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Sunday, May 30, 1999 -- Webster Springs
Woodchopper Classic
Story by Don Parks with photos by Lisa Selmon and Don Parks

[Coverage/Recap] [Picture Set 1] [Picture Set 2] [Results]

Kevin Chapman
GoMart's Kevin Chapman clears the way on Rt. 15
On a beautiful morning just outside of Webster Springs, the road bikes gathered to challenge Point Mountain. The out-and-back course took the Cat 1-4 riders out Route 15 North for just over 20 miles before heading them back to the finish. The 20 miles quickly became a steady six mile climb gaining close to 2000 vertical feet. Reaching the top gave no real opportunity for rest as the remaining miles consisted of rolling grades that continued to slowly add to the overall elevation. Cat 5 and Citizens riders had life much easier as they turned off onto Route 26 about half way up the initial climb. From here it was a nice slow decline into the town of Bergoo for the turnaround point at just over 9 miles out.

The Cat 1-4 riders saw National Capital Velo Club racer Jonathan Vernier immediately begin to attack on the climb. Never managing a substantial break, Vernier settled down only to see GoMart's Kevin Chapman push the pace in the later half of the climb. At the ridge top of Point Mountain, just Chapman, Vernier, and Ridge Rider's John Barry were together off the front. However, they were quickly joined by Barry's Ridge Rider teammate Jason Means.

John Barry
Ridge Rider's John Barry races down the mountain
As the foursome rolled toward the turnaround point, they were not working well together but hoped the advantage gained on the climb would hold. At the turnaround, they noticed that Sue Haywood and Matt Marcus, both riding for WVOutside, were only about a minute and a half back. In addition, GoMart's Mark Pinson had worked his way up to the pair to form a three rider chase group.

Heading back South on Route 15 did little to boost anyone's moral as everyone found themselves now faced with a head wind. Regardless, the lead group felt the pressure and the pace began to pick up. The first to fall back was Means with Vernier able to hang on a little longer before Barry and Chapman were riding alone at the front. On the final climb before the long descent to the finish, Chapman was able to break away from Barry. The two each finished alone to take first and second, respectively, with times just over the two hour mark.

Sue and Matt
Sue Haywood and Matt Marcus work together for team WVOutside
Meanwhile, the battle for third raged as the Haywood, Marcus and Pinson chase group reeled in and passed Means and were able to catch Vernier at the top of the descent. A spent Vernier was quickly passed by Marcus and Haywood with Pinson grabbing his wheel for a little rest. At the bottom of the descent, Pinson was able to regroup with the two WVOutside riders to setup a sprint finish for third. With Haywood leading the trio, Pinson made his move from the back and Marcus followed. At the line it was Marcus, Pinson and Haywood taking 3rd, 4th, and 5th, respectively.

After all the racing, plenty of fresh fruit and cool drinks were provided as the day's awards were handed out. Many thanks go out for the hard work of John Reed, Race Director, and Steve Gavalchik, Race Coordinator. They were quite fortunate to have the assistance of Jenny Given, Shellie Mullins and Michelle Soto along with the Webster Memorial EMS crew. Everyone is looking forward to next year's race and the riders can be assured that Point Mountain will be waiting for them.