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Sunday, October 28, 2001 -- Williamsburg, VA
14th Annual Tidewater Mountain Bike Challenge (iPO Event Id#: 4151)
Photos by Dana Harshberger

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9]

Air at Tidewater
Yep, this is as fun as it looks!
Governor Gilmore had just issued a ban on open-air fires due to the exceedingly dry conditions in Virginia. The lack of rain was evident in the driest Tidewater course ever. Race director, Steve Nevins, tried to help the conditions, at least on the Motocross section near the start and main spectator area by dumping 300+ gallons of water on the track. The water made the Saturday slalom course nearly perfect but helped only slightly by the time the Pro/Expert race rolled around on Sunday afternoon.

With the addition of new sections and the dry conditions it was thought that the lap times and races would be longer this year, which was the case for all but the top Pro/Expert riders. Chris Eatough, fresh from his defense of the 24 hour Solo World Championship held in Idellawyle, California would be considered the favorite to capture his third Tidewater Championship, but two time and current champ Jeremiah Bishop might say otherwise. Fortunately the only blaze set in the beautiful Williamsburg woods was the pace set by Eatough and Bishop as they had an epic battle for the Tidewater Championship. The pace they set was the fastest ever with the lap times running the same as on last years shorter course. Jeremiah grabbed a huge holeshot off the line but was quickly passed by Eatough going into the first single track section with David Duvall holding a close third.

Race Pic
The girls were out in force
Bishop felt comfortable in the number 2 spot and was content to wait for his chance to attack. The blistering pace set by the two Trek/Volkswagen teammates was too much for Duvall, also on the Trek team, to stay in touch. Duvall who stands well over six-foot tall said he felt he was at a disadvantage on the technical twisty course compared to the slick and quick bike handling of Eatough and Bishop. The battle for the lead raged for 4-1/2 of the 6-lap race with neither rider giving an inch to the other and each trying to spot an opening to make a move on the technical course which never lets you rest or relax your bike handling. The chance Bishop waited for was not to come as he felt he didn't have the legs to make a move on Eatough, in fact it would be Bishop who would bobble giving Eatough the chance to attack in the decisive move of the race. Bishop would make a few more minor mistakes trying to make time back on Eatough but held close to the finish only allowing Chris to open up a mere 35 second gap by race end with Duvall almost 5 minutes back in 3rd. Local rider Bryan Ralston (Litespeed Conte's Richbrau) held the top tidewater local rider crown with a strong 4th place finish 3 minutes behind Duvall.

The Pro/Expert women saw the return of Sue Haywood (Trek/Volkswagen) but this time she was returning as the current NORBA Short Track National Champion! With a time of 1:34:59, Sue easily out distanced 2nd place Jean Troutman by almost 17 minutes in their 5 lap race. Liz Schleeper followed in third at 1:56:27.

Race Pic
And the natives were restless
A slalom event and rider clinic was added to the Saturday schedule. Participants for each were very enthusiastic and many slalom riders were heard to comment on how much fun they had and how the course exceeded their expectations. These fun events added to the weekend and with greater participation should become regular events at Tidewater.

I would like to thank all our gracious sponsors many of which have supported the Tidewater Challenge since its inception. Williamsburg Honda, Williamsburg Dodge, Trek, HDK Cycles, Bikes Unlimited, Scat Bike Shop, Bikesmith, All About Bikes, BikeWest, Conte's, BikeBeat, North End Cyclery, Freewheelin Bikes, Top of the Hill, East Coast Bicycles in Ghent, Final Kick Sports, Wave Riding Vehicles and Body Care Therapeutic Massage. Also "J" Pieper of Body Care who is our very gracious landowner.