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Saturday, July 15, 2000 - Sunday, July 16, 2000 -- Hopedale, OH
Mickey's Mountain Bike Challenge
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
Results: [XC Overall Results] [XC by Class] [Trials Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]
[Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9] [Set 10]
Beg/Nov XC: Set 1-3, Trials: Set 3-4, Sport/Exp XC: Set 4-10, Kid's: Set 10
See also: [Saturday's Event Coverage]

E.J. Sigety
Speedgoat/Merlin's E.J. Sigety powers through Mikey's Mtn
I woke up Sunday morning to the sound of rain drops and a peek outside revealed dense fog and generally dreary conditions. But soon the fog cleared and the rain came to an end as the sun fought to make an appearance on Mickey's Mountain. Having survived all the excitement from the previous day's events, I was ready for more knowing that the course conditions would only make this day's racing even more entertaining.

The first to take on the approximately 5-mile course, through a great mix of all types of single track, was the novice and beginner classes doing one and two laps, respectively. The staggered starts send the racers immediately up a short, dirt road prologue before crossing the start/finish and heading into the beginning of the initial lap.

In the two-lap races, the Bike Doctor's Jamie Johnson jumped out to the early overall lead in the woods using the first big climb, after the start, to gain an advantage. However, his repeated crashes allowed Chris Nelson to knock him out of the lead position midway through the lap. Racing in his first race, "I crashed a bunch," Johnson explained seeming quite proud, "I got excited and thought I might win." But soon he found himself battling with junior rider Nathan Smith who passed him at the end of the lap.

David Milne
David Milne corners with speed
The second lap saw Nelson motor on to take the overall win and the Beginner Senior title in 1:01:01. Nelson, again using the first big climb on his second lap, passed Smith back to get second overall and second in the Beginner Senior class with a time of 1:03:53. Smith held off Sport Masters winner, fourth overall, Mike Foley (1:05:34) to capture the Beginner Junior title finishing third overall in 1:05:23. Fifth overall and earning the Beginner Veteran win was Craig Foley.

Other two lap class winners included Bob Bevard (1:11:16), Beginner Masters, Amy Jones (1:27:21), Beginner Senior Women, and Patrick Mitchell (1:28:08), Beginner Clydesdale. In the single-lap divisions, Aaron App won the Novice Men's class with a finishing time of 36:45 while Jessica Kosho (53:58) emerged victorious in the Novice Women's division.

As the beginner racers were still finishing, the action was heating up on the trials course. Just one more Mickey's Montain amenity is the huge playground for that unique breed of cyclists called trials riders. A wide assortment of obstacles including huge logs, large wooden spools, concrete blocks, wooden pallets, and even an automobile, are all meticulous erected into obscene tests of bike handling skills.

Trials
Just a ride in the park...
The competition for the trials titles went on all afternoon, to the delight of spectators, while the XC racing raged on through the woods. In the end, running the cleanest lines and scoring the fewest points, Rick Clasen squeaked out a close win in the Expert Modified class. It took Cory Ross a final "rideoff" to take the Expert Stock title over Mike Stusek after a tie in the regulation competition.

Sport class winners included Brad Taylor in the Modified class and Geoff Kupfer in the Stock class. The Beginner A winner was Mike Houston with Donald Ziolkowski prevailing in the Beginner B class.

Back over on the single track, the XC experts were battling through four laps around the course while the sports classes called it a race after three. It didn't take long for Speedgoat/Merlin's E.J. Sigety to position himself at the front, maybe a half-mile into the first lap. For the rest of the race Sigety rode strong and consistent to hold off all challengers on his way to the overall win, in 1:44:01, and the Expert Senior title..

Sean Mullen
Sean Mullen climbs in the saddle
The battle for second place, however, came down to the wire with Justin Pokrika (1:45:10), second place Expert Senior, edging out Andrew Wulfkuhle (1:45:11) at the line. Wulfkuhle still took home the Expert Junior title for his efforts. The Expert Veteran first place award went to Will Van Nostran who finished at 2:16:20.

The three lap races were dominated by two Sport Senior riders who finished well ahead of the rest of the field. Jason Ninnemann (1:16:32) easily took the overall win a full four minutes ahead of second overall Brad Kriley (1:20:42). After these two crossed the line, it was still another six-and-a-half minutes before Bill Lamar (1:27:19) saw the finish for third overall and the Sport Veteran title.

The other three lap class winners included Lorena Brown (2:13:59), Sport Women, David Lewis (1:46:47), Sport Clydesdale, and Scott Lowery (1:33:51), Sport Junior.

As the big boys and girls finished up their tours of Mickey's Mountain, the Kids Race gave some of the future experts a chance to shine. Devin Davis, Colin Grosse, Patrick Hartman and Brandy Harcha all showed the skills of future champions. Learning an especially valuable lesson was Patrick, who experienced first hand what it is like to suffer a mechanical DNF with a toasted rear derailluer.

Everyone took their lumps and many were rewarded for their day's accomplishments. It certainly helps to have great sponsors like Grove City Sports for the weekend along with Nashbar, Marin, and Jered Raflik helping out with Saturday's Downhill and Dual Slalom. With Mickey and his hard working crew making sure everything was just perfect, everyone was able to go home smiling. Because, if it is off-road cycling that you enjoy, Mickey's Mountain packs in enough fun to last you a whole weekend, if not a whole lot longer.