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Sunday, May 26, 2002 -- South Charleston, WV
WV State Mtn Biking Championship (Race the Trace) (iPO Event Id#: 4781)
Story and photos by Ariana Kincaid

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

Race Day Pic
A championship day to be outside
The honeysuckle was thick on the vines at the First Annual West Virginia State Mountain Biking Championship, at Little Creek Park in South Charleston. The delicate scent wafting on a slight breeze made the day perfect for playing in the park or for cooking out with friends. But it was a little on the hot side for those out to "Race the Trace."

The soccer field known as "The Rock" made a great place to start and finish the race, with plenty of parking, facilities, and room to mix and mingle. Eighty-five hardy souls came out on Memorial Day Sunday to brave the course and the heat for this WVMBA-sanctioned race. Family and friends also braved the course and the heat, many hiking the same trails biked by the racers in order to find good vantage points for splashes and spills.

Race Pic
And a sweet day to race
The day started out with a somber tone, with The Star-Spangled Banner being sung by Miss South Charleston, and the American flag presented by the Herbert Hoover High School Junior ROTC Color Guard. A moment of silence was observed for fallen West Virginian and avid mountain biker Sgt. Gene Vance of Morgantown, whose body recently returned home from Afghanistan.

Shortly thereafter, the red VOLVO convertible pace car got the Pro/Expert cyclists started down the hill, followed by a VOLVO sedan for the Sport Classes, and a VOLVO station wagon for the Beginners - and as soon as the cars peeled off at the bottom of the hill, the bikers were off. Each lap was 4.62 miles, with Experts completing five laps, Sport classes completing four laps, and Beginners completing two laps. Winners in each class received State Champions Cycling Jerseys for their hard-fought efforts.

Race Pic
Pacing the expert class starters
The day's early somber mood quickly turned to competitiveness once the race started, and relief when it was over. With several water crossing, some killer downhills strewn with boulders, and some uphills thick and slick with mud, everyone was covered with mud and sweat, and a few with blood, before the day was over. As Dustin Douglas, a rider in the Sport Class put it when asked how he did: "I'm so thankful to get off my bike, I don't care."

Bringing home the jersey in the Pro Expert Men category was Ryan O'Conner, with a time of 1:58:02 for five laps. That's less than 24 minutes a lap, folk! Hot on his heels was Nick Waite, with a time of 1:58:06. Just a few minutes later, Benjie Klimas came in third in the class with a time of 2:05:47 with Jonathan Martin (2:05:49) right on his wheel.

Race Pic
Concentration in the single-track
Sarah Fletcher Crandle was the first female Pro Expert to coast to a finish, with a time of 2:47:06. Amy Tolliver came in second with a time of 3:11:14. And Erin Teloy, with a time of 3:22:22, came in third in the category.

Junior Expert Bryan Fawley completed his five laps in 2:17:37. Matt McDonald pulled in with a time of 2:25:47 for second place, and Thomas Krprcak came in just over a minute later for third place, with a time of 2:26:52. Sorry to say, there were no female Junior Experts.

Race Pic
Top speed at the Trace
Plenty more West Virginia champions came accross the line well into the afternoon. Thanks goes out to all that came and enjoyed the first State Championship.

Special thanks to Patrick McDonald and his wonderful volunteers for putting on a fine, well-organized race! Thanks also to Smith Company Motor Cars, Volvo, PROforma, BankOne, Charleston Marine, WV Paving, Joey's, South Hills Ski & Bike, Party King, Charleston Bicycle Center, and the South Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau.