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Sunday, September 11, 2005 -- Coopers Rock State Forest - Morgantown, WV
Henry Clay 30K (iPO Event Id#: 6774)
Story and photos by Julie Black *If you need high-res photos, contact me.

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

Event Coverage: [1998] [1999] [2000] [2001] [2002] [2003] [2004]

Photo by Julie Black
Just another day at the races
Coopers Rock State Forest is said to have a little bit of everything. Some big-ring downhills, a little smooth and fast hard-pack, quite a few technical rocky sections, and plenty of opportunities to get air. There's even some not-so-pleasant climbs to speak of, but all in all, the place receives many thumbs up from riders who love to ride and race.

This majestic place, set in the hills of West Virginia just outside the University city of Morgantown, is heaven sent for the locals and out-of-town college folk. It's also the setting for local bike shop Wamsley Cycles annual, Henry Clay 30K.

iPlayOutside has been on the scene since 1998, and one thing about "Coops" has not changed much, having a pump and patch kit, or more than two CO2 cartridges is a good idea when you head into the woods here. Thanks to lots of rocks, there's always a sea of flats and 4-letter words to be uttered, only to be lost in the treetops with the unsettling wind. At the finish there are always quite a few carriers.

Photo by Julie Black
WVU's up to the challenge
The test of "Coops" has sparked a Collegiate Mountain Bike Race to go along with West Virginia Mountain Bike Association's Series Points event. The colors at the start were spectacular, and I'm not talking about fall foliage either. The "ohhs" and "ahhs" came from spectators, eager to see the wave of colorfully dressed athletes take flight into the rocky abyss.

The Pros Pass for Points
About mid-race, bikers could be seen crossing the road one last time before heading back into the woods, down a bumpy fireroad to Henry Clay's Furnace, and then back uphill to the finish. It was there that I caught some photos, and saw T.J. Platt gaining. At the time Platt was cranking fast in third. T.J. Platt passed and passed again to finish first on this day in 1:35:16 which presently, gets him that much closer to the overall WVMBA Pro/Expert Men Title. Platt's closest challenger for the overall points race crown is Dirty Harry team mate, Gerry Phlug, who won two gold medals at the World Police and Fire Games in the mountain bike race and the cyclocross race this July.

Photo by Julie Black
Susan Wren of Outdoor Extremes grinds to the finish
Second Pro/Expert Male, was Team Specialized's Eric Kriberney (1:36:37), who's 5th overall in the points standings. Kriberney and Platt have battled before. Finishing 1st and 2nd in the 2005 Revenge of the Rattlesnake. Third was Dirty Harry's only rider from WV, Jason Cyr of Weirton. Cyr recently had a silver medal performance at the 2005 Ford Champion Challenge at 7 Springs Resort with Dirty Harry's five-person open team.

Mandi Riddle of team Team is presently 2nd to Cassie Smith in the overall WVMBA points standings, beating her competition by 5 minutes at Henry to finish 1st in 2:10:23. Susan Fawley (2:15:40) claimed 2nd. In 3rd was Mo-Town gal Betsy Schauer of team Custom Contracting. In the off-season, Schauer has been a cyclocross rider for FORT/GPOA team and placed #6 in the top 10 of Elite Women racers of the 2004 14th Cycle-Smart International Cyclo-cross Northampton, Mass. according to Velo News.

Photo by Julie Black
STAFF go above and beyond
Plenty More Where That Came From
Also of team Custom Contracting, Exp Vet 35+ Gunnar Shogren (1:40:48), beat his competition by 7+ minutes and is currently ranked 3rd overall in his class. Exp Mast. 35+ class top finisher, Matt Marcus (1:56:52), is another well-known rider in WV who needs to be mentioned. If you race in the South or Mid-Atlantic region, you've heard of the legendary Matt Marcus. Former owner of Blackwater Bikes in Davis, WV, Marcus has been instrumental with putting mountain biking on the map in the mountain state. Matt's presently the President of West Virginia Mountain Bike Association (WVMBA), and can been seen at just about every WVMBA event.

Top finishers in other classes: Clydesdale - Dave Wiegel , Single Speed - Greg Moore (WVMBA's Executive Director and 2nd in the Single Speed overall standings.) Women's Sport - Kellyann Green (6th overall in the chase.) One of the largest classes, Sport 19-34 Men - Nathan Annan (1:54:03), is 1st out of 24 racers in Henry, 7th overall in the Sport standings.

Women vet 35+, Ruth Cunningham (2:40:55), is currently 2nd in the overall race for Women's Vet and her first place finish helps her in her chase of local gal Laurie Johnston (2:48:33). Top Male Sport Vet 35+ - Dannie Hillery (2:05:42), Male Sport Mas 45+ - Doug Wayne (2:06:54), and the top High School rider of the day was Julian Bergstein (2:10:14).

The up and coming new riders on the circuit, Keith Cox (1:36:18), as the 1st Junior14 on this day with the top Men's beginner, Mike Kane (1:28:16), and top Women's beginner, Shelly Bonnell (1:41:18).

Thanks to all who participated. Don't forget, WVMBA's Fall Championship is in Charleston, WV at Kanawha State Forest on Sunday, September 25 at 11 am. Come race at the one and only, 19th Annual Black Bear Mountain Bike Race Championship Race.