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Sunday, October 21, 2001 -- Oak Hill, WV
Oktoberfest Revenge at Rocklick (iPO Event Id#: 2647)
Story and photos by George Gannon

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

2001 NORBA State Champions
When Sue Haywood, mounts her bike and hits the trail during a competition, it is usually a foregone conclusion that every other female rider will be battling it out for second place. The story was no different for the National Off-Road Bicycle Association West Virginia Cross-Country State Championship. This time, however, no other women riders even bothered to show up at the ACE Adventure Center in Minden on Sunday, October 21, 2001. Considering that the race was held on a beautiful day with unusually warm temperatures, it stands to reason that nobody else was in the mood to be number two.

But, just because Haywood was alone in her division, that doesn't mean she was just going to pull that NORBA jersey over her head without a putting in a good effort. She might not have had to worry about female competition, but she would have to take into consideration 36 (that's right, 36) miles of some of the most grueling terrain on the East Coast.

The ACE trails are an interconnected system of single-track, wide road, uphill, downhill, rocky, grassy, muddy, and just about everything in between. Racers even ride along the crest of the New River Gorge.

The Furious Lemans Start
After a furious Le-mans start, the racers were off - and some didn't see the finish line until just a shade under five hours later.

Haywood decided she would tag along with the big boys, riding just behind eventual men's winner, Benji Klimas. After riding smooth well into the first lap, Haywood took a spill heading into the Arbuckle Creek trail. A gash or two later, she was back on her bike.

Although she had to overcome a swollen knee and a cut on her arm because of her wreck, Haywood, crossed the finish line in 3:51:06. Fairly satisfied with her time, Heywood called the course "rippen fast." "I'm psyched." she said. "I wanted that yellow Fig-Newton Jersey."

Klimas also had an impressive run, with a finishing time of 3:41:13. He rode so hard that he busted a spoke on his bike. Keeping his trademark cool after the race, Klimas played off his success, saying it was a "fun ride in the woods."

Also winning in the Expert divisions were Chris Phillips (junior) with a time of 4:25:13 and John Majors (master 40+) with a time of 4:02:14.

Haywood, summed the race up perfectly when she said "you gotta show up to win." And that is exactly what herself and every other competitor who entered the race on Sunday did.