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Sunday, September 26, 1999 -- Beech Fork State Park, Huntington
Beech Fork Mountain Bike Race
Story by Lori Garbesi, with photos by Julie Bertsch & Lori Garbesi

[Coverage] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3] [Pic Set 4] [Pic Set 5]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]

Beech Fork MTB Race
Battling it out on the downhill
Sunny blue skies, and a warm fall day made the 13th Annual Beech Fork Mountain Bike Race enjoyable for competitors and spectators alike. The course was a new one from previous years. The staggered starting line began on the pavement, leading into the lush forest and single track, then following along the lakeside trail.

After tackling the singletrack, riders soon challenged a creekbed that led to the ever so famous, Mary Davis Climb. The course went along the ridge and then dropped down before leading back to either start another loop, or finish the race. Beginners and first-timers did one lap, while all others except for experts did two laps. The Expert/Pro class completed 3 laps before finishing.

A race to the finish!
Ryan O'Connor fights a flat as Mike Bowen gains on his lead
This was an exciting race between Ryan O'Connor and Mike Bowen. O'Connor took the lead and kept it during the entire race, with Bowen close behind. The finish was a screamer! Ryan O'Connor was in the lead with Mike Bowen gaining on him about 100 yards from the finish. Unfortunately, O'Connor got a flat, back tire about a mile or so before the finish, and Bowen took the lead only a few yards from the finish line to take the win overall! Mike Bowen's time was 1:23:41, with Ryan O'Connor finishing 2nd overall just behind Bowen with a time of 1:23:42. Finishing 3rd in the Expert/ Pro category was Thomas Samples (1:28:52).

Beech Fork MTB Race
The women race to the finish!
In the women's division, Jeanette Williams(1:20:40) took 1st place for two laps. She was the only female in the 2 lap category. In the one lap category, Maggie O'Dell had a time of 55:24 taking 1st place for the first-timer women. Second place was Meredith Zuspan with a time of 1 hour & 16 seconds, and 3rd place went to Allison Hunt (1 hour & 6 minutes).

After the race, over 80 bikers and their families and friends gathered round to eat some awesome spaghetti from Rocco's in Huntington! The prize table had a lot to offer, and after everyone got more than enough to eat, the awards were presented. Thanks to all of those who made this race possible. WVOutside can't wait to see the new challenges Beech Fork has to offer next year!