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Ask Eric Cvechko why the call the race Revenge of the Rattlesnake
Sunday, July 19, 1998 -- Davis
Revenge of the Rattlesnake 50K
Story and photos by Don Parks.

[Downhill Results]
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The Revenge of the Rattlesnake 50K mountain bike race was held in the Canaan Mountain Area of Blackwater Falls State Park on Sunday, July 19th. The previous day had the downhillers in action at Timberline Resort for a dual slalom and downhill events. [Ed. Note: WVOutside was unable to get coverage from the downhill events, however, results are available.] The weather in Canaan was nice, the trails on Canaan Mountain were brutal. What a great setting for mountain bike race, if you are the ultra-endurance minded. The top expert riders set goals of finishing this 31 mile race in just under four hours.

Allen Moore took advantage of his opportunities
The race started out calm enough with a mile or so of pavement, leading out of the town of Davis and out Rt. 32, up to the east end of Plantation Trail. Then the fun began with the classic technical single-track of Canaan. As junior expert rider, James Van Toever, commented after finishing late in the afternoon, when asked if he had a nice long ride, "I had a nice long walk!" Throw in a rattlesnake and some unbelievable pain thresholds (see the end of the article), and you have quite an afternoon.

The course took all the riders out the the Plantation Trail to the junction with Lindy Run Trail. Here the course took a right and sent the the racers down the Lindy Run Trail to the Loop Road. At this point, the beginners called it a race after a little more than 10K. The first beginner to land at the finish was Kevin Cristler in 1:17.05. The rest of the racers going on from this point were led by Ben Klimas, followed by Allen Moore and David Fleming. Rounding out the top five at this point saw Ray Clark in fourth followed with expert female Sue Haywood in fifth.

Ben Klimas off to a an early lead (why do you think they call it Blackwater?)

The 50K continued on the North end of the Loop Road. This section of the road is 4-wheel drive terrain with lots of rocks, large potholes, and a few stream crossings. At least the road is mostly a moderate grade, and all ridable. After several miles of rough road it was back into the woods for a loop on the Mountain Side Trail (the sport women and sport vet men bypassed this loop for a 40K race). By the time the riders returned to the Loop Road, at over halfway through the race, there were no changes among the leaders. However, the first three riders had formed a tight lead group with Allen and David letting Ben set the pace.

The second section of Loop Road was a moderate climb on well surfaced gravel. But only for a few miles until the racers were sent back onto the west end of the Plantation Trail for some of the most difficult trail sections. It was enough to separate the lead group and determine who would continue strong into the late stages of the race.

A wrong turn cost David Fleming a late race lead

By the end of three and a half miles on the Plantation Trail, from the Loop Road to the Lindy Run Trail, the leaders had made there moves. The first to take the right on Lindy Run Trail was David Fleming with a nice gap on Allen Moore in second and a fading Ben Klimas.

The south side of Lindy Run Trail was a nice section of trail with some fast downhill back to the Loop Road. The riders had little rest before they were sent back up the mountain on Fire Trail 6 to rejoin the Plantation Trail. At this point, a little poor advice from some recreational mountain bikers, sent David Fleming heading west rather than east at the trail junction. This enabled Allen Moore to jump to the front for the final section of the Plantation Trail and the Gas Pipe Line out to the finish back in Davis.

Junior experts, Jonathan Martin and Nick Waite, on a senic section of the Lindy Run Trail
David was able to get back on course, still in second place, and chasing Allen. Ben continued to fade after his strong start and was now running fifth, allowing Ray Clark and Sue Haywood to move into third and fourth. The top four riders were never able to close enough ground over the last miles to change the overall standings, with Allen taking the win in 3:43.01. However, the struggling Ben continued to be punished as Mark Baba was able to overtake him to finish fifth, just 30 seconds ahead of Ben in sixth. Rounding out the 50K finishers with times under four hours was Scott Young, seventh overall and the first sport male. Another impressive finish was that of junior rider, Nick Waite, who finished 10th overall in just over four hours.

Back in the rest of the field there was plenty of action taking place. First is the story of Eric Cvechko who came across a rattlesnake looking for a little revenge. As the story goes, the rattlesnake struck at Eric's foot and managed to get a hold of his shoe. After dragging the snake a short ways and "trying to get him caught up in the crank", the snake fell back to the ground and met his maker. If it is any consolation to the snake, Eric DNFed from the race, carrying the dead reptile in is fanny pack.

Barbara DeMicco finishes the race and appears to feel no pain
The final chapter in the day's events saw female sport rider, Barbara DeMicco, take a nasty spill that impaled about a three or four inch stick in her left leg. The stick entered the front inside of her thigh, just above the knee and could be seen pushing out against the back inside of the thigh. Well, what do you do when this happens to you with many miles left in a long race? If you're Barbara, you get back in the saddle and finish the race. You often hear the term "insane" in the same sentence with "Canaan", but what this woman did (against the advice of many people) is just... well, insane!

[Ed. Note: Barbara did skip the awards after the race to seek medical attention. If you have a strong stomach and would like to see a graphic photo of the stick impaled in her leg, you can see it here, but don't say we didn't warn you not to look!]