Sunday, August 15, 1999 -- Seneca Rocks, Franklin
Gnarly North Fork
Story and photos by Marty Lamp
|Benjie Klimas sets the early pace|
The course actually started in the city of Franklin. At 12:30pm, all
riders took off and sprinted up a short 150 yard paved hill, and
continued on pavement until meandering out of town. Soon it was off
the road and across a dry creek bed for 100 yards, requiring a
dismount for sure. Numerous smooth, basketball-size rocks made
carrying the best option.
|They told you it was gonna be "gnarly"|
Once at the top of the mountain, 14 miles past the start, racers turned
right onto the the North Fork Mountain Trail. Rough, boulder-strewn
trails kept the mind flat-weary and and the body adrenalized for well
over 11 miles. The trail never bombed left down the mountain as in
years past, but stayed on the east side of the ridge. A long, arduous
push-climb highlighted this section, while eventually, a gravel road
was gained taking everyone downhill for 4 miles to the finish. Speeds
of 40+ mph were reached on this loose, twisty, gravel road.
|The first to hit the North Fork Trail|
After some long, rocky downhills and pounding singletrack, Eatough had opened up a slight lead. Then came the push climb; Eatough opted to dismount and while pushing, Bishop and Dixon cranked by, standing on the middle ring, hoping to open up a gap. Finally gravity won out as Bishop and Dixon dismounted, but Bishop still managed to run to the top. Bishop had the slight lead, and hammered his way to the win while trying to keep in front of Eatough.
"I knew this was my best chance to pass him (Eatough)", said Bishop. "I got a
small lead, and I knew Chris would be coming on hard. I was hoping for
the out of sight, out of mind thing". Bishop won his third race in
three weeks, and walked away smiling with a $625 paycheck for the day.
|Jennifer Shogren enjoying the singletrack|
In the Men's Junior Expert class, Jonathan Martin(2:19:55) took first place honors, and finished a fast 5th overall. He took home a new frame and shock for his racing efforts. Adam Childers(2:22:50) battled with Martin until the singletrack, and finished second in the class, while Kevin Leyh(2:29:00) finished third.
For the Men's Vet Expert class, Matt Marcus(2:22:48) was third off the pavement, but used his singletrack experience to move to the front, and finish first in his class. Chip Lortz(2:26:06) was less than 4 minutes behind for the second place finish, while Brocc Kaylor(2:28:15) took third.
In the Women's Expert class, Sue Haywood(5:39:37) had a
sizeable lead on her competition at the start of the trail, but soon
bad luck struck. Haywood flatted, fixed it, then had her skewer break
while putting the wheel back on. Vivian Chwalinski(2:49:59)
would finish to take the win in their class, while Haywood walked, ran,
and drifted her way to the finish line, not settling for the DNF.
|Buzz Johnson likes his action in "1" speed|
For the Clydesdale's, Shawn Kennedy(2:46:12) won by over 13 minutes, while Rocco Mazzei(3:04:50) won the Men's Junior Sport class, and Bruce Wohleber(3:01:29) took first place honors for the Men's Masters. Mark Johnson(3:05:01) was the first Beginner class rider to finish, and Jason Blevins finished first for the Junior Beginners.
Thanks go out to the North Fork Fire Dept. for their generous help, to Glen Hofecker for all of his hard work, and to all the volunteers who helped out along the course.