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Sunday, September 8, 2002 -- Coopers Rock State Forest - Morgantown, WV
Henry Clay 30K - WVMBA Pts. #13 (iPO Event Id#: 4799)
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9]
[Set 10] [Set 11] [Set 12] [Set 13] [Set 14]
Past Race Coverage: [1998] [1999] [2000] [2001]

Race Pic
Just hang on and Coopers will take you for a ride
When it comes to east-coast mountain biking, Cooper's Rock simply rocks! The terrain can be tough, the downhills are always some serious white-knuckle, pinch flats seem just another stone away, and among it all it's hard to keep the smile off your face. Throw in a nice warm late-summer Sunday and you've got one great place to spend an afternoon.

None other than local legend Gunnar Shogren came out to defend his home turf. The soon to be 40-year-old was off the front early and with a little help from Nick Waite (who lost a respectable mid-race lead after making a serious wrong turn), rode on to take the overall win. It seems the "old man" still has a little gas in the tank!

Race Pic
Gunnar hits the singletrack first with Waite on his wheel
Racing in the vet-expert class, Shogren took home the top prize with a course-best time of 1:37:09.

Shogren did have the lead early, but Waite had made a move and was off the front when he encounter the beginner loop cutoff. Waite went left instead of right sent him climbing toward the finish before the crowd realized what was happening. He eventually was sent back in the right direction, but it was too late. A gallant effort to make up ground had him finishing sixth in the men's pro/expert at 1:48:31.

It seems that staying on the right trail was only part of the challenge in a day that wreaked havoc on the machines. Broken chains seemed contagious, and pinch flats at Coopers are always a factor.

Race Pic
Crandell-Fletcher brings home the win
Local Pro/Expert Benji Klimas knows all about the rocks at Coopers. "I was saying the beginning that the Henry Clay trail was going to be a junk yard," commented Klimas, "but I did think it would be me." Yep, an early flat had him working his way up through the crowd for a fifth place finish at 1:45:07.

Even less fortunate was TJ Platt, who is fighting to hold on to his WVMBA points lead. It wasn't even a pinch flat, but thorns cost him dearly. He would finish in a disappointing 14th at 2:00:01.

Ready to take full advantage of Platt's finish was second overall finisher, Daniel Evans. He finished a solid race in 1:37:09 to take first in the men's exp/pro. The first place points helped move his WVMBA series point total a little closer to Platt's, the only rider currently ahead of him.

Race Pic
Fun on the rocks at Coopers
One person that seemed to thrive on the Cooper's terrain was another local, Jonathan Martin, a senior at Fairmont State. "I new the lines today and just tried to keep it smooth," said Martin. He moved up through the ranks to finish with the day's third fastest time and second place exp/pro points a minute back at 1:38:09.

For the women it was another win for Sarah Crandall-Fletcher at 2:01:03. Second place finisher, Melissa Showman (2:03:39) kept her honest with a good ride of her own. It will a be a battle to the wire in the women's pro/exp WVMBA Points Series. Showman is now down by just a single point with two races to go.