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Sunday, July 2, 2000 -- Princeton, WV
Hurricane Ridge MTB Challenge
Story and photos by Marty Lamp

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

Hurricane Ridge MTB
Some of the spectators

The folks in southern West Virginia know how to put on a great mountain biking event, and they take a lot of pride in the courses they build. This was the first ever Hurricane Ridge Mountain Bike Challenge, and with all the amenities that were available for the racers both before and after the race, you had better beleive it will be a very popular race in the future.

This WVMBA sanctioned race kicked off the festivities on Saturday night with barbecued chicken and burgers, covered dishes, and plenty of drinks for FREE! All this while listening to and watching the Carpenter Ants perform atop Hurricane Ridge .

Hurricane Ridge MTB
Benjie Klimas grabs the early lead
On Sunday morning, the sun was filling the sky, and the temperatures were climbing steadily as the parking area filled with racers.

The course was a single track lover's dream. After starting with a 1/2 mile uphill, gravel road start, everyone snaked through a small barn as they started the prologue loop. The draining 1/3 mile prologue consisted of twisting single track that was seemingly either going straight up, or straight down.

The prologue was surely a sign of things to come. After coming back to the initial gravel road for a little while, it was back into the trees, and their shade, for a lot of tight, twisting single track. The big rings weren't used too much through the woods, but bike handling skills were used to the max.

Hurricane Ridge MTB
Amy Crawford starting the prologue
The loop measured roughly 9.5 miles without the prologue, and it was taking the fastest racers close to an hour. All experts suffered through 3 grueling laps, with sports cranking through two, and beginners one.

The 3 lap race proved to be a battle early, but the ever powerful Ryan O'Connor(2:53:59) stayed strong and consistent to finish almost 7 minutes ahead of his closest competitor. By the end of the prologue on lap 1, it was Benjie Klimas(3:01:14) leading with O'Connor and Jason Laxton(3:07:13) right on his wheel. By the end of the first lap, O'Connor had grabbed the lead and nearly 2 minutes on his closest threat, a fast spinning Jason Laxton. Scott Stillwagon(3:00:01) was right behind, with Klimas chasing hard.

Hurricane Ridge MTB
Ryan O'Connor was as strong as ever
Positions remained the same through the second lap, but midway throught the third, Laxton had to turn it back a notch as the heat and torrid pace started to take its toll. Klimas utilized his late race power to pass Laxton and Stillwagon, but on the final hill, Stillwagon fought back, surprising Klimas, and earning a strong second place finish, while Klimas finished third, and Laxton finished fourth. Men's Vet Expert winner Steve Thaxton(3:31:19) finished 5th overall.

The Women Experts had to fight through 3 laps, too, and it was a testament to the drive inside both Amy Crawford(4:11:49) and Mandi Williams(4:29:59) just to pedal to the finish. Crawford finished in front, with a second place Williams and Men's Junior Ex winner Eric McCumbers(4:29:59) crossing the line side-by-side.

Hurricane Ridge MTB
Mike Boyes enjoying the single life
In the two lap race, sport rider Joey Riddle(2:13:16) crossed the finish line first, with Bobby Byrd(2:16:43) chasing hard and finishing second. Mike Boyes(2:26:44) decided he only needed one gear for this course, and finished 3rd overall while winning the sindle speed class.

Than White(2:51:29) cruised to another Clydesdale win, while finishing 7th for the two lappers, and Jenette Williams(3:03:26) took top honors for the Women Sport class, and finished 14th overall.

In the 1 lap race, Andy Morris(1:16:39) took the checkered flag for the men's Beginners, Eric Serdoz(1:28:33) led all Junior Sports, and the inspiring Patty Hobbs(2:42:23) finished first for the Women Masters.

Thanks go out to Scott Greene, and all his friends and volunteers who made this event happen. This was a great time, especially for a first time event, and with any luck, next year should prove to be even better.