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Sunday, July 8, 2001 -- Richwood, WV
Scenic Mountain Triathlon (iPO Event Id#: 2002)
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
Results: [Overall Results] [Results by Class] [Relay Team Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]
[Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9] [Set 10] [Set 11]
[1998 Coverage] [1999 Coverage] [2000 Coverage]

A View
The view from the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center
There's a reason they call this the Scenic Mountain Triathlon. But, with violent thunderstorms rolling in the morning before the race, some wondered if the show would go on for 2001. Well, of course it did as Mother Nature pulled the old "Rain by seven, gone by eleven" routine.

The starting thrash into Summit Lake for the half-mile swim was a little delayed, but around 10:30am the starting signal was given. In just 9:28 Fleet Feet Sports' David Williams of Chapel Hill, NC, emerged from the lake first. In last year's event, Williams was also first out of the water but was unable to hold off Aaron King on the bike leg and finished second overall.

"I've been working on my cycling," said Williams, the owner and a coach at Triangle Multi Sport. It showed as he crushed the huge climb up Kennison Mountain and finished the bike in just 47:20, the fastest bike time for the day, giving himself an over 5-minute lead on the rest of the field. While he didn't manage the fastest time in all three legs, his strong 39:43 for the 10K run was plenty to give him the win at 1:36:31, an improvement of 1 minute 33 seconds over is 2000 time.

The once a year swim in Summit Lake
Second place went to the unofficial West Virginia ironman Phil Lovalenti. In reality there were three West Virginia veterans of the official Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon represented, Brian Porter (1998), Steve Lochow (1999) and Chris Cornelius (2000). But Lovalenti was racing on this Sunday after having competed the day before in Parkersburg at the "Extreme Torture Challenge" course for the Mid-Ohio Valley Triathlon. He placed second there, as well, with a time of 3 hours-39 minutes for the run, bike and paddle.

On this day Lovalenti commented, "I had a lot of trouble in the swim." He more than made up for that on the bike where he moved himself up to second place. On the run he had to dig deep as Sean Maloy passed him about two miles into the 10K. Lovalenti was able to keep it close and after the turn-around he began to close and was back in second by the 4.5 mile mark. Lovalenti's second place time was 1:44:48.

And it's a race to the finish...
Maloy's bid for the podium was nixed by the strong running of Marshall University runner Robert Smith. Having also finished third in 2000, Smith passed Maloy with just about a mile to go as he raced through a 38:13 10K. "If the race was another mile I think I'd have finished second," commented Smith after the race. His finishing time of 1:45:29 was 41 seconds behind Lovalenti, so he might have needed 2-miles. Maloy easily held on for fourth at 1:46:12.

The race among the women was a real mother. Literally, the top three women combined are mothers for a total of eight children. First out of the water was Amy Robins (a mother of three), from Charlottesville, Virginia, racing in her third Scenic Mountain Triathlon.

Robins' lead soon disappeared as they raced down the mountain at the beginning of the bike leg. She was passed by Sophie Spiedel (a mother of three) and Betsy Henderson (a mother of two). Robins' quickly passed Spiedel back at the bottom of the hill and began to chase Henderson on the long climb up Kennison Mountain. It wasn't until the top of the climb that she finally moved herself back into first, but Henderson wasn't far behind.

Oh Baby
When I grow up I'm gonna race the Scenic Mtn Tri
The 48-year-old Henderson, who did record the fastest female bike time of 59:27, was out-matched when it came to the run. "They were fast, I couldn't hold off the younger girls," said Henderson of the thirty-something Robins and Spiedel.

Robins took off on the run and sailed to a first place finish at 1:52:45. It took Spiedel until the turn-around to close the gap on Henderson. Spiedel finished second at 2:00:50 followed by Henderson for third at 2:03:18.

With over 100 participants finishers continued to cross the finish line at the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center until Harold Edgar ended the show at 3:25:13. Waiting for all the swimmers, bikers and runners was the now infamous cookout. Add to this a wonderful assortment of prizes (thanks race sponsors: WV Jeep Dealers, Ferris Baker Watts, Morgan Stanley, and Coca-Cola) and over 100 great community volunteers and you know why everyone keeps coming back to the Scenic Mountain Triathlon.