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Sunday, May 4, 2003 -- Tomlinson Run State Park, WV
Tour de Tomlinson - WVMBA Pts. #5 (iPO Event Id#: 5358)
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]
[1998 Coverage] [1999 Coverage] [2000 Coverage] [2001 Coverage]

Race Pic
A fun ride at Tomlinson
Tomlinson Run State Park, at the top of the northern West Virginia panhandle, is not home to the gnarly technical trails like those of Canaan Valley or Cooper's Rock. Instead, it is just a rip-roaring spin through winding singletrack that keeps racers at a constant full-throttle. The two most common adjectives that the competitors used to describe the course were fast and fun!

With the experts sent out to do three laps of the roughly 8-mile course, the first lap saw several leaders. Early pace setters included Benji Klimas (Specialized) and Joey Riddle (Gary Fisher Mid Atlantic), but the fast pace wouldn't keep them there for long. It also didn't help Riddle, when leading the way around Tomlinson Lake, he was accosted by a real mother of a goose. The pesky bird sent him off course and out of the lead for good.

By the end of the first lap T.J. Platt (Dirty Harry's) had attacked off the front and continued to put ground on Klimas and company through the second lap. Moving up through the chase group was Jonathan Martin (Specialized) as Klimas began to lose ground.

Race Start
It's a fast start that never slows down
As they circled through the start/finish to begin the final lap, Platt had built almost a minute lead at 1:11:21. He was followed by Martin (+0:55), Jeremy Rowand (+1:23), Brad Kriley (+2:00), Klimas (+2:27), Riddle (+2:41) and Justin Becker (+2:52), respectively. This chase group of six were spread out by just a minute and 46 seconds.

The final lap did little to upset Platt (1:47:16), Martin (+1:26) and Rowand (+2:59) as they held their positions to finish one-two-three, respectively. But the racing wasn't finish behind them.

Becker (+3:10) found his rhythm on lap three to move from seventh to fourth and finish just eleven seconds behind Rowand. Kriley (+3:42) stayed strong to finish in fifth, followed by Riddle (+3:58) and Klimas (+5:03).

Race Pic
Speeding past the scenic beauty
The racing wasn't nearly as exciting among the women as veteran racer Mandi Riddle (2:19:57) was much too strong for Abby Johnson (2:43:01) who is in her rookie year as an expert rider.

Even if you weren't out to tear up Tomlinson, it was fun for riders of all abilities. Whether your goal was to win your class or just have fun and help support the park, it was a perfect day for a ride.

Getting one of the biggest cheers at the finish was a father/son battle between Cale DeVall and his dad Marc DeVall. Sure Cale was happy to beat out his rival J.J. Ford (1:41:16) by a mere 5 seconds in the two-lap, 14 and Under Junior class. But he also closed an almost one minute gap after the first lap to record his first ever victory over dad, who finished at 1:41:24 to his 1:41:11.

Race Pic
Even the Masters Women are all smiles
The fun was all for a good cause as all the race proceeds benefit Tomlinson Run State Park and the Weirton United Way. Helping out along with all the participants are the generous race sponsors: Excel Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation; Weirton Geriatric Center; NC Sanitation; Summit Bike Shop; Hancock County Savings Bank; Machine Power Wash (MPW); UNI First Corporation; H2O Pros; West Virginia, Wild Wonderful; Weir Wolfe Gang; Hayes Brakes; Park Tools; Pedros; Bell/Giro; Cannondale; Kore; and Salsa.

A final shout-out goes to race director Dave Lawson and all of the many people who volunteered their time to help. Especially the Hancock County Sheriff Reserves, New Manchester Volunteer Fire Department, and Boy Scout Troop #137.