Share |

Sunday, February 27, 2000 -- Sissonville, WV
WV State Cyclocross Championship Race
Story and photos by Marty Lamp (with photos from Diann Clothier)

[Coverage] [Results]
Pics: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7]

WV State Championship
Ryan O'Connor staying in the saddle on lap 1
With the week before the WV State Cyclocross Championships highlighted by unseasonably warm temperatures, some might have planned on a dry, fast course for this final West Virginia cyclocross race of the season. That wouldn't be the case. Sissonville was dampened by early morning rains on the 27th, and rain continued to fall during the entire race, but this did nothing to dampen anyone's spirits.

The course was changed from the previous three Sissonville cyclocross races held throughout the winter. Riders stayed out of the woods and meandered through a maze-like path of brightly colored ribbons across an open hilltop and through wet, soggy fields. This fact made the race very enjoyable for spectators, as just about every corner of the course could be seen from the hilltop vantage point.

WV State Championship
Jennifer Shogren on her way to another win
The 1.4 mile course started with a 200 yard sprint on pavement before hitting the mud and merciless, sponge-like grassy fields. Numerous sharp turns took racers through a few obstacles encouraging a dismount, but even these were ridden by some. Experts would ride 7 laps, Sport Men and Open Class Women rode 5 laps, Beginners and Masters rode 3 laps, and the kids raced through 2 laps.

One person who truly enjoyed the course was Ryan O'Connor(49:06). "This course was great, and it was also a lot of fun!" said O'Connor afterwards. He took the lead from the first sprint and never looked back. On the first lap, Gunnar Shogren(51:10) and Thomas Samples(51:48) stayed relatively close to O'Connor, but with each lap the gap was methodically lengthened. O'Connor even had time to switch to his mountain bike on his fourth lap, leaving his mud-clogged cyclocross ride behind with barely a second lost.

WV State Championship
Lot's of mud, lot's of hills...
O'Connor would go on to get the overall Championship win, with Shogren finishing second, Samples coming in third, and Mr. Entertainment himself, David Fleming(54:18) finishing fourth.

The Women's Open Class was once again won by Jennifer Shogren(36:08). Smooth transitions and a steady, tight spin put Shogen in the lead, and she managed to keep that lead and hold off the attack of Jenette Williams(37:04), who finished less than a minute behind in second place. Mandy Williams(40:16) finished a strong third, and Laurie Johnston(43:51) finished fourth.

WV State Championship
What if YOUR bike weighed half as much as you?
In the Men's Sport Class, Brady Campbell(37:47) opened a sizeable lead early, and kept it on his way to the win. Campbell had finished near the top in the previous Sissonville races, but this was his first Sport Class win of the series. Eric McCumbers(39:48) crossed the finish line in second place, while Joey Riddle(41:21) finished third.

For the three lap races, David Robbins(29:34) finished first for the Men's Masters. In the Beginner Classes, Michelle Cobb(24:30) took the checkered flag for the ladies, while Ed Merritt(24:55) got the win for the Men.

WV Cyclocross Championship
Steve Thaxton enjoying his race
The 2 lap kids race had Brandon Ellis(22:49) finishing first, David Johnson(24:33) coming in second, and Cai Clothier(27:08) speeding in for third.

This race (and series) would not have been possible without the hard work and efforts of Steve Thaxton. He'll be the first to admit that he had a lot of help along the way, and some super neighbors who don't mind lots of mountain bike tracks across their property. After hitting the bike wash, racers were treated to some fine pasta, sports drinks, and an awards ceremony that was putting some serious cash into the pockets of the speedy. We can only look forward to this series next year.