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Sunday, October 8, 2000 -- New Castle, VA
The Escape XIII
Story and photos by Dana Harshberger

[Details] [Coverage] [Results by Class] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3] [Pic Set 4]

Jeep Trail
Starting with the Jeep Trail...
ride me if you can
"It's a beautiful day, not a cloud in sight, so I guess I'm doin' all right!"

Despite dire predictions of rain, and possibly snow, the weather managed to show it's shining, if not cold and windy face for the 6th and final race of the 2000 Virginia State Mountain Bike Series.

Registration was held at the Pines Campground, where a few daring riders camped out the night before. The starting line was actually about 3 miles northeast of the campground, up a nice warm-up of pavement, to the base of Potts Mountain. Here the field of 80 some riders were staged in their various categories, and then set loose to conquer the morale busting first climb of the race, the infamous Jeep Trail. This incredibly long and rocky climb had many gasping for air, if not pushing their bikes. Rumor has it that Jeremiah Bishop was the only rider to clear the climb, and he got a cool VA Series T-shirt for his effort.

On the trail
Navigating the tricky trails at The Escape XIII
The climb managed to space the riders out, which was a good thing once they got to the tight, turny, twistyness of the Cove Trail, and New Cove Trail. The trees were lined up tight, roots lay in wait across the trail and pesky stumps were hiding under fallen leaves. Riders wiggled their way through the undergrowth, and sometimes wondered if they were even still on the trail!

Even with the lack of space, East Coaster's own "Rolling Than"der White, as always, managed his photo op wheely. Mr. White captured the Clydesdale win for the race, as well as for the series. He credits dressing well for the cold and wind as well as the teamwork and pacing of riding with Sport guy, Ben Brown, for his win.

It was also here that this intrepid reporter and her wood nymph helper/chauffeur, saw Snow Valley's lovely Sami Fournier, who later said that seeing us on the trail was the high point of her ride! Thanks Sami! By the way, Sami snagged 2nd in her race, and also 2nd in the series! First in the series for the Pro Ex Women, was Sue George, (Sobe Headshock) who had already secured her first place after Rowdy Dawg. She and hubby Matthew decided to take on the challenge of the 41-mile XXC course.

Really a beauty day for racing in the mountains of Virginia
And speaking of the XXC: These brave souls began their journey at a very brisk 9:30am. An entirely different loop, on an entirely different mountain was the start of their day. This addition to the course wound them around Bald Mountain, and Little Mountain, before joining the regular course on Potts Mountain. Race winner Dylan Johnson, with an amazing sub 4hour ride garnered the win. When asked for any comments on his win, Pickle, as he's affectionately called in Harrisonburg, mad mention of his 'efficient' morning routine. You'll have to ask him about it sometime!! Taking the series win in the XXC was Rob Issem.

On to the finish: After finishing the Potts Arm trail and a bit of pavement, riders did a 2-loop epilog around the beautiful Cove Branch Farm. It was here as well that the Beginners had their race. It was a small field but a tight race for the Beg 2 Men, with Paul Johnston pulling in first over Jason Vaden.

Jason Laxton, riding for Ridgerider Mountain Bikes, took the first place spot, in the Pro Ex men. Riding solidly and consistently, this was his day, and he smoothly moved past others with mechanicals. Jason spent most of his ride with Jeremy Wimpy of Trek, (who would like to say, "word up to Jesus"), who also was on the go. Rounding out third was one of the mighty Quinn Brothers, Christian Quinn.

Cove Branch Farm
Finishing up around the Cove Branch Farm
In the Men Pro Ex series action, Joel Maynard received top honors, even with sitting out this race due to an injury. Closely followed by Laxton and Wimpy.

Also of note are the City Bikes Guys, Eric Rownan and Colin Maheri, who went to battle with the course on their single speeds.

It seemed like the day was plagued with flat tires (four flats, and borrowed wheels got Mr. Bishop to the finish line), and sabotaged course markings. A few riders were confused or got downright misplaced on several areas of the course, due to course markings that had been in place, and then mysteriously removed. Thankfully everyone made it back to the campground for rice and beans and the race and series awards.

Many thanks go out to Kyle Inman who puts forth great effort in getting all the details in line for the Virginia State Series. Check out the site for more details on the final series standings.