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Sunday, September 29, 2002 -- New Castle, VA
The Escape XV - VA Pts. #6 (iPO Event Id#: 4807)
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]
Past Race Coverage: [2000] [2001]

The Expert/Pro men's field head for the top of Potts Mountain
If you wanted to get away from it all and head for the mountains, The Escape is exactly the ticket. Bring along your mountain bike, throw in a spectacular early fall day, and bring on the beauty of the Jefferson National Forest. That is what a fun-loving group of cycling enthusiasts did for The Escape XV, the VA Points series championship race.

As the bulk of the field of riders got set to start, along came the XXC leaders, Mike Buchness, Glenn Walton, and Joey Riddle, who would battle to the finish. They received loud cheers from the crowd as they had started 2 hours earlier and now headed off to finish with the 26 mile XC course.

Race Pic
Joey Riddle heads out for 26 more miles
At the race start you're view of the impending climb is hidden by the heavy forest. It is one mile of "serious uphill" and it puts on the hurt early. It was enough to bring junior expert Matt McDonald an unwelcome second helping of his breakfast. The reward at the top is to know that at least the worst is over.

Reaching to the ridge top of Potts Mountain first was Jeremy Getgen, and he would never look back. Getgen would go on to post a winning time of 2:08:40.

The battle for second raged between Jason Laxton and Terry Walls. It was looking good for Walls until he took a quick detour after missing a turn. His little miscue was all Laxton needed to steal second with a time of 2:11:53. Walls would finish less than a minute later at 2:12:42.

Race Pic
Splashing around in Jefferson National Forest
A similar fate would help decide the XXC winner as Riddle seemed to partially create his own course. Buchness had managed to gain a lead while Riddle was running a close second. But his miscue would also cost him as Buchness went on to win at 4:06:08 followed by Walton at 4:07:49. Riddle's best efforts to catch Walton as they did the final loop around Cove Branch Farm came up short, by just 6 seconds.

Also racing the XXC and deserving some recognition was Mandi Riddle. She was the only women doing the 38+ mile race and finished in a time of 4:56:50.

Race Pic
Riding the singletrack
Some other impressive women battle it out in the women's expert field. Nicole Habay was able to get the win at 2:21:30, two minutes and change ahead of Trish Stevenson. Rounding out the top three was Theresa Richardson at 2:50:13.

Many more riders finished some great racing and it was back to the Pines Campground for everyone. Waiting was the usual awards and prizes for the winners, but there was also a well deserved meal of delicious beans and rice, served hot. Top that off with a nice slice of homemade banana bread, and anyone could walk away feeling like a champion.