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Sunday, September 27, 1998 -- Beech Fork State Park, Huntington
Beech Fork Mountain Bike Race

[Coverage/Recap w/Pics] [Pictures Set 1] [Pictures Set 2] [Results]

The mass start at Beech Fork State Park
The mountain bikes converged on Beech Fork State Park for a race on Sunday, September 27th. The racers were greeted with a hot day for racing and almost record temperatures for the Huntington area. The course that they were sent to conquer was a combination of paved roads, fire roads and single track. The dry conditions, on a route that was not too technical in most parts, made for fast racing. Depending on the class of the rider, they were sent out to do one, two or three laps, with the later laps shorter than the first. For those that did multiple laps, they had to pay special attention as each loop had variations from the previous ones.

Mike Bowen had a clean race to take 1st overall
When the racing got started, it was Mike Bowen who established himself as the man to beat for the day. He quickly moved into the lead and was never threatened the entire race. He completed the expert distance of 20 miles on Beech Fork's terrain in a time of 1:33:20. In the 15 mile, 2 lap version of the race, John Cipriani was in a class all by himself and took home the award for the top Sport racer for the day. The strongest female rider for the afternoon was Lori Garbesi who complete the 2 lap course in a time of 1:47:08. Cam Lewis was the fastest beginner and complete the single lap, 10 mile route, in a time of 40:40.

Lori Garbesi finishes as the day's strongest female rider
After all the racing it was time to celebrate another great day spent outside in West Virginia. The racers were treated to a great dinner including pasta with sauce, Italian bread, fruit, and drinks. Of course there were the awards which were very generous and went 50% deep in all of the classes. The prize distribution was pretty equitable in which the more laps you did the better choice you had for a prize. Mike Boyes, Huntington Bicycle Center, and all the gracious volunteer help make for a great afternoon of riding and a big "thank you" goes out to them all.

Thomas Samples raced to an Expert 2nd place
(or was that 3rd?)
In an interesting turn of events, the competition for the second and third place Expert racers was a bit of a mystery. Rumor has it that Thomas Samples took a wrong turn somewhere and lost time on what certainly would have been a second place finish. At the finish, it appeared that Randy Gibbs was able to take advantage of his errors (or did he get lost, too?) and grab the second place prize with Samples finishing third. But, as the awards were handed out and the announcement was made that Gibbs was second, the two racers took matters into their own hands and saw that Samples was given second while Gibbs took third. We suppose it doesn't really matter. What is important is that it was obvious that they were both great sportsman and that everyone had a great time whether they finished first, last, or somewhere in between.