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Sunday, May 11, 2003 -- Canaan Valley Resort State Park - Canaan Valley, WV
24 Miles of Canaan - WVMBA Pts. #6 (iPO Event Id#: 5321)
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]
[Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9] [Set 10]
Past Coverage: [1998] [1999] [2000] [2001] [2002]

Race Pic
Gettin' all wet in Canaan
Luckily the rain cleared just before race time and the sun occasionally worked its way out from behind the clouds. Regardless, the damage had been done by the previous days' storms as the course for the 2003 24 Miles of Canaan was covered in mud and water. Then again, most everyone, as they wiped the mud off their faces, revealed big smiles.

Canaan is known for brutal courses with technical single track that forces you to hike-a-bike way more than you'd like. That's not the case at the 24-Miles, the course is relatively tame. But with the soaking conditions, it became a race that demanded legs of steel. It was a grind through puddles, wet meadows, and slimy single-track that demanded perseverance.

Up to the task of the tough conditions were Jeremiah Bishop (Trek East Coast) and Nick Waite (WV Mtb Team), making a statement at their first WVMBA event of the season. Bishop put the hammer down early and the challenge from Waite would never materialize.

Race Start
Bring on the racing
Bishop raced like someone would appear on his wheel at any moment. The moment never came as he cruised to a commanding win at 2:05:07.

It wasn't that the relative youngster Waite wasn't up to the challenge, but maybe taking the test drive with new tubeless tires was ill-fated. Waite was plagued throughout the race with some very low air pressure. Non-the-less, the Canaan native slogged through the bogs and held on for a second place finish at 2:12:44.

Rounding out the top three was another stranger to the 2003 WVMBA series in Jay Duffy. Decked out with his German sponsor's sweet new rig, he was all alone taking his Bergwerk machine across the line at 2:17:31.

Behind the top three were the top dogs in the current WVMBA points standings with T.J. Platt (2:20:23) sneaking in ahead of Jonathan Martin (2:21:41) for fourth. As Platt fought throughout the race to stay close to the leaders, he knew it was futile. "They're killing me today," was his quick mid-race summary.

Jeremiah Bishop
Jeremiah Bishop rules the valley
Even the women saw some new faces rising to the top. Pro rider Tiffany Kenny made her first 2003 WVMBA appearance in commanding fashion. Her 2:47:54 was plenty to earn the women's expert victory.

What Kenny managed to do was spoil Mandi Riddle's bid to earn the 20 series points for first. Her 3:00:49 was plenty to stay ahead of arch rival Cassie Smith (3:05:05), but only good enough for 19 second place points. While it does pad her point series lead, it only keeps her up 3-to-2 in the battle for the most 20 point victories after six series events.

Whether or not you won your race, everyone enjoyed a great post-race pasta meal and some nice clean bike and body washing. No matter what damage Mother Nature can try to inflict, Canaan Valley knows how to treat mountain bikers. Once again it was good times for all.