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Saturday, September 18, 1999 - Sunday, September 19, 1999 -- Big Bear Lake, Bruceton Mills
Big Bear Lake Mt. Bike Classic
Story and photos by Marty Lamp

[Coverage] [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class] [Kids Results]

Big Bear Lake
Kyle Dixon about to cross the finish line in front
Mountain bikers from all across the region gathered at Big Bear Lake, just outside of Hazelton, on Sunday for the Big Bear Classic. Truth be told, this is more than just another bike race, this is the WVMBA Points Series Championship, with "double points" awarded to the top ten in each class. After the Big Bear awards were handed out, the Series Winners would be taking home either some serious cash or cool gear, not to mention a good winter's supply of braggin' rights.

Over 160 people lined up for the mass start at 11:00am. The weather conditions couldn't have been any nicer: sunshine coming from everywhere, no humidity, and temps in the low 80's.

Big Bear Lake
Sue Haywood winning her 5th straight WVMBA Series
The course started at the main entrance parking area, and for the first two miles kept all the racers spinning fast on pavement, then gravel roads up Fikes Ridge. A quick left turn took everyone down the White Rock Run trail and up the Misty Mountain Hop trail before joining up with Fikes Ridge Road agian.

Within a 1/2 mile, riders made a quick right into the white pines for some fast, banked turns, and a gradual singletrack descent down the Lunar Drool Trail before hitting the more technical parts of the course. After some rough, rocky singletrack, riders headed up Quarry Road. From here, the long course looped back on itself along the Demented Debris trail and around the Sugar Camp Run trail before getting back to their detour off Quarry Road. All riders then took the Table Rock Trail to the Jump Rock Trail, then finished the course along Gandolph's Path.

The long loop stretched out for 16.5 miles, and the short course was 11 miles. Expert racers did two laps for 33 miles, sports raced 1 lap, and beginner classes raced the short loop.

Big Bear Lake
MacIness, Bishop, Shogren, and Dixon on the second lap
With a 2 mile start on the road, the fast guys had no problem getting to the front of the pack early. Pro riders Kyle Dixon(2:22:11), Jeremiah Bishop(2:23:37), and John MacInnis(2:25:08) pushed the lead pack hard. Also in this lead pack were the top three WVMBA Pro/Ex riders for the season, Gunnar Shogren(2:25:46), Benjie Klimas(2:41:35), and Mike Bowen(2:38:55).

After a first lap that only took 1 hour 10 minutes, the lead pack was down to four - Dixon, MacInnis, Bishop, and Shogren - and the four stayed close until Shogren dropped his chain with about 7 miles to go. The pack was momentarily down to three, and Dixon decided it was time to push the pace a little harder, slowly edging away from his chasers. Dixon would finish 1st, and over a minute ahead of second place Bishop. MacInnis finished third overall.

Shogren finished 4th overall, which earned him another WVMBA Championship. Bowen and Klimas finished the race 7th and 8th overall respectively, earning then 2nd and 3rd place in the final Men's Pro/Ex WVMBA standings.

Big Bear Lake
A view from the back
In the Women's Pro/Expert race, the undeniably dominant Sue Haywood(2:44:12) wasted no time getting to the front, and staying there. Even a 1st lap crash, that sent at least one biker bunny-hopping over her, couldn't keep her from winning her 5th straight WVMBA Series. Melissa Showman(2:58:10) finished second in the class. Haywood and Showman finished 12th and 25th overall, respectively.

In the men's Junior Ex class, Kevin Leyh(2:42:33) finished 10th overall to take the win. Second place went to Jeremy Rowand(2:50:20), and Jonathan Martin(2:54:15) got third. Rowand finished 17th overall, and Martin finished 20th overall, good enough to finish the 1999 WVMBA season as the Men's Junior Ex Champion.

The always competitive Men's Vet Ex class saw Matt Ross(2:42:53) getting the win. Ross finished just slightly more than 2 minutes ahead 1999 WVMBA Vet Ex Champ Steve Thaxton(2:45:01), while Matt Marcus(2:49:22) took third.

Big Bear Lake
Junior Ex WVMBA Champ Jonathan Martin
In the Men's Sport class, Pablo Martinez(1:19:51) stayed in front during a finish line sprint between to win the Sport Class, and WVMBA Sport Class Series. Drew Morse(1:19:52) and Cam Lewis(1:19:53) were right there the finish second and third

Other race and WVMBA Series winners include Joe Wharton(1:23:52) for the Men's Sport Vets, Chris Jarvis(1:31:01) for the Clydesdales, and Rocco Mazzei(1:23:35) for the Men's Junior Sports.

Greg McWilliams(1:24:12) got the win for the Men's Masters class, and Patty Hobbs(2:23:45) edged out Idress Gooden(2:40:41) in what has been consistently one of the most competitive classes all year, the Women's Masters.

Big Bear Lake
Kid Class WVMBA Champion Drew Jones
The up and coming Jennifer Shogren(1:35:31) got the win for the Women's Sports, and Adi Miro(2:10:17) finished first for the Women's Sport Vets.

In the Men's Beginner class, Bubba Flint(1:04:36) got the win for the "under 30" division, while Leroy Hunter(1:10:01) won the "over 30" division. Jeanne Sutton(1:26:54) took the checkered flag for the Women's Beginner class. In the "1st Timer" class, Karl Waite(1:22:42) was victorious for the men, and Susan Schooley(1:42:35).

Saturday, the Kid's Race was one of the feature events, with a 2 mile course full of singletrack and bridges. Drew Jones(17:44) was the winner for the day, and also won the WVMBA Seris Kids Class.

Many thanks and much appreciation go out to Mark Schooley and all of the volunteers who helped make this classic race happen. A word of thanks also to Jack Downs who handled the microphone, and always seems to come up with some key pics.