Share |

Saturday, October 28, 2000 -- Morgantown, WV
WV Cyclocross Series Race #1
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]

A little follow the leader at Morgantown's Hart Field
It was a wild morning on the grounds of Hart Field, Morgantown's airport, where the festivities for the annual Balloon Festival where in full swing. Granted that the cold and blustery morning weather wasn't ideal for ballooning, but it sure made for some exciting cyclocross racing.

This first of five races in the 2001 WV Cyclocross Series was run on a wide open course that was as great for the spectators as it was challenging for the competitors. With a great crowd on hand, the roughly one-mile circuit consisted of several sets of barriers, plenty of sharp turns, a steep embankment that riders were sent both up and down multiple times, along with a long stretch on a paved airstrip.

As the racing got underway, starting with the "B/C" class racers, the dark and ominous skies brought chilly temperatures and the constant threat of rain. Luckily the rain never came, but the blustery morning temperatures seemed to only get colder as the racing went on.

Jennifer Shogren
Jennifer Shogren on her way to winning some Festina hardware
With a whole bunch of racers new to the cyclocross format, the decision to race in the B (intermediate) or C (beginner) class seemed to be one that left a mix of riders in both classes. After about 45 minutes, or seven laps, of racing it was Adam DeGardeyn who survived as the fastest. However, his reward was only a first place in the beginner class.

Also doing seven laps was the sport class winner, Mike Loaranty, and the overall women's champion, Jennifer Shogren, who was awarded a fine Festina watch for her efforts. Other class winners included Thomas Krpicak in the junior class and Tim Nelms in the master's class, both completing six circuits.

Shortly after the finish of these races it was time for the "A" race. Battling for expert and veteran titles, these folks would be put to the test for as many laps as they could complete in an hour.

Waite & Acciavatti
Nick Waite runs, but he can't hide from Rob Acciavatti
Once the racing began a group of four riders, WVU's Rob Acciavatti, Trek's Nick Waite, Fort's Gunnar Shogren & and Cannondale's Benjie Klimas placed themselves ahead of the field. After several laps of racing, Klimas, riding a mountain bike, began to drop back from the hard-charging trio at the front. For the next half-dozen laps Acciavatti, Waite and Shogren traded places at the front.

With just several laps left to race, Shogren's continued problems keeping his chain on finally took its toll. It was now a two man race at the front with the young Waite, racing a mountain bike in his first cyclocross race, setting a pace that the road and cyclocross veteran Acciavatti seemed able to match pedal for pedal.

When the bell rang to announce the final lap, it appeared to signal to Acciavatti that it was time to attack. Waite's strong riding couldn't match the veteran's final surge and it was quickly obvious that the apprentice was going to get one more lesson. Acciavatti took the win completing 12 laps followed by Waite, Shogren and Klimas, respectively, and was also awarded a nice Festina watch for his work. However, it appears that Waite is well on his way to an early graduation and he's certain to continue testing the best.

Gutta's Infinity Jewelers made sure everyone raced for the best time
In the veteran class racing, Bob Vernon took the early lead and never let his pursuers get too close. Putting up the best challenge was Lew McGrath who's slow start allowed Vernon an advantage too big to close. It also may have been a closer race had McGrath not spent a lot of energy entertaining the crowds with a great display of big-air jumps and general shenanigans. Hey, what's the point of racing if you're not having fun?

All the fun wouldn't have been possible had it not been for the hard work of race director's Dave McKain and Gunnar Shogren. And they couldn't have done it without the great support from Whitetail Cycle & Fitness and WVU Cycling. Finally, last but far from least, a huge thanks goes out to Gutta's Infinity Jewelers for providing the fine Festina hardware awarded to the top male and female finishers.