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Sunday, June 2, 2002 -- Huttonsville, WV
Bikestock - WVMBA Pts. #5 (iPO Event Id#: 4788)
Photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Kids Race Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]
[Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9] [Set 10] [Set 11] [Set 12]
[Saturday's Road Race and Dirt Crit]

Race Pic
Up and over another water bar
"Love it or hate it," we bring you this year's first race report from none other than Mike "The Diesel" Boyes. And don't forget to have a look at all the whoopla that was Saturday at Bikestock, including a race report from race winner (all three races, that is), Trek/VW's Jeremiah Bishop.

Love it or hate it, can you have both? WVMBA series racing will provide a whole range of challenges, including testing ones limits, competing with your fellow cyclists, a variety of courses, and a wide range of weather conditions.

Arriving at the Tygart Valley Campground Sunday morning to partly cloudy skies, 70'ish degree temperatures, leaving hot humid conditions about a thousand vertical feet behind, you have to love the mountain weather. I was impressed early at my first visit to this new points series venue, plenty of premium riverside campsites, unlimited parking, and no lines at registration that included a choice of colors of race shirt, sized to fit at that!

Event Pic
Relaxing in the beautiful valley before the race
Out to the course to stretch my legs and check out parts of the course, I got the lowdown on what was the pre-race buzz. Water bars, and lots of them! Joey Riddle mentioned that there are thirty of them, after racing the course I will go along with that, I had by no means the capacity to count them during the race. With three laps, that comes to 90 water bars on the day ... sounds about right to me.

During the course inspection I found myself riding downhill on only my front wheel after just crossing the third water bar. This was, at what I thought, was a cautious speed. I knew that things would become more interesting after the race start. I also found not-so-short steep climbs, and super slick muddy sections. Hmm, people are going to hate that ... so you gotta love it.

Race Start
The madness begins with the running start
Then came the one-o'clock Lemans style mass race start; I think that the Lemans start should be banned but no one asked me (Actually, the race director did inquire post race to my thoughts on the start). Running in a cycling shoe is like running in high heels ... not that I would know anything about that, at least we were trotting along on the soft grass. If I can find my bike when I get back around, this might not be so bad.

During the relatively flat first half mile on the bike I saw a convergence and shuffling of riders, as the classes mixed it up. No reason to get too excited at this point, for most of us there are another two hours of racing. Going (handle) bar to bar with some new faces was actually a nice change of pace from the staggered starts of previous races. The course stretched out most racers after the second steep climb so there was a good chance to pick up some speed on the fast down slope, with a diversity of water bars looming around every bend, speed might not be such a good thing.

Race Pic
Dave Flemming enjoys the ride
One of the bigger challenges of the water bars was that every one had a different characteristic; you have to decide fast on how to hit each one, as not to be launched over to handlebars. I tried about everything to get over them smoothly, different speeds, looking for lines around, planting the front wheel on or over them, or when everything else failed just be ready to pull up!

It was on my second lap on the downhill when I saw a fellow racer being carried out from the track on a backboard. I slowed and gave the crew that was tending to the racer plenty of room, knowing or at least hoping that all that encountered them would do so. As I proceeded on a bit more cautiously I could not help to feel concern as to the state of a fellow racer and a bit selfish for not at least seeing who it was, it could have been some one that I drove up with for all that I knew. I have faith and wish that all turns out well.

Race Winner
And Jeremiah Bishop wins again
The rest of the six mile laps contained a mixture of climbing and descending, mud and dry fields, some woods riding and ... more water bars. Not only did one have to deal with the water bars on the way down, they are there when you are climbing, too. This course contains some of the challenges that we all love to hate. But if we didn't like this sort of thing, if it was just a test of fitness, we would be racing road bikes. Which was the case of a lot of competitors that competed in both the MTB race and the previous day's Cheat Mountain Road Race.

Plenty of tasty pasta along with all that make it a meal was served following the race. As soon as the last racer was in, the awards ceremony proceeded with cash and fine prizes that ended with the organizers call for a bum rush on the table. The hospitality and efficiency of all the staff at Elk Mountain Outfitters, from the smooth registration, swift EMT aid, down to the guy hooping, hollering, and waving that tee shirt in the air at the finish for over two straight hours, I am sure was well appreciated by all racers that attended the Bikestock Mountain Bike Race.