The Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic is one of the best mountain bike stage races in the United States and offers riders a chance to push their limits in the natural beauty of the Keystone State. Taking place over three or five days, depending on what length option you sign up for, racers are welcomed to top-level single track, aid stations, logistics, mechanics, food, and board. The Tran-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic is truly a top event in the United States, from the pure quality of the race course to the overwhelming amount of logistical support and planning to make the 3 or 5 days go as happily as humanely possible. The incredibly high quality that the Trans-Sylvania mountain bike epic relies on shows as it attracts some of the top talents in the United States cross-country mountain biking scene and sees many up-and-comers come to prove themselves on their professional Mountain bike journeys. At Strambecco, we consider the event to be one of the Best Mountain Bike Events in the Mid-Atlantic.
There are two race options for the Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic with either a 3-day stage or a 5-day stage race, and there are multiple categories to choose from from solo, duo and team competition. The interactive race maps and stage description are listed below, but overall, the stages are rather consistent in difficulty each year, with each day being about 30 miles with 3000′ feet of climbing.
Stage 1: Poe Paddy
The race kicks off with Stage 1, aptly named “Poe Paddy” as it takes riders through Poe Paddy State Park within Bald Eagle State Forest. Riders start at Scout Camp and will navigate a challenging course that winds through the dense forests of Pennsylvania. Expect technical singletracks, rooty sections, and exhilarating descents. This stage covers approximately 30 miles with 3,000 ft of elevation gain, setting the tone for an exciting week of mountain biking. An aid station is located approximately at Mile 17.
Stage 2: Gettis Ridge
Stage 2, known as “Gettis Ridge,” takes participants to Rothrock State Forest and is a new route for 2023. Riders will start at Tussey Mountain Ski and conquer climbs and descents along the ridge lines, testing their skills and endurance. Covering approximately 24 miles with 3,300 ft of elevation gain and an aid station at Mile 13.
Stage 3: Cooper’s Gap
“Cooper’s Gap” represents Stage 3 (or Stage 1 for the 3-day option) which combines natural beauty with thrilling riding. Starting from Scout Camp, the route covers around 35 miles and 4,400 ft of elevation, it will be an exciting challenge for all participants. Two aid stations are located at miles 13 and 24.
Stage 4: Tussey Ridge
Stage 4 (or Stage 2 for the 3-day option), the aptly named “Tussey Ridge,” presents riders with a demanding course that showcases the true essence of mountain biking. Participants will begin from Scout Camp and tackle steep ascents, rugged descents, and rocky terrains. This stage covers approximately 34 miles with 2,900 ft of elevation gain and includes technical singletrack and epic mountain vistas. Two aid stations are located at Miles 15 & 26.
Stage 5: Bald Eagle
The Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic culminates with the grand finale, “Bald Eagle” Stage 5 (or Stage 3 for the 3-day option). Riders will take off from Scout Camp and leave everything on the course as they tackle a challenging mix of terrain. Spanning approximately 21 miles and 2,600 ft of elevation gain, the grand finale promises an unforgettable finish. One final aid station will be located at Mile 14.
On the logistics side of things, the Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic delivers an unparalleled adventure in the heart of Pennsylvania. Aside from the fully supported aid stations, there are there are on-site full-time mechanics from the Bicycle Shop, laundry service, and prepared meals at the end of each race. In addition, lodging on site at the Scout Camp is included with entry and there are options to upgrade to cabins, private or shared rooms, as alternatives to RV or tent camping. Stick around before or after the event to explore everything that the Happy Valley area has to offer. Overall, this is a truly epic event that is more than recommended by the entire Strambecco editing staff.
Trans-Sylvania Productions also produces a sister event in August which is an equally epic gravel stage race called the Trans-Sylvania Gravel Epic. Organizers again offer a 2 or 4 day option. The total distance covered in the race varies from year to year but generally ranges from 200 to 300 miles while each stage presents a unique challenge, featuring different distances and elevation profiles. Participants must navigate through a variety of terrain, including steep climbs, thrilling descents, and winding gravel paths. The course often passes through picturesque valleys, dense forests, scenic farmlands, and charming rural communities. Our Strambecco team considers the Trans-Sylvania Gravel Epic to be one of the Best Gravel Events in the Mid-Atlantic.