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Sunday, October 29, 2000 -- Williamsburg, VA
13th Annual Tidewater Mountain Bike Challenge
Story and photos by Dana Harshberger

[Details] [Coverage]
[Complete Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6]

Tidewater MTB Pic
And the dust was flyin' at the Tidewater MTB Challenge
Thanks to a northerly wind, the day was crisp and fall-like at the 13th Annual Tidewater Challenge. And thanks to having a back-up rain date, of course there was no rain in sight, and the day was dry and dusty. The trails were smooth and fast, with lots of spectator-friendly spots to watch riders try their hand at numerous jumps. The 3.5 mile loop was full of twists and turns, short steep up-hills, followed by equally short and fast drops, and the infamous 'Gravity Cavity'! Due to the shortness of the lap, there were 5 different staging times for the numerous categories, and a whopping 273 racers! This was done in order to not have EVERYONE out there at the same time.

The day began early, at a chilly 8:30 am for the littlest guys and gals to try their skills on a shortened loop. In the 14 and under, Tristan Batchelor took first, with the 10 and under, it was Matthew Keiper.

On to the 9am start, which had the Enduro Class begin on their quest to complete as many laps as possible before the 3pm finish. Winner was Mike Phillips with an impressive 15 laps. Also at this time, the Beginner Men and First-Timers went out. For the Beg Men, in a 3-lap race, Brian Czarnecki captured first with 56:07. Jr Beginner Paul Wren took his class win in 42:20. First Timer Zachary Moon pulled in first after 2 laps with 40:20.

Tidewater MTB Pic
In the drops and gettin' air
At 10:30: For the Jr. Adv. category pulling in first after 4-laps was Terry Tichy Jr, with a time of 1:10:34. The Clydesdale division with 3 -laps was taken by Todd Von Hugh with a 57:58. Also riding 3-laps, in the Vet Beginners it was Mike Sageley riding in first 1:01:18.

High Noon: In Vet Adv. competition Keith Johns crossed the line at 1:23:50. For the Master Advanced Dave Wilson brought it home with 1:11:01. Master Beginner AC Bruce took the line with 1:03:50. The Sport Women had Amy Chiuchiolo crossing the line at 1:29:24. Beginner Woman cutie patootie Gail Miller finished in 49 minutes flat! Pro/Ex Woman Beneline Peters pulled in at 1:42:53. Sadly, there were no entrants for the Halloween class.

The main event had the Pro/Ex Men and the Sport Men for their turn at conquering the loop. Pro riders were lined up according to how they finished last year. And then in a cloud of dust, off they went. Only 25 yards into the race, there was a small pile up at the first hard right hand turn. True to the laws of physics, two objects cannot occupy the same space, or, you can't fit two bikes in one line! Things quickly straightened out, and everyone continued on their journey of 6 laps.

Tidewater MTB Pic
Ouch! I bet that hurts...
Not far into the race, K2/NuSunn rider, Jeremiah Bishop's chain fell off. This cost him some time, and after fixing his chain, he pulled off some risky passing on the mostly singletrack trail to catch up. In tactical mode, Jeremiah knew that Trek's strongman David Duvall was the rider to look for, and put the hammer down in pursuit. Passing David, and coming across Ryan McKinney near the start/finish area, Mr. Bishop pulled into the first place position, and managed to hold the lead through out the remaining 5 laps. Thinking he had about a 30-second gap, he wanted to ride cleanly, with no more mechanicals. Feeling like he had recovered from his earlier sprint, he went for broke and put it into full throttle mode, and crossed the line at 1:30:49. Cruising in behind was McKinney at 1:32:59. Filling in the top five, were 3 of Trek's finest, David Duvall (1:34:31), Paul Buschi (1:35:25) and a smiling Jeremy Wimpy (1:36:07).

And also of note was Hugh Jass rider, Thomas Jenkins, who in fine form raced the course on his fixed gear "Pluto". Now this was an amazing feat, because with a fixed gear, not only are you confined to just one speed, there is no coasting! Imagine not having the luxury of resting on the downhills. Image going over those jumps, pedaling! Pretty amazing! Although some would say, Mr. Jenkins was amazing for racing in a pink dress shirt!

Tidewater MTB Pic
Catch me if you can
The Mens Sport riders began 2 minutes back from the Pros. Gene Rutledge pulled in for first, with (1:28:06) closely followed by Aaron Turney (1:28:43) and then Robert Maye (1:30:08).

It was a fabulous fall day to spend in the woods, with music being piped through the trees. Even some scary Halloween music added to the ambiance. Many thanks should go out to Steve Nevins, and all of his hard working volunteers who manned the time tent, and assisted with course markings and marshalling. Thanks also to landowner Judy Pieper, who has this mountain bike dream land in her backyard, and graciously allows a once-a-year usage. Kudos to corporate sponsors Williamsburg Honda-Dodge, HDK Cycles, Bikes Unlimited, Scat Bikes, Bike West, BikeSmith, Contis Bicycles and Fitness, Trek, BikeBeat, Freewheelin' Bike, Top of the Hill Bicycle, Northend Cyclery, East Coast Bicycles of Ghent, Final Kick Sports, Wave Riding Vehicles, and Copy Works

And a personal thanks from this reporter to Trek rep, Rick Bartels for the use of his wonderful futon!