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Sunday, May 2, 2004 -- Flat Top, WV
Free Wheeling MTB Race - WVMBA Pts. #4 (iPO Event Id#: 6016)
Photos by Don Parks with story by Julie Black

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]

Past Coverage: [1998] [1999] [2000] [2001] [2002] [2002] [2003]

Free Wheeling 2004
Popping wheelies in Flat Top
The race for WVMBA points continued with plenty of mud, rain, and pure pain. The Free Wheeling course was slick thanks to a pre-race downpour which hung around for the duration, but beneath the muck a flash of pearly whites could be seen. Most riders will tell you that this just comes with the territory, and the joy of testing yourself against a mountain at her worst is only half the fun.

Racers rode to the top of this 3,600 Foot beast just as the rain began to fall. Off and on for 2 hours the drops fell. Sometimes heavy, but most times at a constant drip. It proved for some unseasonably cold riding. As the numbness set in, the bikers raced on.

Free Wheeling 2004
Hey, I like the mud!
The Experts Stick it Out for Three Long Laps
What was the most competitive class of the day? Two words, Men's Expert. Taking first at Pipestem, third at Mountwood, and first place at Big Bear, Brian Fawley of Team WV/BonJovi steadily holds the top spot in the 2004 WVMBA Points Race Series with 58 total points. Add another first place finish to that list because Fawley grabbed the top spot again at Free Wheeling with a time of 2:05:48.

Mandi Riddle and Abby Johnson are in a close battle for first in the race for points in the Women's Expert category. Right now, Johnson holds the top spot, but Mandi Riddle's first place finish (time of 3:02:04) at Flat Top this past weekend could put her over the top.

T.J. Platt (2:09:11) finished 2nd for the men, while Johnathan Martin (2:12:26), grabbed third. Abby Johnson (3:17:22), kept her finish in the top three claiming second, and Betsy Schauer (3:32:02), finished a respectable third.

Free Wheeling 2004
Heading downhill fast
The Expert Vet and Masters classes were in it for three laps as well. Greg Pflug (2:23:05), proved that he could hang for first in the Vet. Steve Thaxton (2:25:08) slid in for second, while Gunnar Shogren kept him in his sights and held a strong third (2:27:59).

The Masters class, 45 and older, cranked out some great times showing that you're never too "young" to get outside and get dirty. First place Master of the course was Steve Hetherington (2:34:48), with WVMBA Master's Points Race champ, Jonathan Philips, finishing second in 2:57:04. Alan Doss (3:03:18) crossed the line in third. Expert Junior racer, Andrew Fetty, claimed first easily with a 2:43:40. The Single Speed top dog was Travis Saeler (2:18:02).

Free Wheeling 2004
Runner/Rider Heather Bury
Two Muddy Laps
"The course was muddy as hell, and I had to push my bike a good majority of the way." said first place Sport Woman Rider, Heather Bury (2:19:45). Lisa Stover (2:48:13), beat out Amy Dunkin (3:01:44) for second. But Dunkin is currently in second place in the WVMBA Sport Women points race.

The Sport Men's classes are divided by age, but over all as a whole, it's the largest class of it's kind. With riders of all ages racing the course in two laps. In the Sport Men category (ages 19-25), Tim Andrew (1:52:29) dominated first which will help him in the overall standings (he's tied for third). Michael Haid (1:51:08) kept an 8 minute gap in between himself and Nate Arnold to claim the top spot in the Sport Men 26-34 cat.

Free Wheeling 2004
Happy to see the finish
Fast Sport Vet Man, Scott Frame (1:57:20) ups his overall standings with a first place win (presently third on the list.) Sport Master, Gene Wells, challenges Charles Patterson for first in the standings with his top finish of 2:05:15.

After the race is was time for salad, pasta, and getting the feeling back into the extremities Thanks to all who came out and braved the cold, damp conditions. Thanks to Dennis Kinsella who always provides excellent food, prizes, and atmosphere at Winterplace Resort's Mountain House. Check them out this summer for great deals on the deck!

the WVMBA Points Series continues on May 23rd with the Tour de Lake.