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Sunday, March 28, 1999 -- Pipestem Resort State Park, Pipestem
Pipestem Spring Challenge

[Coverage] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2 [Results]

Charles Stanley finding the rhythm on the 1st lap
The 1st Annual Pipestem Spring Challenge kicked off the mountain bike racing season in West Virginia during a beautiful spring day at the always scenic Pipestem Resort State Park. The 12k course snaked through the park with lots of rolling hills and reasonably dry conditions on the single track, but parts of the course followed horse trails, filled with bone-jarring hoof prints from muddier times, and one steep technical section that quickly persuaded even the experts to dismount and carry. The course catered to racers of all abilities with beginners biking one lap, sport riders riding two, and experts pounding out three laps.

Le Mans Start
There is nothing like a little pre-race sprint
From the very beginning the competition was tight due to a Le Mans start with a twist; the entire field of racers had to funnel through a shoulder-wide fence before the sprint for the bikes. As if this might not spread the pack out, a quick uphill before entering the wooded single track helped everyone get settled into position.

At the end of the first two laps, Charles Stanley(1:45:45) was slightly behind Chad Davis(1:47:46), but both riders were working a good pace, and with a slew of riders only minutes behind, it was anybody's guess who would finish in front. After nipping at the heels of Davis for two laps, Stanley finished first to win the Mens Expert division and and take the overall top spot.

Randy Gibbs
Randy Gibbs keeping a tight spin on the flats
In the Women's division, it was the always strong and forever-young Mora Kistler(1:33:28) finishing first, with Molly Whalen(1:39:33) pumping hard and placing a very respectable 2nd. Worthy of mention is also Vonda Underwood(1:43:06), who was the only Women's Beginner Class participant.

In what consistently proves to be one of the most competitive classes, Jason Laxton(1:17:17) won the Mens Sport Class, with Cam Lewis(1:18:10) right behind, and the nearest sport class rider nearly 10 minutes back.

The folks at Pipestem Resort did a great job hosting a safe and enjoyable race, and the food buffet they provided was top-notch. Make sure to stop by whenever you are in southern West Virginia for some great mountain biking and gorgeous scenery.