed the final spot in the day’s top three and made her first podium appearance of the week.

Race leader Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes) kept her overall GC lead with a fourth place on the day; however, Armstrong’s enduro prowess moved her into second place, bumping Bryna Blanchard (Windham Mountain Outfitters) into third.

Stage 3 Brief Results
Meggie Bichard (Fuji Bikes)
Kaysee Armstrong (Liv)
Kimberly Quinlan (Bicycle Express Racing)

General Classification After Stage 3
Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team)?
Kaysee Armstrong (Liv)
Bryna Blanchard (Windham Mountain Outfitters)

Enduro Stage 3 Brief Results
Meggie Bichard (Fuji Bikes)
Kaysee Armstrong (Liv)
Kimberly Quinlan (Bicycle Express Racing)

Enduro Classification After Stage 3
Meggie Bichard (Fuji Bikes)
Kaysee Armstrong (Liv)
Karen Talley Mead (Two Wheel Fixation)

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