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Sunday, May 25, 2003 -- South Charleston, WV
Race the Trace-WVMBA Pts. #8 (iPO Event Id#: 5323)
Story and photos by Ariana Kincaid

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7]
[2002 Coverage]

Race Pic
Feeling the pain
The thing about a mountain bike race - like "Race the Trace" in Trace Fork Canyon at Little Creek Park in South Charleston - is that pictures don't do it justice. Words almost aren't enough.

You can see the picture of the guy after he lost his brakes and took a spill over a boulder, you can imagine how fast they are going on that downhill. But until you are there and can hear the grunts and wails of frustration, fear, and pain, or smell the pine and honeysuckle of the forest intermingled with the sweat of the guy who just screamed past, or willingly jump into a patch of what looks like poison ivy to keep from being creamed by a rider who zipped up behind you faster than you can hear them and react, you just haven't experienced it.

And of course, my efforts at capturing the experience for posterity (which involved some hiking, climbing small boulders, and standing in a creek bed) in no way come close to the efforts of the guys and gals riding the bikes - the ability to spill blood and sweat while headed down what looks like a better than 45 degree angle, AND remain composed - that's really something!

Race Pic
Taking on Trace Fork
The weather was a big assist... the temps were much cooler than last year's inaugural race. The rain promised over the holiday weekend failed to materialize (at least for Sunday), but there was plenty enough mud and soft dirt left over from the rains of the past few weeks to make things interesting.

The water crossings, too, left some riders (and the riders behind them ...) caked with mud after slipping through some slick uphills. Just as last year, many friends and family members hiked the same trails the competitors were riding in order to find the best vantage points for the action, as well as the best places to hand off refreshment and encouragement.

Taking control of the course early on was Nick Waite of the WV Mountain Bike Racing Team, last year's second-place finisher. He pulled into the chute over eight minutes faster than Dirty Harry's TJ Platt, the second overall finsher. Nick completed five arduous 4.6 mile laps in 2:01:03, with TJ at 2:09:36. Another eight minutes found Joey Riddle (Gary Fisher Mid Atlantic) third in the Men's Expert, at 2:16:50.

Race Pic
Looking for the good lines
For the women of the Pro/Expert Class, Cassie Smith finished first, with a time of 2:52:24. The WVMBT's own Mandi Riddle finished second with a time of 2:58:05. And third finisher for the women was Lindsey Keller, posting a time of 3:06:54.

Junior Expert Bryan Fawley defended last year's effort, completing his five laps in 2:14:58 and actually finishing third overall. Lucas Chandler pulled in with a time of 2:29:16 for second place, and Chris Phillips came in just over a minute later for third place, with a time of 2:30:38.

In the Public Safety Division, John Segard, a policeman from Grand Rapids, Michigan, in town for the International Policemen's Bicycle Association Conference, finished with a time of 2:16:32. Thanks for sticking around the extra day to Race the Trace!

Race Pic
Thanks for all the fun
Special thanks to Patrick and Tracy McDonald and his wonderful neighbors and volunteers for putting on a fine, well-organized race! Thanks also to Smith Company Motor Cars, Volvo, PROforma, BankOne, Charleston Marine, WV Paving, Joey's, South Hills Ski & Bike, Party King, Charleston Bicycle Center, and the South Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau. These donors kept racers and spectators well-hydrated, sheltered, and safe, and made it possible to give awards in the categories five deep. And very special thanks also to Stephen White for finding my sunglasses out on the trail and taking my word for it that they were mine!