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Saturday, August 26, 2000 -- Terra Alta, WV
Battle on Briery Mountain
Story and photos by Dave McKain

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2]

Race Start
Heading into Battle on Briery Mountain
When it comes to quality versus quantity, I'll take quality every time. That was the situation at the first Battle over Briery Mountain MTB race. While the turnout was small for the race, participants were well taken care of and presented with a challenging and well marked course with both plentiful water and emergency personel on hand.

The short course wound its way through the hills between Kingwood and Terra Alta over grassy trails, gravel roads and down extremely steep trails covered with loose rock. The race started with the (despised by some) le mans style start. Eventual race winner Frankie Ross decided to save his energy during the quarter mile run to the bikes for pedalling later. After some initial sorting out during the first lap, the racers settled into their rythms with little strategy other than to keep on going through the afternoon heat and humidity. Ross' only challenge came from Jr. Expert rider Eric Durst who followed less than two minutes behind after the first lap. Durst continued the chase throughout the race but was unable to get Ross in his sights. While Durst may have been looking ahead, he may have been more cautions and looked behind as Cassie Smith kept up her chase. As the race went on, Ross continued to build on his lead while Cassie was unable to catch the youngster Durst.

Cassie Smith
Cassie Smith shows off some bike handling skills
Further back in the pack, Brad Phillips valiantly pushed throuout the race to catch his son Chris Phillips. With one lap to go, the elder Phillips was within 2 minutes of catching the younger for what could be some real bragging rights but, after almost an hour and a half of racing, Brad was unable to summon the energy to close the gap.

In other action, Scott Frame took fourth overall and first in the Sport Vet class followed closely by Masters class winner Frank Congelio. Bill Poling, a first timer, was unable to complete his fourth lap but was happy with finishing three in 1:46:21, better than he had expected after his practice laps on Friday.

In addition to trophies, prizes and t-shirts, the racers were treated to music and refreshing beverages after the race. Kudos to Dan Lenox for putting on a fine event and to the Monongahela Area Rescue Group for their presence.