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Sunday, April 29, 2001 -- Hagerstown, MD
Spring AMBS #4 Maryland Open State Championships (iPO Event Id#: 3193)
Photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]

Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]

Sue Haywood
Female champ, Sue Haywood (Trek/WV Toursim), is bringing it to you!
Sue Haywood (, a female pro rider for Trek/WV Tourism who lives in Davis, WV, brings us this report from her weekend of racing that included the Spring AMBS #4 at Greenbrier State Park, just outside of Hagerstown, MD.

Now, what about race results? Well, Dan Comber told iPlayOutside at the race that they'd be available maybe by Wed (5/2). As of this posting (Thur 5/3) we still have not seen any... but we'll keep looking and let you know what we find!

Since their was no mountainbike racing in The Mountain State (okay, there was the Great Greenbrier River Race) this weekend, the usual crew decided to head out for a "double hitter". "Double hitter"s ususally involve a lot of driving. To hit two races in the same weekend involves committment and a reliable car and in that case a good driver. So, Nick Waite borrowed his dad's Subaru station wagon, we then bribed Matt Marcus to be our driver and soigneur, and we hit the highway.

Now the Greenbrier race (Spring AMBS #4) was only down I68 in Hagerstown, Maryland, a little over two hours from Davis. But that was too simple for us. First, we had to go to Richmond, VA on Friday night then to Warsaw, VA for a road race Saturday morning. In case you don't know where Warsaw is it is between the mighty Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers. It's the flatlands.

Great MTB trails at Greenbrier SP
Nick and I had a great road race, both making solo breakaways on some of the small hills about 7 miles from the finish. Later some one in the peleton told me that they were all calling me a mountainbiker and that no way would my attack stick. Two or three minutes later at the finish line I finally convinced them that mountainbikers can beat roadies at their own game.

Anyway this is the Greenbrier race report, but the point is that when you do a double hitter, usually one of the race efforts suffers a bit. More about that later.

Dan Comber is the affable race series director that puts on races all across Maryland and Virginia (his website is Dan walks around the venue with a microphone headset giving the small venue a big race feel.

This race claimed to be the Maryland Open XC Championships and was the fourth in his AMBS Spring Series. It was well attended probably having around 150-200 racers. One of the most interesting classes he has is the enduro class. This is a six hour race. They start earlier in the morning and suffer for six hours while all the other classes race by.

Bobbing and weaving on the singletrack
The course was started with a 1/2 lap that was just under 5 miles. It took the pro men 25 minutes to complete the "half" lap and 35 minutes to complete the full lap. The full lap was 7-1/2 miles. So if you asked Dan Comber whether he thinks the glass is half full or half empty, I bet he'll say its half full.

The course was a great mix of riding. It had a nice smooth hill to start on the Red Trail and then just when the climbing got tiring, it carried the racers down through the Greenbrier River Valley on some rocky terrain. Then a chance for the big ring, until Heartbreak Hill left racers spinning granny for about four minutes. Into the heart of the state park's trails called the Center Trails and then on surely the toughest part of the race, the Shelling Fire Trail to the Rock Oak Trail. This was a gruelling middle ring climb that was strewn with embedded boulders that required high focus, which was tough as the laps wore on. Then down the switch backs to the camp loop. This was the only muddy place on the course because of a spring gushing out. No clean bikes after this race!!

Climb it
Just one of many log crossings
There was a seperate pro men's class that Nick raced in, since this wasn't a NORBA sanctioned race. Nick, Jay Duffy, Chris Newell and Chris Eatough were immediately the lead pack. Nick and Jay set the blistering pace at the front for the half lap and the whole first lap. Newell got dropped and Eatough was warming his legs up since he did the road race yesterday, too. By the start of the third lap, Eatough had put two minutes on the other pros and cruised in for the victory at 2:13. Meanwhile, Nick felt the effects of a double hitter and faded to fifth. Good show, though, and great training!!

The expert women started behind every class except the sport women. I got off to an early lead spending the majority of the race passing sport and sport vet riders and duking it out with the singlespeeders. I got off easier and could collect the win without too much suffering. Chris Eatough keeps telling me I should race in the pro men's field (and really go broke!)

Cold sodas after the race and plenty of water were offered as well as a nice awards ceremony. We had to beeline it home because we had Dozer in the car and pets are prohibited at the state park. Plus we had more car time to complete. Total car mileage for the weekend: 750 miles. Total race mileage: 75 miles.