Sunday, May 28, 2000 -- Bergoo, WV
3rd Annual Paul Bunyan Mt. Bike Race
Story by Don Parks with photos by Don Parks, Matt Marcus & Sue Haywood
Every year Memorial Day also means the Woodchopper's Festival in Webster Springs, just ten miles away, complete with professional lumberjacking competitions, a parade, and a whole weekend of entertainment. Recently adding to all the celebration has been the two weekend bike races. Saturday has the Woodchopper's Classic road race with Sunday hosting the Paul Bunyan mountain bike race.
With Bergoo's scenic location tucked away in a valley where Leatherwood
Creek feeds into the Elk
River, it is a beautiful location for enjoying the outdoors. The
mountain bike course for the race consists of a wide variety of
challenges and scenery.
Beginning with a long slow climb that passes by a natural
waterfall, eventually the riders head into the woods for some
tough mountain trails. Next up is the highlight of the course, a long
descent along Leatherwood Creek that includes no less than four major
crossings. The final miles are a fast run back in to town on the
same gravel roads that had been traversed at the start.
As the riders rolled out of town just after noon, it didn't take long for the up-and-coming, 16-year-old West Virginia sensation, Nick Waite, to take up the lead spot. He was chased up the mountain by Haywood and another strong young rider in Jonas Anderson.
Waite led the race from wire to wire, and even on the final sections
of gravel road he didn't let up. He later commented that he'd been
the overall leader in other races only to get passed close to the
finish, and he didn't want to let that happen again. His first
overall racing win was earned on the 13+ mile course in a time of
1:07:57. After taking second overall in the previous day's road race,
we'd have to give Waite the unofficial title of the 2000 Webster
County Lumberjack Cycling Champion.
For almost another two hours, wet, weary and very muddy riders rolled back into Bergoo. If the sites and thrills hadn't been enough, the race organizers had a wonderful awards party waiting. The lavish spread included everything from the ideal racer food (energy bars, energy drinks, and fresh fruit), to the traditional Memorial Day picnic goodies (hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, potato salad, chips, candy, refreshing beverages on-tap, and more).
This shindig wasn't over after all the food and drink, there was still
thousands of dollars worth of prizes to dish out. Before the race had
even began the Kids Race was held with all the participants receiving
t-shirts and prizes. Walking away with the grand prize, given away
with a random drawing, was 10-year-old Travis Williams. It
wasn't hard to find the young man out test riding his brand
If you missed all the fun this year, you'll want to mark Bergoo down on your calendar for next year's Memorial Day weekend. With the unbelievable hard work and generosity of the race directors and volunteers, they are sure to make this event bigger and better for years to come. These folks include Tom Lauderman, Nancy Wayne, Debbie and Rick Brammer, Kenneth and Casie Chapman, Rickie and Drenda Hamrick, Lynn Gregory, Kyle Gregory, John and Jeannie Cogar, Ralph Staton, Cathy and Mitchel McCoy, Chris Arnold, Justine Pugh, Hallie Anderson, Jim Pugh, Charlotte Bennett, Elaine Cutlip, Bob Mace, Jimmy Scheidler, John Reed, Joe and Angel Green, Lucas Green, Alisha and Aaron Lauderman, and anyone else that we omitted. Also, this wonderful race could not happen without the support from many Pharmaceutical Companies and local businesses that are to numerous to list. Thank you to everyone who helped to make this a wonderful weekend for all.