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Sunday, May 29, 2005 -- South Charleston, WV
Race the Trace - WVMBA Spring#7 (iPO Event Id#: 6750)
Story and photos by George Gannon

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7]
Past Event Coverage: [2002] [2003] [2004]

Race Start
Getting it all started at the Trace
The WVMBA Sprint Series rolled on last Sunday at Little Creek Park's historic Trace Fork Canyon in South Charleston, West Virginia. The course has been changed since the original and now avoids all the water crossings. However, on a warm late spring day some nice cool water would most likely be appreciated.

But it would have taken more than water to cool off Pittsburgh's T.J. Platt. It would take an iceberg. There might not be anybody on the WVMBA circuit as hot as Platt, who has earned multiple first place finishes this season.

Sunday's race was no different. Platt raced the Trace in 1:54:40.

Race Pic
Racing through the urban wilderness
The Trace Fork Canyon is a hilly swath of land sandwiched between residential South Charleston and the industrial sweep that lines U.S. 119. It's odd to sit in the woods, listen to the birds chirp and the creek roll by, and know that Wal-Mart is about two miles south.

Luckily, none of the 100 or so riders made a wrong turn into the discount aisle, but they had plenty to handle on a hilly course that snakes around Little Creek Park. The five-mile, mostly-single track course weaves a loop around the park and has a few rough uphills. A night of rain left the trail stocked with a layer of mud.

Race Pic
Sweating it out in the Capital City
Short of a superstore-sixed mud bog, there wasn't much that could stop Platt or any of the race leaders. Over the first lap, Platt was running in the three position behind Gerry Pflug and Eric Kriberney, but, after some twists and turning and one very long uphill stretch, Platt managed to pull away near the end of the third and final loop.

"I road pretty cautious today, it was a slick one," he said.

For the ladies, Cassie Smith crossed the finish line in 2:29:19, and was followed by Mandi Riddle (2:43:47).

The day may have started a little cold, but the sunshine broke through and the weather warmed. But it didn't get as hot at T.J. Platt.