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Sunday, July 30, 2000 -- Charles Fork Lake - Spencer, WV
All Sport Tour de Lake
Story by Marty Lamp and photos by Dave McKain

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]
[Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9] [Set 10] [Set 11]
[1998 Coverage][1999 Coverage]

Tour de Lake
Ryan O'Connor would not be denied
West Virginia is very fortunate to have an abundance of quality mountain biking events across the state each year, that's no secret. Another widely known fact is that year-in and year-out, the All Sport Tour de Lake is one of the best organized, most popular races on the WVMBA schedule with racers and spectators alike.

Last year's Tour de Lake was about as hot as anyone cared to endure, and this year was no picnic. Although the temps were in the 80's, the humidity was even higher than that, and the previous day's rain made riding the course like snaking through some sordid, lush green sauna.

Tour de Lake
It was a little muddy
Mother Nature couldn't keep the smiles from the muddied faces though, because this is mountain biking at it's best, West Virginia style, and the course that circumnavigates Charles Fork Lake is a gem. Although it was slightly slower than some past years, it was as fun as ever.

Two races were offered, a 15K and a 30K. All Expert classes, as well as Men's Sport, raced the two lap, 30K course. The start is not for the weak-hearted, as everyone climbs up a paved road to the top of the dam, and that was just the beginning. From here it was more climbing on a tacky mud road before making a sharp left through the prologue, which dropped everyone back down to the lake, only to climb right back up the hill they just came down, this time on leg-draining field grass.

Tour de Lake
Greg Moore drinking and riding
From here, it was time for 8 miles of slippery, muddy singletrack, and some heinous push-climbs that might just make a hardened billy goat shed a tear or two. All classes did the same first lap, and the second lap started with even more uphill than the first, but everyone was rewarded with a more rolling second lap.

Even though this was a lap race, the second lap retraced very little of the first lap, and amidst the midday heat, it all seemed like fresh territory.

In the 30K race, Ryan O'Connor(1:44:51) finished with more than a minute lead over old man Gunnar Shogren(1:46:08), and he was working for it. After Benjie Klimas(1:49:35) led everyone up and down the prologue, O'Connor and Shogren edged by Klimas through the first bit of singletrack, while Klimas, Jason Laxton(1:47:44), and Kevin Leyh(1:51:24) kept the front two in sight unitl the first major push climb.

Tour de Lake
Gunnar Shogren chasing hard
From here O'Connor would never relinquish his lead, but Shogren was chasing hard, never allowing the speedster riding for Mongoose to relax, or slow down.

In the Women's Expert class, Mandi Williams(2:19:56) and Sarah Crandall(2:28:20) were with one another the entire first lap, but on the second lap, Williams stepped it up a notch and slowly ebbed away from Crandall, getting the win. Williams and Crandall finished 37th and 45th overall, respectively.

In the Men's Junior Ex race, Chris Puehler(1:53:56) dropped in from his home state of Michigan to take the win, with Eric McCumbers(1:59:12) and Ryan Hobbs(2:03:18) finishing second and third in the class. Puehler finished 8th overall, while McCumbers and Hobbs finished13th and 16th overall, respectively.

Tour de Lake
Sarah Crandall and Mandi Williams
In the Men's Sport race, Joey Riddle(2:01:20) was not to be denied as he kept a steady pace earn the wiin, and finsh a fast 15th overall. Mike Loranty(2:03:18) and Anthony Schwartz(2:06:30) finished second and third in the class, and 17th and 21st overall.

Brocc Kaylor(1:56:12) took the win in the Men's Vet Ex class by more than three minutes, while finishing 9th overall. Allen Moore(1:59:56) and Mike Boyes(2:06:03) grabbed 2nd and 3rd in the class.

Some class winners for the 15K include Laurie Johnston(1:28:44) for the Women's Sport class, Rick Elkins(1:09:34) for the Men Sport Vets, Charlie Brand(1:20:28) for the Men's Junior Sports under 18, and Tyson Price(1:25:21) for the Men's Junior Sports under 14.

Tour de Lake
Stephanie McCumbers riding like a pro
In a show of pure toughness, 8 year-old Stephanie McCumbers(3:00:00) rode through the 15K course and finished with a smile on her face. How hard is that? Imagine your bike weighing in at more than half your body weight, and then imagine yourself riding, carrying, pushing, and pulling it through mud for 10.5 miles!

After the race, there was no end to the cold drinks, and the free 6 inch sub was a real nice treat. The one thing that makes this race such a success is the countless volunteers working the registration desk, the results boards, and patrolling the course. Great awards were handed out within minutes of the last person finishing, and Benjie Klimas won a set of Rolf wheels in the free raffle.

Thanks go out to Mark Bossert for putting on such a quality event, and to Lisa Denbigh Taylor for promptly getting us thorough results.