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Saturday, June 12, 1999 - Sunday, June 13, 1999 -- Waverly
Challenge at Mountwood
Story and photos by Marty Lamp and Lew McGrath

[Coverage] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3] [Results]

Lew McGrath cruises over the logjam
The sun was definitely shining down on Mountwood Park, and the heat could be painful at times, but what a beautiful place for a mountain bike race. It all started on Saturday with a downhill race that began on the moon - literally. Racers took off from a section of Mountwood Park known as "The Moon" and headed straight down the mountain on a blistering single track that took riders into hard-braking hairpin turns, and over a few drop-offs that gave ample opportunity for some big air.

Ben Klimas(1:20) was the fastest pro rider down the mountain this day, but Ace Leiggi(1:21) gave Klimas no margin for error, finishing second overall and only 1 second behind. Steve Sellers(1:23) rounded out the pro class, and finished with the third fastest time of the day. Tom Samples(1:26) was very impressive riding a rigid framed bike, and finishing fourth overall.

Thank goodness for the water stations
In the sport class, John Bailey(1:31) took the win, while Jason Bona(1:29) was flying low and finished first in the beginner class, and fifth overall.

On Sunday, it was time for some serious cross country riding, and the sun showed no mercy. The course started in the main parking lot and once in the woods, quickly put the riders into their granny gear. The path took riders to the top of a ridge, but with lots of short steep uphills and fast singletrack along the way.

One particular place that saw lots of action was a section named "Logjam". Numerous downed trees, complete with ramped inclines and declines, forced riders to get control of their senses after an arduous uphill, or end up on the ground wondering what went wrong. From here it was downhill on some great single track to the lake and a short section on paved road, only leading back into the woods for more quick steep uphills, and hairpin turns. After gaining the top of the second ridge, the sun sucked the water from your body, leaving the riders anxious to get back into the relatively cool shade of the thick, green forest.

Keeping a good line through logjam
Beginner classes were required to ride one 12K lap, all sport classes sweated through a little over 2 laps for 28K, and expert classes rode a total of 40K, in a little over three laps.

Taking the lead from the very beginning, and never really losing it was Ryan O'Connor(2:22:15), who finished 1st in the Men's Pro class and 1st overall. "I drank 5 water bottles, but I could have drank at least 8", O'Connor said afterwards, seeming no worse for wear in the heat. Keeping close the whole race, Ben Klimas(2:23:30) rode to a solid second place overall finish, and Marc Glass(2:26:18) rounded out the top three finishers overall.

In the Men's Expert class, the always entertaining Dave Fleming(2:28:42) got the win, and finished 5th overall. Mike Bowen(2:29:45) coasted across the finish line in second place after breaking his chain while sprinting against Fleming in the last 1/4 mile. Bowen finished 7th overall.

The pace car brings them to the start
Steve Thaxton(2:39:41) was the first Vet Expert to finish, and Eric McCumbers(2:58:54) won the Junior Expert class. Other class winners included Joe Wharton(1:36:07) of the Vet Sport class, Bill Lane(1:50:52) for the Masters class, and Drew Morse(1:35:30) of the always abundant Men's Sport class. Eric Durst(2:03:58) won the Junior Sport class, while Jason Hayes(35:00) took the win for the beginners. In the kids race, it was Quinton Nibert(7:52) winning the 8-under division, and Alex Dauphin(8:15) took the checkered flag for the 12-under class.

The prize table was impressively generous, with the top three pro's getting some serious cash, and everyone else walking away with some cool stuff from the prize table.

It must be known that this great race wouldn't have been possible without park director Dick Bailey and the work of race director Darrell Brown. Brown worked like a dog making sure the course was superbly laid out and marked, and that there was 3 much needed and appreciated water stations, plus tons of ice cold All-Sport drinks at the finish. He put on a top quality event that even had it's own DJ, with great tunes that could be heard all over the course. WVOutside will definitely be there next year, and so should you.