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Sunday, September 10, 2000 -- Coopers Rock State Forest - Morgantown, WV
Henry Clay 30K
Story by Marty Lamp, photos by Lew McGrath

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]
[Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9] [Set 10] [Set 11]
[ 1998 Coverage][1999 Coverage]

Henry Clay 30+K
Getting ready to crank
Cooper's Rock State Forest hides just outside of the University City of Morgantown, West Virginia. It's lush mountains and beautiful scenery have provided a sense of escape for generations of students, tourists, and oh yes, mountain bikers.

The orignal Henry Clay 30+K races were the product of local riding legend Tommy Harris, who among many other things was also one of the founding members of WVMBA. One thousand pages could not hold the exploits of Harris on two wheels, but trust me when I say the man was, and still is, very tough. He was stretching the limits of mountain biking back in the day when bio-pace chainrings and chainstay mounted U-brakes were the latest rage, and suspension on a mountain bike was nothing more than how much pressure you put in your tires. Whether he was the first to do it, who knows, but I do know that he pedaled up the famed powerline "money climb" (we came down it this year) more than once.

Rob and Josh
Double the trouble
The 2nd Lucky 13th Annual Henry Clay 30+K basically is the same race that's been putting a hurtin' on mountain bikers since Tommy Harris first said "Go!" at the furnace parking lot back in 1988, and that has to be a good thing. Make no excuses, "Coops" is a challenging, technical place to ride, and at times it can be rather discouraging, but that's mountain biking in the mountain state.

This year 150 racers lined up for the start just above the furnace parking lot, and at roughly 11:30am it was time for the fun to begin. Racers were faced with 2 miles of road climbing before turning left onto a tricky little bridge on their way through the day use parking lot and onto Scott's Run Trail. Rocks, roots, and a few more rocks kept everyone on their toes, and put a few riders on their ear before it was all said and done.

Climbing up to McCollam Campground from Scott's Run was a pure test of will power and technical riding ability, but reprieve and a water station were waiting at the top as everone crossed the paved road and got a small rest on a rolling grassy trail before making a sharp left and cranking up another steep climb. Then it was time for some great winding, rocky downhill that led to the Henry Clay Furnace. All short loop racers headed for their finish line at this point, the furnace parking lot.

Henry Clay 30+K
Danny Wilson relax's after his win
Long course racers were handed another long, grinding uphill that went back towards the McCollam Campground and retraced Scott's Run, but in the opposite direction. After Scott's had it's way with the riders again, it was back through the day use parking lot and onto the intermediate loop downhill, which went back down to the furnace, leaving only one last rocky climb to the finish. The long course was somewhere between 18-20 miles, with the shorter one coming in around 10-12 miles.

One racer that liked this course was Pro/Ex rider Jeremiah Bishop(1:29:08). After finishing in first place, Bishop sat on his bike smiling, taking it all in. "The mountain biking in West Virginia is great, I love riding and racing here", said Bishop. But it wasn't all clear sailing for the fleet K2/Sun speedster. A first lap flat after Scott's Run put Bishop behind a handfull of fast riders, with his K2/Sun teammate Eric Keim(1:29:14) taking the lead.

"That was the quickest flat tire fix I have ever had!", said Bishop, "The whole thing took something like 2 minutes 20 seconds, and I still didn't get back to the front until the final downhill." But Bishop did get back to the front, and when he did, it was just he and Keim.

Henry Clay 30+K
Kevin Leyh moving on
"I owe Eric for this win" said Bishop with grateful humility. "Eric's not really interested in WVMBA points, so he didn't fight me for the lead, and he surely could have." Keim would easily finish in second place, with Jay Duffy(1:32:00) coming in third, and Kevin Leyh(1:37:28) finishing fourth.

In the Men's Vet Ex class, Bob Vernon(1:42:33) proved he's still a force to be reckoned with as he took the win for his class, and crossed the line in 9th place overall! Allen Moore(1:46:25) and Brocc Kaylor(1:53:19) finished second and third for the class, and 12th and 23rd overall respectively.

The fastest female rider on the course this day was Cassi Smith(2:00:17). Smith relied on her technical prowess to finish 45th overall, and some 14 minutes ahead of her closest class competitor, Mandi Williams(2:14:54).

Henry Clay 30+K
Cassi Smith after Scott's Run
Other class winners include John Munhall(1:43:10) for the Men Sports, and Anthony Schwartz(1:49:55) for the Men Junior Experts. Beth Baker(2:10:02) got the win for the Women Sports, and Scott Root(1:56:20) led the way for the Men Masters, while finishing 29th overall.

Jeff DeVincent(1:50:59) continued to lead the way for the Men Vet Sports, while Dannie Hillery(2:04:04) continued his streak of wins in the Clydesdale class. Matt McDonald(2:03:39) won the Men Jr Sport class.

On the short course, it was Danny Wilson(1:04:43) earning the overall win, and taking first place in the Junior 14-under division. Brandon Farley(1:10:40) was the first Men's Beginner to finish, and Women's Beginner Sarah Loucks(1:22:20) got the checkered flag for her class, while Idress Gooden(1:40:33) led the way for the Women Masters.

Thanks go out to Colin Dierman and Wamsley Cycles of Morgantown for keeping this great event going, for the countless volunteers out on the trail, and for ensuring a good time was had by all.