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Sunday, July 11, 1999 -- Richwood
Scenic Mountain Triathlon
Story by Don Parks with photos by Marty Lamp and Don Parks

Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]
Class Results: [Major Class (M/F/Team)] [Awards Class]
Overall Results by Split Times: [Swim] [Bike] [Swim/Bike] [Run] [Total]

Just an easy half-mile swim to get things started
You couldn't have asked for nicer weather on Saturday, July 11th, in the Monongahela National Forest. With sunny skies, temperatures in the seventies, low humidity and a light breeze, everything was perfect for some swimming, cycling and running. That was exactly what was ready to happen at the 14th Annual Scenic Mountain Triathlon.

The day's task would start with a half-mile swim in Summit Lake, then a 17.1-mile bike ride on Rt. 39/55 East over Kennison Mountain to the Cranberry Visitor Center, and finish with a 10K (6.2 miles) out-and-back run down to the edge of the Cranberry Wilderness and back to the finish at the visitor center.

With everyone from first timers to experienced triathletes, young and old, men and women, individuals and teams, all ready to test the waters, the racing began with a 10:00am swim. Usually reserved for fishing, the lake is open to swimming only once a year, and this was that day.

Don Jeffery
Don Jeffery glides toward the swim finish on Summit Lake
The first to return to shore was Chris Hagedorn racing for "Run Forest Run" men's relay team. Hagedorn managed to gain over a minute lead on the rest of the field with a 8:58 time.

Touching back to solid ground second was the solo racer Don Jeffery arriving at 10:19. The first women out of the water were Kristi Beatty (11:52), coed team "KJK" swimmer Julie Kominsky (11:54), and Tammi Jeffery (12:01), all within moments of each other.

Making the best of the swim/bike transition, Tammi Jeffery was able to hit the bike course ahead of Beatty to take the lead in the solo women's competition.

The 17+ miles of scenic highway that was waiting for the competitors started with a fast downhill from the lake to Rt. 39/55 for a quick 2+ miles. Then a sharp left hand turn, complete with hay bales for safety, headed the riders toward Kennison Mountain. The next 10 or so miles was a gradual climb through the forest with just a few areas where one could catch their breath. Then came the final climb, a ride up to the top of Kennison Mountain where a sign warned travelers from the other direction of a 9% grade, downhill, for the next 2 miles. It was enough to cause several riders to dismount for a rest or to push their bikes. There was the reward at the top of several miles of downhill to the Cranberry Visitors Center for the bike/run transition.

Charlene Ellestev
Charlene Ellestev finishes a demanding 17+ miles of biking
Attacking the course the hardest was Don Jeffery with a time of 50:42 which moved him into the overall lead. However, the second fastest time of 50:44 was recorded by Phil Lovalenti, who passed a number of riders after exiting the water in 13th place. He now sat in 2nd overall, less than 2 minutes behind Jeffery.

Others doing well on their bikes included James Critchley, riding for coed "Woods Water & Wheels" team. Finishing with the third fastest time (52:43) moved the team from fifth to third overall at 1:03:21. They also easily took the overall team spot with the "Run Forest Run" team unable to match their impressive swim time on the cycling leg.

Recording the sixth fastest bike time and moving into fourth overall was Tammi Jeffery, the overall leader's wife. She also assumed an over 4-minute lead on the rest of the women's field. Moving into second among the solo women was Mary Winston who overtook Beatty and led her by less than a minute going into the run.

The running did little to shake up the overall leaders even though first and second only recorded the 11th and 9th fastest run times, respectively. Jeffery's 41:18 in the run was enough to hold off Lovalenti who gained only a little ground with a 40:40 run. Jeffery's winning time of 1:42:19 was still over a minute ahead of Lovalenti's second overall time of 1:43:31.

Team "KJK" enjoys the benefit of fresh legs for the run
The most impressive runner on the day was Ed Koontz who covered the course in just 36:20. With the help of a strong bike ride, Koontz was able to finish third overall in 1:44:47 after coming out of the water in 23rd.

Also running strong was Aaron Kaylor with a second best run time of 37:32. But with no swimming experience and very little cycling to his credit, it just wasn't enough. However, the strong running of Mike Kominsky, third best in 37:34, was enough to move his "KJK" team up through the ranks. The fourth team out of the water and the third off the bike, they used the fast run to take the overall team title in 1:50:25.

In the women's field, the winners finished in the order they began the run with Jeffery in first (1:51:12), Winston second (1:55:53) and Beatty third (1:59:45).

There were plenty more great races and all were rewarded with a fantastic cookout at the finish. The fabulous day was a treat for everyone with plenty of awards and a huge helping of hospitality provided generously by the Richwood Chamber of Commerce, Richwood National Guard, Nicholas Amateur Radio Club, Richwood VFD, Nicholas County Water Council Diving Club, Richwood Pool Lifeguards, WV State Police, DNR, USFS, and a lot of local community volunteers.