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The Black Bear Logo
Sunday, June 28, 1998 -- Kanawha State Forest, Charleston
Black Bear 40K

[Coverage/Recap w/Pics] [More Pics] [Results]

Our sincere thanks go out to Jack Downs, contributing author & photographer

The 12th Annual Black Bear 40K benefit for Kanawha State Forest was greeted with beautiful weather despite the inundation occurring in the Northern half of West Virginia. Travelers from the north observed homes floating down raging streams as they drove through torrential rains to get to the event. It took Jeff Fetty, the WVMBA rep, 5 hours to find a clear route to Kanawha State Forest and it only takes an hour under normal conditions!

Racers gather at the starting line...

93 riders braved the 90%+ humidity to challenge this 'Bear' and many were mauled physically and mentally by its claws. Gunnar Shogren was the odds on favorite for the overall win but a mishap on the 'Black Bear trail' created the opportunity for Gerry Pflug to overtake him in the next uphill section affectionately called the 'Pigeon Roost'.

...and the race begins!
These two great racers put on a wonderful show with wheel to wheel racing up to the last 5 mile section of the course. Gerry finished the 40K in an incredible 1:45:04! Other sub 2 hour riders in the Pro/Expert Class were: 2nd Gunnar Shogren: 1:47; 3rd Ryan O'Connor: 1:51:26; 4th Tom Samples: 1:55:59; 5th Paul Broughton: 1:57:16; 6th Benji Klimas: 1:58:05; and 7th Doug Covington: 1:59:15.
Bikers took on a very scenic trail.

Ranked #12 nationally by a leading publication, Pro Woman Susan Haywood blasted the competition with a 2:05:18. Sue's sprint finish to overtake two of the Jr. Expert men exhibited her power and champion qualities an drew a great crowd response. She is now 2 for 2 in WVMBA Point Series races.

and climbed some hills.

In the Men's Jr. Expert Class, Drew Morse continues to blast the competition with a 6+ minute margin over the class. Drew turned a 1:59:42 40K with Philip Poff coming to the finish line in 2nd at 2:05:22 and Jonathan Martin 3rd at 2:06:48. Future Mountain Bike Champions are certainly emerging from these young riders.

Smiling for the camera doesn't slow Sue Haywood down.

The 'Points' battle is getting hot in the Men's Veteran ranks. Matt Marcus in only his second Point Series race and Bryan Sterns exchanged leads many times during the event. At the tape it was Marcus winning with a 1:59:25 and Sterns 2nd at 2:00:49. Mike Boyes, the Men's Veteran Point leader, was third to the tape in 2:06:18 and WVOutside's Lew McGrath placed 4th with a 2:13:32.

The Marietta, Ohio Men's Sport racer, Drew Smithberger, continues to dominate the class as he powered to another victory in 1:59:37! 2nd went to Kevin Fletcher in 2:05:20; 3rd J.B. Forinash: 2:09:26; 4th Armon Goodon: 2:10:51. The Pro/Expert ranks are keeping a close eye on Drew in his first racing season.

Amy Atkins turned a 3:10:02 to win the Women's Sport class. Mandy Williams crossed the tape for 2nd with a 3:22:08.

Gunnar Shogren holds an early lead before falling to Gerry Pflug

"Undefeated"! That is a word that carries a lot of weight and pressure but is taken in stride by Men's Master Class front-runner Bill Lane of Williamstown, WV. Bill out distanced his competition by nearly half and hour to win the Masters 40K with a 2:28:03. 2nd went to Keith Roberts: 2:57:15 and 3rd to Ted Ecker: 3:12:30.

A new winner emerged for the Clydesdale Class, Chris Jarvis. Chris turned a 2:49:28 to win this 'Gravitationally Challenged' class.

The Men's Jr. Sport Class saw James VanToever bomb the class by 40 minutes with a 2:10:46. 2nd Anthony Ferretti: 2:50:44.

A racer celebrates completing the course!

Riders who did not get to enjoy the 'Wall of Death' were in the Beginner Class and Men's Beginner Denver SirDaugh topped the class with a 1:47:09. 2nd on this slightly modified course was Mitch Hopkins: 1:47:59 and 3rd Brice Chambliss: 1:51:19. Molly Whoten topped the Beginner Women with a 2:01:34.

Steve Marshall bested the Sport Veteran class with a 2:27:12.