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Sunday, July 18, 1999 -- Canaan Valley Resort State Park, Canaan Valley
Revenge of the Rattlesnake
Story and photos by Marty Lamp

[Coverage] Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class] [1998 Race Coverage]

Revenge of the Rattlesnake 50K
Matt Marcus about to get things rolling
The mountain bike action in West Virginia resumed after a two week break from the racing scene, and what better place to get back on the saddle. The second of three Canaan Valley Series Races, the Revenge of the Rattlesnake 50K took riders over some of the toughest, bone-jarring single track West Virginia has to offer.

The starting line was in Blackwater Falls State Park, at the Pendleton Point Overlook parking lot. All classes started here, and they were facing a 30K, 40K, or 50K course that ended next to the Nature Center in Canaan Valley Resort State Park.

Revenge of the Rattlesnake 50K
George Willetts leads the way onto Plantation Trail
The mass start was led on the pavement from the starting line by a park service vehicle for less than a mile before darting into the woods and keeping close to the Blackwater River. Once riders came to Route 32, it was uphill for almost two miles along the asphalt road that lead to the entrance of the Plantation Trail. All classes got their recommended dose of this classic trail, consisting of enough roots, rocks, mud bogs (it rained briefly the night before) to fill any hardcore's single track appetite.

Once Plantation crossed the Lindy Run Trail, 30K riders went left and headed south to the Loop Road, while 40K and 50K racers went right towards the northern half of Loop Road, and a much needed and appreciated water station. The 40K and 50K course stayed on Loop Road heading west towards the west end of the Plantation trail. The 50K track gained it's extra 10K by leaving Loop Road for the Mountain Side Trail, before once again coming to Loop Road and biking back to the west end of the Plantation Trail.

Revenge of the Rattlesnake 50K
Benjie Klimas crushes the rough stuff
Now it was time for some more fun on the Plantation Trail. Riders headed east until once again coming to the Lindy Run Trail, and from here they rode the same trail as the 30K racers. The next water station was at the end of this last Loop Road section (1 mile), and many riders were thankful.

Racers again entered the woods, this time on the Allegheny Trail and headed south towards Canaan Valley Resort State Park. The final few miles took riders across grassy fields on the Back Hollow Trail that showed little mercy on tiring legs and numbed minds.

Coming across the finish line first for the Expert class was Ben Klimas(3:25:17). Klimas took the lead early and pulled the lead pack up Rt. 32 before George Willetts(3:30:29) jumped out front and led the way through Plantation Trail. Less than 100 yards off the road, Klimas flatted, but wasted no time getting back on his bike getting back to the front. Willetts would lead right up into the final Lindy Run section, where Klimas pounded through the rough single track to take the lead for good.

Revenge of the Rattlesnake 50K
Amy Atkins keeping the right attitude
Willetts finished second overall, Mike Capraro(3:31:49) finished third, and Jonathan Martin(3:42:15) jumped up from the Junior Experts to finish an impressive fourth place overall.

Other 50K winners were Nick Waite(3:54:35) for the Junior Experts, who finished 7th overall, Tim Willis(4:00:01) for the Vet Experts, who finished 12th overall. Ben Woodward(4:12:54) won the Men's Sport Long division, while Kevin Wetzel(4:30:11) got the win for the Clydesdales Long class.

For the 40K racers, Mandi Williams(4:15:23) was the first women to finish, and she won the Women's Sport Class. Brad Allen(3:29:55) won the Clydesdale Short Class, Eric Durst(4:35:15) finished first for the Junior Sports, and Bruce Wohleber(3:42:48) took top honors for the Men's Masters. Gregory Olenic(3:23:33) got the win for the Men's Sport Short Class, and Dave McKain(3:53:31) dug deep within to get the win for Men's Sport Vet.

Revenge of the Rattlesnake 50K
Greg Moore on Plantation Trail
For the 30K racers, it was Joe Fint(2:13:00) winning the Men's Beginner class, and Wes Shirey(2:24:00) finished first for the Men's Junior Expert class.

Although the course was nothing less than grueling, the comments floating around after the race were nothing but positive, many agreeing that this was one of the best courses they have ever ridden. It was a great job done by race director Matt Marcus making sure the trails were properly marked (no one reported getting lost), and providing two vital water stations along the course. Thanks also to John Northeimer and Canaan Valley Resort for all their help and cooperation.