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Saturday, July 18, 1998 -- Lost Creek
WV State Championship

[More Pictures] [Results]

The pace line is altogether during the early stages
Lost Creek, West Virginia, was the host for the 1998 West Virginia State Championship on Saturday, July 18. The weather was a little warm with some mixed sun and overcast skies. Acutually very plesant weather compared to the rain that seemed ever present for races held at Lost Creek in the early in the season.

The day's races consisted of a 37 mile loop for the Cat 4 riders with the Cat 1-3 riders having two extra segements added in, to give them a 63 mile total. However the biggest climbs of the day were included in the course for all riders. The first climb was situated around the midpoint both circuits, with a feed zone available at the summit. The other climbs of interest where situated around the city of Johnstown, just a few miles from the finish.

Josh Smith leads the riders up the final climb
The start was staggered with the Cat 4 riders starting a few minutes behind the Cat 1-3s. Both groups of racers stayed together for the better part of their races. No substantial breaks were held for any length of time, including the climb out of Ruraldale to the feed zone. Any advantages gained on the climb were lost on the downhill into Hodgesville and the flats that followed. The real racing started as the racers turned on to the final road that would take them through Johnstown, with a climb before and after the valley community, then back into Lost Creek.

The Cat 4 group saw Phil Lovalenti and Mark Waite finally pull away as they topped the final climb with Tim Willis and Matt Peterson in close pursuit. For the final miles of the race it was a team effort by Phil and Mark to keep Tim from closing the gap. Tim was riding well all day, on the relatively level stretches of road, and he'd be hammering hard to catch them by the finish. Tim made the effort and quickly dropped Matt, but was never able to catch the leaders. The race for first between two leaders was easily won by Phil, with Mark having little left to challenge with, in a sprint finish. (However, Mark was overheard telling Phil that it was "Just an early Christmas present.") Tim and Matt crossed with solo finishes for third and fourth, respectively. The Cat 4s finished their 37 miles in around 1:38, at an average speed of over 21 mph.

H. Orlandella reaching the final summit
The Cat 3 riders had a very similar finish with some riders dropping off the pace a little earlier on the winding road and hill that lead into Johnstown. By the top of the final climb, before heading back into Lost Creek, there were five riders off the front. As they crested the climb, Gunnar Shogren dropped off the pace, was unable to catch a wheel, and was caught by several others before the finish. The other four, Josh Smith, Greg Cook, Laurence Lane and Glenn Swan stayed together to the finish when the final sprint caught the group by suprise. Josh got the early jump and had a realatively easy time of crossing the line first, with Greg taking second and Laurence third. Glenn Swan, who rolled across the line fourth, claimed to have had a "mouth full of Power Bar" at just the wrong moment. The front riders finshed their 63 miles in about 2:45, averaging over 22 mph.

Other winners on the day included Katina Sayers, Cat3 Female, who battled with the Cat 4 Men on the 37 mile course. The Cat 5 Men raced earlier in the day, on a roughly 20 mile course, with Rick McAllister beating out Russell Dunkin for top spot.

The West Virginia Champion honor, which comes with the prerequisite of being a WV resident, went to Greg Cook. In second and third were Gunnar Shogren and Chris Hunnisett, respectively. These same three that took the overall awards, also laid claim to first in their respective race categories.