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Sunday, May 23, 1999 -- Moundsville
Grand Vue Park Mountain Bike Challenge
Story and photos by Dave McKain

[Coverage] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3] [Results]

Gerry Pflug back in winning form
A crowd of mountain bikers showed up outside Moundsville for a great race over the tried and true trails of Grand Vue Park. Rain over the prior days affected the mostly dirt course by making the uphill push/climbs a bit more treacherous but coagulated the dry soil over the rest of the course making for fast, tacky conditions. The five mile long course, laid out entirely in the park, snaked back and forth along the steep hillsides with long rolling portions separated by switchbacks. Riders had to take care on the grassy sections made slick by the previous night's rain. Par for the course in many WV races, the start sent the racers up a steep grassy hill to spread out the pack before heading into the woods.

Fun for the whole family at scenic Grand Vue Park
A "kids" race, riding in the Youth class, was held prior to the start of the main race. Lucky for the kids, the race organizers started the kids race from the top of the hill and did not require them to climb the hill twice. The course for the kids race was an out and back following the last portion of the main course for a two and a half mile ride. Once a report that the last kid racer had left the turnaround point and was headed to the finish line, the expert class was sent on its way. With a staggered start, the sport, beginner, and novice classes were soon to follow.

A fan provides condolences to an injured Ernesto
In the expert class, Gerry Pflug led the way to the top of the first hill followed closely by Ernesto Marinchin, Justin Skarbek, E.J. Sigety and Aron Yevuta. Ernesto, a definite contender, injured his knee while negotiating a tough section of the course and was forced to retire after the first lap but Sigety and Skarbek kept up the pressure on Pflug. While Sigety was able to stay close throughout the race, he could not keep up with the speedy Pflug who was participating in his first West Virginia mountain bike race of the season since a wrist injury sidelined him over the beginning of the season. Pflug, who maintained just over a 1 minute lead through the last lap, went on win in the expert class followed by Sigety then Skarbek.

See ya...
Just another day in the park...
In the sport class, Rich Bryan held off Darin Evans and Dave Warrick for first place after battling over three laps of the course. First place in the other classes were taken by Roy Gryskevich (Veteran), Vicky Sandy (Women), Chad Dlugopolski (Beginner), Justin Hunt (Novice) and Daniel Ondrick (Youth).

Park staff, race volunteers and spectators did their jobs spectacularly, handling the race and cheering on the participants as they pedaled around the course. No one was overlooked at the awards ceremony where everyone walked away with at least a water bottle, a t-shirt, a smile, and a great feeling of accomplishment for putting forth their best efforts.