Sunday, June 27, 1999 -- Charleston
Black Bear 40K
Story and photos by Marty Lamp
|Gunnar Shogren "takin' it easy" at Spectator Falls|
Pics: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4]
[Results by Class] [Overall Results]
The Black Bear 40K has quite a notorious reputation, and after the race on Sunday, it's easy to see why. Steep, super-technical downhills, off-camber singletrack and one serious off-your-bike-and-push uphill made up a point-to-point course that is as tough as they come.
Intermittent storm clouds filled the sky, even a brief
pre-race downpour tried to cool things off a little, but it wasn't
going to happen. With temperatures in the 90's and the humidity even
higher, it was an effort just trying to drink enough liquids to stay
hydrated, much less make it through the demanding 17 mile course.
|Another wild ride on the Black Bear|
This is where the real fun began for some. From the top of this
ridge, it was down the Black Bear Trail and the always popular
"Spectator Falls". This is a 150 foot section of trail with a triple
black diamond gradient, filled with roots and softball-size rocks. Fans
lined this section of trail, applauding all riders coming through, and
cheering loudly when someone would successfully ride it without a dab.
|Melissa Showman enduring the Black Bear Trail|
The fastest rider on the course this day was Gunnar
Shogren(1:32:27). "I was takin' it easy on the downhills", Shogren
said, " I had a little problem here last year". Shogren won the 1998
Black Bear despite crashing hard at Spectator Falls. Right behind
Shogren was Mike Bowen(1:32:32). Bowen kept Shogren within
sight the whole race, and would finish only 5 seconds behind. Mark
Smith(1:34:17) finished third overall.
|Sue Haywood getting to know the Black Bear Trail|
For the Junior Experts, Nick Waite(1:45:02) got the win, and
Brett Hixson(1:46:49) and Ryan Hobbs(1:47:40) took 2nd
and 3rd, respectively.
|Pablo Martinez jumps out to a quick lead|
Many thanks to Doug Atkins for making this race happen, and to Kanawha State Forest for letting it happen. If you haven't had a chance to be a part of the Black Bear race, make sure you check it out next year, you can bet WVOutside will be back for more.