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Race Start
The race started on gravel roads, but was decided in the single track.
Sunday, May 31, 1998, Richwood (Kennison Mountain)
Ballyhoo 'n Hullabaloo
[ Complete Results ]

Greg Stirling had to scramble to find a race course for the first annual Ballyhoo 'n Hullabaloo mountain bike race. The original course had to be changed on short notice, something to do with turkeys (seriously!) and permits at the orginal site. But, oh what an alternative 9.5 mile race loop did he find.

Dave Fleming
Dave Fleming still looks fresh after the first climb up Kennison Mt.
The weather was beautiful and the course was set on a loop that was advertised as 50% gravel roads and 50% single track. Given these stats and the fact that few, if any, had ever ridden the course, the riders may have had some notions that it would be a fast circuit. But once they hit the single track of Kennison Mountain, the reality of racing in the Cranberry Back Country made the day's racing seem like 90% single track and 10% road.

The race began with a short climb on the gravel road, separating the riders before the road headed down the mountain for two miles. It was a fast descent with speeds approaching 40mph before the riders took a sharp left into the woods to climb Kennison Mountian.

Nicole HobayDoug Covington
The Ridge Rider's (Nicole Hobay left, Doug Covington right) arrived just in time to sport the new green jerseys.
The single track quickly headed up the mountain gaining between 400 and 500 feet before topping out after less than a mile. The first to crest the climb was Ben Klimas, but that was far from the finish. Todd Reighley didn't waste time taking the lead from there and never looked back.

The course continued on incredibly technical terrain that took the racers through mud, rocks, roots, and even a completely unrideable section of who knows what (see the bike carrying picture below.) Being able to mount and dismount cyclocross style was definitely a big advantage. When the riders finally cleared the single track it was back out on the road for a quick fire road descent before about a two mile climb to the start/finish.

Ben Klimas
Ben Klimas tries to run down the leaders on some truly interesting, but unrideable, terrain
After one lap, the Clydesdales and Jr. Beginners called it a day and some of the other riders had second thoughts about heading out for more (over half of the Men's Beginners DNF'ed.) Garret Stout took first for the Jr. Beginners in 1:23 with the Clydesdale champ, Victor Shover, finishing in 1:28 and second overall for the one lap racers.

The second lap of racing saw Todd Reighly try to stretch his overall lead while Doug Covington and Ben Klimas battled it out for second. Doug and Ben traded positions several times, but by the end of the second lap Doug took over second place for good. The Veteran Experts also had some competition during the second lap. Lew McGrath was able to briefly move ahead of Matt Marcus, but couldn't hold the lead long as they climbed the road back to the start/finish. Lew's run for the lead was costly as his extra time recovering at the start/finish water stop allowed Mark Ashley to move ahead to second.

Jonathon Martin
Jonathon Martin on his way to another Jr. Expert win

The two lap racers were led to the finish by Men's Sport winner, Jason Laxton, in an excellent time of 1:52. The next two lap racers needed another 15 minutes before Colby Uhl (2nd Men's Sport) and Jonathon Martin (1st Jr. Expert) crossed the line at 2:07. Close behind was the Master's champ, Mark Poore, in 2:08. The other two lap classes were won by Nicole Hobay (Women's Sport) in 2:26 and Justin Potoczny (Men's Beginner) in 2:37.

The remianing expert classes fought out the demanding single track for another lap with no lead changes. In the end Todd Reighly completed the 28 plus miles in 2:44 with Doug Covington and Ben Klimas still not far apart in second and third at 2:50 and 2:51, respectively.

Matt Marcus
Matt Marcus, a true veteran of West Virginia mountain biking, just loves this terrain
Matt Marcus came across the line first for the Veteran Experts in 3:05 for a fourth overall finish. The first place Expert Woman was Sue Haywood in 3:38, and even though she was the only female expert and had the option of doing just two laps, she toughed out all three. All this, even after breaking a seatpost on the first climb and losing a lot of time finding a replacement. The bottom line is that the racers just loved the course and can't wait to give it another shot next year.