Share |

Saturday, June 19, 1999 - Sunday, June 20, 1999 -- Grantsville
Appalachian Classic
Story and photos by Marty Lamp

[Coverage] Pics: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]

Note:During the first lap, the power slide section drew quite a crowd of spectators watching as racers came down the steep, dusty decline. Many witnessed the unfortunate crash of Britany Jones at the very bottom. Britany was knocked unconscious after flipping over her bike at a very fast speed. Local EMS crews were right there,(they were actually attending to Don Waterhouse after he wrecked at the bottom, suffering from a potential broken collar bone) and they wasted no time taking every precaution. Britany was immediately transported to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. We are happy to report that as of Tuesday (6/22), Britany was still hospitalized and very sore, but she suffered no broken bones and should be back on her bike soon.

Appalachian Classic
Gunnar Shogren crossing the finish line 1st
Calhoun County Park just outside of Grantsville was alive and kickin' over the weekend. More than just a mountain bike race, the Appalachian Classic uses a festival atmosphere to bring biking and non-biking spectators to this huge event.

On Saturday, the main pond was surrounded by folks watching the always exciting pond jump. Competitors gained their speed pedaling downhill before launching off of a ramp sending them into orbit above the pond. Even assistant race director Steve Johnson decided to join in with some stylish high flying flips. The "caped crusader" even showed up for a surprise visit.

Appalachian Classic
Steve Johnson isn't afraid of a little air
As the evening sun hung low, the main stage began to come alive with some fun live music. The sound system was awesome, filling the air with tunes that could be heard from all over the course. Something visible from almost everywhere on the course was the huge hot air balloon tethered down, offering free rides, and giving anyone a chance for a great view. Although breezy conditions kept it on the ground a lot, the Patrick Plaza Dodge balloon could be heard and seen Saturday evening, giving a beautiful silhouette to the setting sun.

Sunday morning came into full swing with the always popular kids races. Local pro's Gunnar Shogren and Sue Haywood actually broke a sweat leading the kids around courses set up especially for each age group. These kids were strictly business, almost running Shogren and Haywood over at the starts, and keeping great paces until the very end.

Appalachian Classic
These kids are fast!
After the kids races, it was time to get down to business. The course this year was undeniably fast, but also painful. Despite the lack of a long arduous uphill, the uphills were steep and gut-wrenching. From the very start, racers climbed up a steep knoll to the staging area, before bombing down past the main stage and into the woods for some top quality single track. Although the clean, fast single track pervaded the race track, there was plenty of brake-squeezing action. The beaver slide and the power slide proved to be quite formidable, and many racers could be heard hollering with glee after riding either section without unclipping, and rightly so.

Appalachian Classic
The "power slide" downhill section
The 8 mile loop was ridden once by beginner classes, twice by all sport classes, while experts were faced with three laps, totalling 24 miles.

In the Men's Expert Class, none other than Gunnar Shogren(1:52:25) led the race from beginning to end. Shogren stayed smooth and in control, and ahead of the dust, to capture the overall win. Keeping Shogren honest was Ben Klimas(1:55:29), who stayed within minutes of Shogren the entire race, and was able to fight off Mark Smith(1:56:44) to save second place overall, and maintain his WVMBA point series lead. Smith finished third overall.

For the Women's Expert Class, Sue Haywood(2:04:42) once again proved her dominance, getting the win and finishing an impressive 11th place overall. Melissa Showman(2:13:48) never let Haywood rest, though, and she pedalled strong to finish 2nd in her class, and 20th overall. Sarah Crandall(2:40:58) rounded out the top three female finishers.

Appalachian Classic
Joey Riddle at the launch
The Men's Expert Vet class was led to the finish line by Brocc Kaylor(2:02:13). Kaylor was nearly 8 minutes ahead of a good battle between Allen Moore(2:10:03) and Matt Marcus(2:11:10). Kaylor finished 10th overall, and Moore and Marcus finished 15th and 16th overall, respectively.

The Men's Junior Expert Class was won impressively by Jonathan Martin(2:01:19). Martin rode hard and fast to finish 9th overall, and over 5 minutes ahead of his next class competitor, Brett Hixson(2:06:50). Ryan Hobbs(2:08:21) finished third; Hixson and Hobbs finished 13th and 14th overall, respectively.

Appalachian Classic
Molly Whalen at the finish
For the two lappers, it was Pablo Martinez(1:22:22) winning the Mens Sport class. "I saw Sue (Haywood), and I just tried to stay with her", Martinez said afterwards. John Barnette(1:34:19) took the win for the Clydesdales, and it was Gregg McWilliams(1:37:43) finishing first for the Masters.

Molly Whalen(1:50:24) continued her winning streak for the Women's Sports, but Mandi Williams(1:52:38) wasn't far behind, finishing second in her class behind Whalen. In the Men's Sport Vet Class, Joe Wharton(1:31:27) got first place honors.

After the race, a pasta dinner was served that was second to none. Countless awards were handed out, and the comic relief of Jack Downs on the microphone had everyone smiling. This race was such a success thanks to all the hard work by Downs, Steve Johnson, Brian Sterns, and the countless volunteers freely giving their time. Thanks to MegaZound Productions for the great sound system, and to theGrantsville Lions Club and the Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center for making it all possible. We are already looking forward to coming back next year.