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Sunday, November 29, 1998 -- Sissonville
WV Cyclocross Race #2
Story and pictures contributed by Dave McKain

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

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Steve Thaxton gets the new bike out for some racing... cyclocross style
Okay, so I expected something a lot different. My experience of cyclocross comes from images in magazines and on the web of white smiles emerging from mud blackened faces, bikes on shoulders, lines of racers carrying their bikes up steep inclines, slipping and sliding in the late fall, early winter muck. This is West Virginia isn't it? Late November should bring chilling temperatures with mist rain and fog, wet leaves and mud, shouldn't it? Well, not the last weekend of November in Sissonville. Those who found themselves circling the track at the second of six cyclocross races sponsored by Worldwide Chirpopractic in Sissonville felt like they were time warped back to early September. The sun was out in force and temperatures were hovering in the 70's by the start of the race. The track conditions were about perfect owing to the lack of precipitation over the last few weeks which contributed to faster overall lap times and, generally, cleaner bikes at the end.

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There is a reason they talk of bike handling skills at cyclocross events
Twenty five racers took to the track for the race with five each in the first timers, beginners, and sport classes and ten in the expert class. Returning for his second race was previously first time racer Chris Aldrich who decided to brave two laps in the beginner class. While he didn't finish first, he was able to get his dad Phil to move from spectator to racer. Hopefully Phil will follow Chris's lead and come back for a second (third, fourth and fifth) time. A hallmark for the young series was the participation of Lisa Capinpin as the first female racer.

Several participants vied for first place in their class. Colby Uhl (41:08) was able to fend off Joe Wharton (41:45) in the sport class with Richard Watts finishing third with a time of 47:23. In the beginner class, Pablo Martinez (32:44) finished a comfortable 6 minutes ahead of Wayne Douglass (38:56) who was kept busy by Isaac Chapman who finished 13 seconds back crossing the finish at 39:09. Justin Southall (19:26) won the first timers class ahead of Phil Aldrich (20:45) and Lisa Capinpin (23:01).

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Ryan O'Connor took advantage of nice weather and pounded out a victory
Ryan O'Connor and Mike Bowen battled it out over the last lap for top dog honors in the Expert class. Bowen, who was behind O'Connor by about 30 seconds heading onto the last road section before the finish, was able to come within a couple bike lengths at the top of the cow pasture hill before Ryan turned on the afterburners and streaked away to finish first with a time of 47:15 with Mike Bowen (47:49) coming in second and Nathan Samples (52:16) rounding out the top three. Odds are that Mike, who won the innagural race, will be back December 20th to attempt to regain his title as top cyclocross dog in the state.

Everyone can cross their fingers for the next race but I believe that the weather may not hold up and we may experience more realistic West Virginia trail conditions for the 20th of December. Until then, keep those gears turning, chains oiled, and bearings greased 'cause there's still a lot of racing to be done over the next three months. Ride on!