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Sunday, July 16, 2000 -- Kanawha State Forest - Charleston, WV
Black Bear 40K
Story and photos by George Gannon, with photos by Diann Clothier

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]

Blackbear MTB
Jeremiah Bishop was almost too fast for the camera
Jeremiah Bishop almost missed the Black Bear 40K. Almost. Just as the expert-class riders were gearing up to take off, Bishop and the rest of the K2 team had to pedal hard to get to the start line. However, Bishop proved that you don't have to be first at the table to get the biggest piece of pie. Just under two hours later, he was the first to hit the finish line. Although he described the course as "tough" and "really challenging," he also said the looping track around Kanawha State Forest was "the best course I've set tread on all year."

Tread might have been the key word for this year's race. Already a technical course, the bursts of rain and weather made a difficult track even more challenging. Muddy downhills and quicksand-like tracks had more than one rider hauling the bike on their shoulder. The hairpin turns, wicked switchbacks, the ominously named "Spectator Falls," rocky outcrops, and stray braches that peppered the trail did not make matters any easier. As course veteran Ben Loranzo, it's a "classic mountain bike race."

Blackbear MTB
And then there was rain...
The Expert classes started on a steep fire road that took the riders into the ridges and rises that surround the park. The rest of the competitors join them six miles into the race, taking them into the forest and some of the most grueling track on the East Coast. Although the pack was pretty tight at the beginning, The boys from Team K2 worked hard to keep local pro Ryan O'Connor off the pace. It must have been pretty effective. Jeremiah Bishop(1:55:12) and teammate Travis Lender(1:57:12) took the top spots in the Expert Class. O'Connor(2:02:11) battled successfully for third place.

For the savvy vets of the Expert Class, Brocc Kaylor(2:17:41) took the top spot. Mike Boyes(2:21:16) came in second, with Donald Ciampanelli(2:25:11) rounding out the top three. For the young bucks, Nick Waite(2:00:54) put up some very impressive numbers. He was followed in by Brett Hixson(2:08:21) and Eric McCumbers(2:21:26)

Blackbear MTB
Dave Fleming concentrates at Spectator Falls
The Expert riders for the woman proved that they could get as down and dirty as any of the men could. Tiffany Kenny(2:44:17) pulled into the finish line a full fifteen minutes before the rest of her division. Mandi Williams(2:59:19) took the number two spot, while Sarah Crandell(3:16:59) rounded out the top three.

The Sport riders came just as hard as anybody did in the expert class. John Munhall(2:29:08) took first place in the Men's Sport division. Ben Woodward(2:32:16) and Dustin Clegg(2:34:13) took two and three respectively. For the veterans, Rick Elkins(2:41:47) took top honors. Steve Marshall(2:44:03) and Alan Long(2:45:35) rounded out the top finshers.

Also winning their divisions were: Anthony Schwartz(2:09:42) (Mens Junior Sport)... Audrey Wood(2:53:27) (Womens Beginner)... Chris Porter(2:21:23) (Mens Beginner)... Scott Root(2:40:21) (Mens Masters)... Dannie Hillery(3:03:26) (Clydesdales)

Even though it rained, and everybody was really dirty, and some people were bloody, the racers had good things to say. More than one "I loved it" could be heard above the downpour. A WVOuside shout goes to David McMahon for his handling of the race results