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Sunday, August 19, 2001 -- Beech Fork State Park - Huntington, WV
Beech Fork Mountain Bike Race (iPO Event Id#: 2762)
Story and photos by Ariana Kincaid

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]
[Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3] [Pic Set 4]
[2000 Coverage] [1999 Coverage] [1998 Coverage]

The Diesel Report from Beech Fork is also provided below.

Race Pic
Nice Form!
It's been said about West Virginia that if you don't like the weather, just stick around a few minutes, it's bound to change. That was definitely the case for the Fourteenth Annual Beech Fork Mountain Bike Race, sponsored by the Huntington Bicycle Center. From the staggered start until the last bikers staggered in, the weather went from sunny, hot & humid, to thunderstorms, to sprinkles, to wind, back to sunny and cool.

The greatest factor in this race may not have been the weather, but equipment failure. Bent rims, broken derailleurs, and worn out brakes are just a few of the mechanical difficulties suffered by several of the sixty gluttons-for-punishment who signed up to race. There were three separate courses for the cyclists. The Expert cyclists and single speed bike riders endured three laps around the course while the Sport class made two laps and the Beginners completed just one.

First-timer Joe Laber completed the beginner course in 50:05 while Wilmer Asbury and Bruce Warren followed 1:02:03 and 1:03:30 respectively. At the other end of the spectrum, three expert riders competed but only two completed the race. Steve Marshall came in at 1:45:11 with Drew Morse a few minutes at 1:48:16. Plagued by mechanical problems, Mike Bowen did not finish.

The 40 and Over category dominated the Sport class, with Paul Rutledge (1:00:34) and Bill Posey (1:01:12) not only finishing 1-and-2 in their category, but in the class, as well. Michele Cobb, in the Women's Sport class, finished at 1:39:52; she and Mandi Riddle, who rode a Single Speed (and followed the Expert course) and finished at 2:06:13, were the only females in the race. Way to go, women!

The competitors were treated to a wonderful spaghetti dinner catered by Rocco's Ristorante located in Ceredo, WV. Thanks also to the fine staff at Beech Fork State Park, Dave and Brenda Burdick of the Huntington Bicycle Center (which donated all the fine prizes, from shoes to bike accessories), race organizer Michael Boyes, and Abby Boyes, Darlene Osborne, and Nancy Mills for keeping the registration and race going smoothly and getting the unofficial results out quickly.

The Diesel Report from the Beech Fork MTB Race

Mandi Riddle stylin' on the single speed
After a decade of racing the Beech Fork MTB Race, this was the first year that I was able to observe this race as a spectator. The hardpan trails at the State Park were in perfect condition for a fast contest. A break from the heat wave with a steady breeze provided the ideal situation for the nearly sixty racers. The race started at the picnic area and led through a tunnel to the campground, where the racers were funneled into the tight single track of the Lost Trail. Following the lake, the trail turns into the Mary Davis Trail and then goes through Big Ugly Gulch. Then it's away from the lake and the course leads straight through the dry creek bed for 200 yards, up to the "head of the holler" where they followed the ridge, and finally back to the Lost Trail to complete one lap.

In the three lap race, the fast pace took its toll in the form of broken chain for front runner Mike Bowen, and double flats for Go-Mart rider Drew Morse. This opened the door for Steve Marshall to push to victory in the expert class. Overall winner, Joey Riddle was the happy boy of the day with the fastest time in the three lap race, by riding a clean and steady race he beat all his geared opponents - on a single-speed, ridged bike!

After starting in the next to last group, and having to move around nearly everyone, the 40 year old class was the fastest group in the two lap contest, with Paul Rutledge coming in front of Bill Posey by less than a minute. Looks like next year the older guys deserve to move up at the staggered start. Clydesdale, Jay Whitlatch finished ahead of Ed Painter by one second, in the closest battle of the day, for third and fourth overall, respectively, in the sport class.

First year racer Michelle Cobb takes home first place honors with a time of 1:39:52, in the female sport division.

Following the race, great food was catered by local Rocco's Restaurant, and prize table provide by Huntington Bicycle Center. As always support from the State Park Staff was exceptional.

Before the race, trail maintenance was provided by some unknown source that beat us onto the track, to clear some downed trees. There is no doubt in my mind that these were mountain bikers providing this service, local mountain bikers have a history of maintaining their trails and providing service to Park, even Big Ugly Gulch was looking pretty good. A big thanks to all that raced and volunteered their time and energy to make this a great event for all.