Sunday, June 4, 2000 -- Waverly, WV
Challenge at Mountwood
Story and photos by Matt Marcus
Fast forward to Sunday at Mountwood Park. Racing his mountain bike on
the buff four-wheeler and singletrack trails, Nick wasn't expecting to
be delayed again. After the start of the race through the grassy park
lands the trail suddenly went vertical, up a series of switchbacks
that forced many riders caught in traffic to dismount. At the top of
the first climb, before the first road crossing, three riders had
established a lead. Mongoose pro Ryan O'Connor(2:12:59) was
followed closely by Sobe Headshok's semi-pro John
MacInnis(2:14:25) and Nick Waite(2:21:16), riding for
Granny Gear Productions.
On the third and last lap in the 40K event O'Connor pulled away on a
hill and gapped MacInnis and Waite. The twists and turns on this fast
course are frequent and once a gap of over 20 seconds is established
you lose sight of the person in front of you. MacInnis could hear
Waites labored breathing behind him on the climbs and decided it was
time to attack. With only three miles left to the finish the three
leaders were separated and riding alone.
Two and a half long minutes later Jason Beckley arrived and rolled to
a halt. Thirty seconds later the riders were allowed to continue. "I
think he was bonking", Beckley said referring to Waite. Waite later
confirmed this and said the three minute delay may have actually
helped him recover but it didn't help his overall finish as the top
expert riders passed him just before the finish moving him back
Scott Root(1:34:03) setting up some exciting points racing in the future dethroned Masters untouchable Greg McWilliams(1:40:58).
The race promoters and Park management have created an incredible trail system that was described by racers as "thrilling" and "exciting". If you are ever passing through on Route 50 it is definitely worth stopping to check out. Despite the power problem the race was well organized and top three places in expert classes got to share the generous $2000 cash purse.
Ryan O'Connor improved his time from last year by ten minutes, which is good for him since there were five other guys who also beat last year's winning time. The competition level in the men's field was definitely up a notch from the past and that is a good thing for racing in West Virginia.