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Sunday, May 23, 2004 -- Charles Fork Lake - Spencer, WV
Tour de Lake - WVMBA Pts. #5 (iPO Event Id#: 6205)
Photos by Jason Black with story by Julie Black

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7]
Past Coverage: [1998] [1999] [2000] [2001] [2002] [2003]

Tour de Lake 2004
The course? Dry and Fast
Noah would have felt right at home in his Ark floating on Charles Fork Lake during the 2003 Tour, but this year the trails were dry and the only drops that drenched the bikers came from their own pores. Proudly in its eleventh year now, the Aquafina Tour de Lake Mountain Bike Race conjures up thoughts of nostalgia. With it's dusty access roads, winding trails, and small cabin at the foot of start's climb. As soon as you pull into the registration area you're greeted by friendly faces who are happy to show you the way to the lake.

The race began at the foot of a paved hill road which started with a short, but steep climb. It then flattened out to a gravel lot which lead racers to a long, steep climb. The trail then took bikers through the woods, around the lake, and back down again to the flat top of the dam. This well marked course was the victim of a terrible ice storm in 2002 which left the trails of Charles Fork Lake blocked with trees almost every 20 feet. Dedicated trail workers, race organizers, and James Garrett with his faithful crew cleared the trails so riders could enjoy the trek tree-free.

2004 Tour
The start of the race
Pro/Expert Tour of the Lake
The race for first in the Men's Pro/Expert category was all about one rider this year. T.J. Platt (1.50.24), of Team Dirty Harrys / Team OST2 dominated from start to finish, claiming first overall and challenging Bryan Fawley for his 2nd place overall WVMBA Points ranking. In the Women's Pro/Expert Race, Cassie Smith (2.31.42) edged out her competitors for first place in the Tour, and continues to hold 4th overall in the WVMBA Points Series.

Andrew Fetty of Team Bon Jovi/WV was all by himself in his category, Men's Expert Jr. Fetty completed with a time of 2.08.22 and continues to dominate first place in the Expert Jr. race for overall points. Travis Saeler pulled off an impressive finishing time of 2.00.14 in the Single Speed Cat. to claim the top spot, presently holding steady at 3rd overall in the series. Expert Vet Men class top finisher was Gerry Pflug (1.57.13), and the Expert Men's Master top rider was Scott Root (2.02.17).

2004 Tour
Cruising the downhill section
The Top Sports
Lori Ware of Team Fat Tire Cycle/Bontrager continues to dominate her top WVMBA Women's Sport spot. Ware finished 1st in her class with a time of 3.31.52. Men's Sport (26-34, a large class) top biker was Mike Haid (2.17.07), Sport (19-25) was swept by Tim Andrews (2.18.47), and Sport Vet top spot was claimed by Doug Wayne (2.36.13). The first Sport Master of the day was James Heisdell (2.38.35).

Riding high in the saddle from the get go was Derick Wolfe, who took the lead in the Men's Jr. 14 and Under class and never looked back. Wolfe crossed the line in 1.20.31.

2004 Tour
Waiting for the finishers
Clydedales, High Schoolers, and First-Timers
Top Clydesdale rider for the day was John Carothers (2.52.51), who is in the running for the top three overall point spots in that category. John Lowe (2.25.16) proved to the fastest High School racer.

Women's Beginner rider Michelle Johnson (2.07.56), claimed her first Tour win as did Men's Beginner John Poff (1.40.40). First-Timer Jesse Steven beat out a 5-deep class with a time of 1.28.18.

After the Heat
The summer-like heat subsided to some spring winds and volunteers handed out many cool drinks to the weary racers. Many prizes were awarded and fun was had by all.

For the Record... Thank yous are in order for the many volunteers and trail workers who made this event a success. Thanks to Anthony for making my 20-month old son a "dollar bird" which will go towards his first bike fund.