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Sunday, January 9, 2000 -- Sissonville, WV
Sissonville Cyclocross/MTB Race #3
Story by Don Parks with photos by Diann Clothier and Don Parks

[Coverage/Recap] [Results] [Race #1] [Race #2]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7]

Tom Samples
Tom Samples slices through the mud in Sissonville
A night of cold rain turned much of the Sissonville Cyclocross course into a slippery mud-fest. But, with the series title on the line and plenty of cash prizes waiting, there was no shortage of mountain and cross bikes ready to challenge the terrain. Sunday's race day weather brought plenty of clouds and cool temperatures but only a few intermittent sprinkles of rain.

The expert and sport classes started first with the beginner and masters classes starting soon after. The almost two mile course started with a short paved hill before hitting grassy fields, a few obstacles and then a nice section of road. Then it got interesting as the racers were led into the woods to finish with a variety of off-road conditions including plenty of slick mud. As the laps wore on, the thin, watery mud started to drain off the trails and gave way to a thick chain choking sludge.

Ryan O'Connor
Ryan O'Connor flew past the competition
The men's expert class had Gunnar Shogren, winner of the first race, battling Ryan O'Connor, winner of the second race. It began with Shogren building a solid lead over O'Connor during the first of six laps. Shogren held the lead into the third lap while O'Connor worked hard to close the gap. By the time they reached the road section O'Connor was just off the rear wheel of Shogren's cyclocross bike. When they reached the gnarly single track sections in the woods, O'Connor was able to negotiate his mountain bike into the lead. His lead held to the finish as he took the win in 1:01:20.

Shogren took second place in 1:02:01 and that was all he needed to wrap up the overall title for the series. Finishing third and fourth behind Shogren and O'Connor were Mike Bowen (1:04:28) and Tom Samples (1:05:22), respectively. These familiar positions were good enough to earn Bowen second and Samples third in the series and their share of the cash prizes.

Jennifer Shogren
Jennifer Shogren spun, pushed and carried to victory
The women's sport/open class had Jennifer Shogren emerging as the winner completing three laps in 39:47. She once again led from beginning to end to complete a clean sweep of all three races and take home top series honors. Finishing in second and third were Jennette Williams (44:48) and Mandi Williams (51:21), respectively. Having finished each race in these same positions it wasn't difficult to award them the appropriate series titles.

The mens' sport class had Eric McCumbers, Ryan Hobbs and Brady Campbell racing together at the front for the first lap. Soon the pace had Campbell dropping back as Hobbs and McCumbers fought back and forth for the final three laps. The final long climb had Hobbs pushing ahead only to have McCumbers sprint around him at the top. McCumbers entered the final downhill single-track with the lead and went on to finished first in 46:11. Hobbs took second in 46:23 and Campbell third in 48:42.

Drew Morse
Drew Morse slides around David Wendell in the woods
Many more great races were waged on the afternoon including the beginner men where Adam Johnson (27:00), Ed Merritt (27:09) and Ryan Hovis (27:14) took the top three spots, respectively, less than 15 seconds apart. Other class winners included Patty Hobbs, women masters, Richard Watts, men masters, Brandon Elkins, men 14-under, and Richie Harris, men first timers.

After the racing there was a very popular bike wash along with the usual hospitalities that have become a part of Sissonville Cyclocross. The day's menu included plenty of spaghetti, energy drinks and hot chocolate. With all this great racing and great fun, you can be sure everyone will be back for more next month. So, if you start getting a little cabin fever this winter, why not come out to the WV State Championship cyclocross/MTB race, to be held on February 27th, and join in the fun... whatever the weather?