Share |

Sunday, June 15, 2003 -- Douthat State Park, VA
Middle Mountain Momma - VA Pts. #2 (iPO Event Id#: 5671)
Story and photos by Dana Harshberger with contributions from Chris Scott

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6]
[2000 Coverage] [2001 Coverage] [2002 Coverage]

Race Pic
The Middle Mountain Momma bites back
Second times a charm for the do-over date, with the second race in the VA State Mountain Bike Series running on schedule this past Sunday. Despite a cloudy day and at times drizzly, about 160 hardy racers turned out for the Middle Mountain Momma. In what's been best described as "The Year of the Cloud" many races have been cancelled, postponed, or put on in the mud and muck.

Depending on your personal preference, the addition of mud is either fun and adds to the challenge, or just irritating both for bike, as well as rider. Luckily for those mud covered riders on Sunday, the overabundance of rain made for a sweet stream clean off, and the sun eventually poked through the clouds, just in time for awards... but on to the racing!

First off in the morning was an exceptionally large field of 24 XXC'ers. Lone woman Lindsey Keller did her thing again, even after racing her first NORBA race on Friday (pulling off a 4th place finish, we might add!). Ms. Keller, looking sunny in her SBC yellow racing attire, had some jumping chain issues, but didn't let that stop her from coming in 14th overall. Lindsey must only know 'fast', as even driving home she passed this reporter at quite a nice clip!

Race Pic
You gotta love this course
The XXC event was an epic battle on a day with steady rain. Last years winner Benji Klimas took the lead from the gun but was not in a hurry to destroy the competition by any means. Mike Carpenter who has been dominating the XXC series for 2003 led the group into the 1st long climb behind Klimas. On Carpenters wheel were Tom Miller, Chris Scott, Greg Dunn, and Jeremiah Swanson. Sitting back and heckling them within striking distance was Travis Coldsmith, Tim Richardson, Andy Neal, Mike Hurley and Bill Crank.

Klimas was having trouble with his drive train skipping and was spinning some Lance like cadence which resulted in a sporadic pace. Carpenter set tempo up the long 1st climb as Klimas slipped out of site. Cresting the climb Scott asked Carpenter if he was gonna close the gap on the ridge and Carpenter shrugged saying that he was done. Scott cruised by him to attempt to close the gap. Coldsmith was slowed by traffic a bit as Scott rode out of sight.

Scott heard the sound of breaks as he entered the switchbacks that dropped off the end of the ridge and sighted Klimas down below. By the creek crossing Scott and Klimas were together with Coldsmith a switchback above. Entering the "lollipop loop" the trio was riding together up the tight singletrack. Scott was having trouble keeping pace on the climbs doing the yo-yo thing. Klimas and Coldsmith kept the pressure on Scott up the climb and gapped him out of sight. Scott railed the doubletrack downhill trying to reconnect with the leaders.

Race Pic
Finding speed in the mud
Just as Scott jumped on the fireroad that led to the end of the lollipop he had regained contact with the leaders. Scott then noticed his hardtail doing the bobbing thing in the rear and had to let Klimas and Coldsmith ride off while he changed his flat.

Trevor Graham caught Scott as he finished fixing the flat and joined on to motor up the fireroad to get back up on Middle Mountain. Coldsmith used his power to gap Klimas coming off Middle Mountain, carried his lead over the last big mountain but fumbled on Stoney Run with 2 miles to go. Coldsmith's tank ran empty as Klimas caught him and passed him with no answer from Coldsmith.

Scott was able to shake Graham and claim the final spot on the podium, due mostly to Trevor's heavy legs from his road race the day before. Carpenter, the series leader, had really began to suffer and considered pulling out siting a stomach bug he had all week. It was devastating for Carpenter to not be in the mix when his form had been so right all year.

Hurley did his best to pace Carpenter along for the 1st half and then Richardson took the final chore of getting him over the last mountain and to the finish line. Hurley rode to 5th place behind Graham as Greg Dunn, who was challenging him rode off course on Middle Mountain. Jeff Duncan and Paul Calland rode in proudly as the final two finishers of the Middle Mountain Momma XXC under the 8 hour mark.

Race Pic
Getting a taste of Middle Mountain
The Pro/Ex women had some fun times, too. Winner in this class, Trish Stephenson's highlight of the day was passing some men! She thought that the course was "spectacular, as usual", and also mentioned that "she lives for this race", and the series as a whole. In Trish's opinion, the messiness added to the fun. Just check out her picture and see what we mean! Following Trish to the line was Johanna Kraus the series leader, and Kristin Wilson.

In Men's action on the Pro/Ex level, Jeff Herrick a Harrisonburg newbie riding for Independent Fabrications took an unanswered holeshot. Adam Childers thought he had the gas to follow but it was a short lived attempt.

Harlan Price and Todd Helmick caught and passed Herrick on the 1st big climb riding a swift tempo with Jason Laxton sitting a few seconds back. Price tried to put it to Hemlick on the downhills, wanting revenge for his 2nd place to Hemlick at Friday's NORBA National. Price had no luck getting away as he couldn't keep his bike on the trail. Price slightly tacoed his front wheel on one of his 3 dives off the trail on the 1st downhill.

Dylan Johnson was riding in the shadows of this tight battle until he flatted on the 1st long descent. Price was finally able to ditch Hemlick on the Mountain Side section of the course but was not able to keep Laxton in check. Johnson made a huge push to the finish rippin' the downhills and was able to pull back all but Laxton, Price and Hemlick.

Race Pic
Out of the saddle at the Momma
Laxton, finally keeping the air in his tires pulled to the line first, with Price and Todd Helmick soon to follow. Todd decided early on to go easy on the downhills this year. And when Price took over 2nd place on the last big downhill, the one that claimed part of Todd's ear last year, he let him go. We are happy to report that Todd's ear is fine, and just a friendly reminder that even in the heat of racing, take care not to do too much injury to your bodies.

Also of note was the huge Beginner 2 class, with a whopping 12 riders. Keep it going fellows!

As always, many thanks should go out to all of the folks that make this race and the series possible. Kyle Inman, and his crew who put up and take down all of the race arrows, the course marshals who happily stood in the rain, and the water stop personnel who went above and beyond, helping with lube and cleaning off chains. Also event sponsor Shenandoah Bicycle Company in Harrisonburg, VA, who not only helped out with the prize table, but also manned the soup line with some excellent chicken and sausage gumbo.

We hope to see all of you out for the next race in the series, the Massanutten Hoo Ha!, with Downhill events on Saturday the 9th of August and the Cross country following on Sunday the 10th.