Share |

Sunday, June 3, 2007 -- Mc Gaheysville, VA / Massanutten Resort
Massanutten Hoo-Ha! - WVVUS #1/ USAC-MTB Final (iPO Event Id#: 10090)

2007: [Photos] [Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results]

Hoo-Ha! photo by JR Petsko
Hoo-Ha! photo by JR Petsko
Rain or Shine . . . We Race!

Article and photos by JR Petsko

Early June hit and it was time to pack up the car and cross the border into Virginia for the Massanutten Hoo-Ha! The event was hosted by the great folks at Massanutten Resort. Most weekends when I head to a mountain bike race or trail run, I camp in a tent that's less than sufficient, but hey, I like to play outside. This time it was different.

Massanutten offered me a room for the weekend. Having camped out more than my fair share already this year I was not about to pass up on their offer. The lobby at the resort was shockingly busy for the middle of the summer. Massanutten is well known for their skiing, but I had no clue about everything that they offered in the summer too until I made my visit there for Hoo-Ha!

For more than 30 years, Massanutten has invited vacationers to experience the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. From Massanutten Peak, the scenic site offers panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and surrounding valley.

Hoo-Ha! photo by JR Petsko
Hoo-Ha! photo by JR Petsko
On the morning of the event I was so happy that I spent the night under a roof and not a thin sheet of material because as luck would have it, it was pouring outside. The staff at iPlayOutside can be compared with mailmen. Nor rain, nor sleet, snow, wind, or riding on three bald tires and a doughnut will keep an iPlay report from doing his/her job. Okay, I'll admit that the car with 3 bald tires and a doughnut for the forth is mine. But enough about that . . .

The Hoo-ha is not just your normal run-of-the-mill mountain bike race. The event happens to be Round #1 of the West Virginia/Virginia Ultra Series (WVVUS). The series is being sponsored by Cannondale who's putting up over $2000 in merchandise for the championship awards! Find more details on the WVVUS and upcoming events on the WVMBA Race Schedule Page.

So what's an ULTRA series anyway? To put it simple, you've got to ride a long, long ways. At the Hoo-Ha! Expert riders were faced with 20-miles of the best trails the state of Virginia has to offer, but for the ULTRA Series riders that mileage was doubled. These hardcore racers spent anywhere from 4 to 6 hours out on the course. That makes for a tender backside no matter who you are!

Sue Haywood photo by JR Petsko
Sue Haywood photo by JR Petsko
When the clock struck 9 the ULTRA riders where off. The group headed down into the Shenandoah Valley for their day-long test of endurance and will. The regular mountain bike race didn't start until 11am, but the folks at Massanutten wouldn't even think of allowing us to get bored. At 10am, a kid's race was scheduled to get underway and everyone was invited to come check it out. Now I've seen many-a kid's race over my time at iPlay, but the turn-out for this one was huge.

After the kids got to it, I made my way to a small downhill section that they would have to navigate to finish the race. Every one of them made their way down the very wet and muddy section, but I still held my breath hoping no one would crash. I'm happy to report that all the kids did a super job and no one fell on the slick section, but take a look at my photos because not all the adult racers can say they did as well there. Not long after the kid's race it was time to get the main event underway. The field for the Pro/expert class was packed on both the men's side and women's side with some real cycling power houses. The Trek East Coast Factory Team, Gary Fisher, BWB West Virginia 29'ers, and Bare Naked Cannondale were just a few of the teams that showed up to test their fitness at the Hoo-ha! Even Sue Haywood, on a break from her World Cup schedule, made an appearance.

By the end of the day it didn't matter if you were a factory racer or just a weekend warrior, because the elements played havoc out on the race course for many of the participants. It's not very often that you have 28 riders not finish a race. That truly tells you just how tough the conditions were.

Burning up the course despite the weather was Jeff Schalk, who took first place in the Pro/expert category and crossed the line in 2:07:34. Schalk was not the only youngster to put in a great ride.

Hoo-Ha! photo by JR Petsko
Hoo-Ha! photo by JR Petsko
Carolyn Popovic also won her Pro/expert 19-29 category finishing in 2:44:53, just two minutes ahead of Johanna Kraus in second.

The Pro 30-39 category was also another close race as Jeff Dickey crossed the finish line first in 2:36:44 with Judd Milne hot on his heals finish in 2:39:27. For the women's Pro 30-39 class no one was able to finish the event due to the conditions.

We can't forget about those brave souls who were riding the XXC class. Benji Klimas took top honors with a total time of 4:31:58. Klimas was followed closely by Mike Carpenter who took the second spot with a time of 4:33:36, and Lee Somson in third finishing in 4:42:23.

Rain and pain, it was a great time at the Hoo-ha! Thanks to everyone who helped make this event possible. I would also like to thank Massanutten Resort for their amazing accommodations. I highly suggest you check the resort out for yourself. Visit their web site at or call 1-800-207-MASS for information. See you all soon!