Vicki Barclay descends through the switchback sections at the top of Wildcat Gap.
In the ’cross offseason, we try to keep track of some of the top ’crossers as they race gravel, road and mountain bikes. This week, quite a few—including the current National Champion Jeremy Powers—are tackling the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic in the wilds of western Pennsylvania.
Halfway through the seven day stage race, former race winners Jeremiah Bishop and Cheryl Sornson are leading the men’s and women’s GCs. However, in the women’s field, MTBer and SSCXWC champion Vicki Barclay (Stan’s NoTubes) isn’t far behind, trailing Sornson by mere minutes. Last year’s winner Justin Lindine (Redline) had some bad luck early on with a flat tire on Stage 1 and some bike issues on Stage 2, but a second place in yesterday’s Enduro stage has bumped him up in the rankings.
’Crosser and MTBer Mary McConneloug told us that she’s testing out stage racing this week, and is sitting fourth in the GC. Will we see more of her on the stage race circuit versus the World Cup MTB circuit? Time will tell, but for now, she plans to balance the two disciplines.
Other ’cross/MTB racers in contention include Spencer Paxson (Kona), who has worked his way into second place in the GC, and MidAtlantic racer Carolyn Popovic (Rare Disease Cycling), who took second in yesterday’s stage. In the U25 women, ’cross 17-18 National Champion Ellen Noble is fighting with two other women including fellow ’crosser Emily Shields. She took the win on the first stage, but fell behind in the second and is several minutes back from current leader Kaylee Armstrong.
Jeremy Powers, who is taking part in an Epic Team, took 22nd in the Open Men (all Masters, team, duo, singlespeed racers) in the Enduro stage, as one of the few racers riding a hardtail.
There are still four stages to go, and anything can happen, so stay tuned.