by Don Stefanovich
Source: Trans-Sylvania Epic/Mike Cushionbury
Originally conceived as a Super-D contest, day five morphed into a “Mini-XC Day” as riders rolled four sections of a 28-mile loop. Each section began with a short climb into ultra technical singletrack, and times – averaged 13 to 14 minutes – were tallied with the lowest combined taking the day. The concept was created to upset the status quo and produce a new podium. This year, besides being one of the more fun stages, it produced a new podium standing among the men.
Bryan Fawely’s consistency gave him the advantage over Kris Sneddon and Jason Sager. Riding a carbon hardtail, Fawley took sections two and four with Sneddon on his heels both times resulting in a tie on time, but by virtue of winning two sections compared to Sneddon’s one, Fawley took the top podium position and the Super D winner’s jersey. Jeremiah Bishop snagged the third section just ahead of Sneddon and Sager giving him a two-minute lead on Sneddon and seven-minute lead on Sager over all.
“I’m not going to get seven minutes on Bishop unless it’s a 10,000 foot climbing day and on paper he should still win so I’m focusing on Sneddon,” Sager said in anticipation of day six at Rothrock Mountain. “I have to get him on the early climbs and then ride his pace on the technical trails, which he’s really good at. Basically it’s going to be an all-out day.”
The women’s open class saw a dominating performance by Selene Yeager, leading every section from start to finish.
Early in the week Yeager was already targeting day five for a possible win. “I knew today was a day I could win because I’m a good starter and a good technical rider so I wanted to play to my strengths,” she said post race. “I knew my chances of winning a lot of stages was slim this year because of the competition so I wanted to get at least one and this was it.”
Sue Haywood took second in sections two and four but it wasn’t enough to overcome a 19-second deficit to Amanda Carey in the first section. Carey took second place on the day by one second over Haywood.
Carey held onto the top women’s slot, but Yeager pulled 90-seconds back from her today and increased her lead over Vicki by 15 minutes.
Morgan Miller won his second straight singlespeed stage over Rich Straub and Greg Martin with former leader Rich Dillen coming in fourth on the day. Straub retains his hold on the leader’s jersey with Dillen just over 17 minutes back in second.
Day six, the Queen Stage, will be 38 miles in length with 5,300 feet of climbing at Rothrock Mountain.