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Sunday, September 17, 2000 -- Flat Top, WV
Free Wheeling Mountain Bike Race
Story and photos by Dave McKain

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]

Free Wheeling MTB
How 'bout some hills?
A picture perfect day greeted competitors in the 2000 Free Wheeling MTB Race at Winterplace Resort. Racers, who had become used to hot, humid conditions through the grueling summer months welcomed temperatures in the 70's and low humidity.

The course, which wound through the resort grounds, consisted of steep, off camber climbs, rolling fire roads, several winding singletrack stretches, and some heinous drop offs. Racing was definitely going to be intense as this was the last chance to get points before the final race of the WVMBA championship series.

The expert classes headed out first with the sport and beginner classes following at two minute intervals. Getting the hole shot and leading into the first climb was Morgantown's Benji Klimas(1:48:48) who quickly surrendered the lead to Mongoose rider Ryan O'Connor(1:41:55). Joining O'Connor at the front was K2/Sun rider Jeremiah Bishop(1:37:05) followed closely by Junior Expert Nick Waite(1:42:11). Bishop shortly took the charge and, over the first lap, built almost a minute lead on the now chasing group of O'Connor and Waite. Behind the Pro/Expert riders, Allen Moore(1:58:45) worked his way to a lead in the very competitive Expert Vet class followed in close order by Brocc Kaylor(1:56:43), Steve Thaxton(1:58:53), Matt Ross(2:02:19) and Matt Marcus(1:58:20).

Free Wheeling MTB
Jeremiah Bishop off the front
Two and a half laps into the three lap race, Bishop held a comfortable 4 minute lead with O'Connor and Waite still duking it out for second overall. Further back in the pack, Vet Expert Brocc Kaylor turned up the heat while Allen Moore started to fade as they attacked the major climb of the course for the last time. By the time they reached the top, Kaylor passed Moore while the rest of the pursuing Vets started to make up time on the former leader.

Within two miles of the finish, Bishop had built almost a 5 minute lead while O'Connor and Waite continued to fight. While it looked like the Granny Gear rider may be able to pull an upset, O'Connor opened the throttle and put 15 seconds on the up and coming Waite by the time they got to the finish line.

Free Wheeling MTB
There's no limit for Sue Haywood
In the Vet Expert class, Kaylor approached the final 2 miles with a comfortable minute lead and the chasing group of Moore, Marcus and Thaxton were left to battle for 2nd place points. With less than a mile to go, Marcus put the hammer down and passed Moore to take second in the class. Moore was then faced with charging Steve Thaxton but was able to hold onto third place at the finish by a mere 8 seconds.

In the other classes, Treks Sue Haywood(1:51:21) cruised to a first place win in the Pro/Expert Women class taking 6th place overall. Aron Yevuta(1:56:36) edged out Clay Evans(1:56:42) to take 1st in the Mens Sport Class while the Men's Sport Vet class was handily won by Rick Elkins(2:02:35). Laurie Johnston(1:49:08) took the win in the Women Sport class and Patty Hobbs(2:49:49) finished first in the Womens Master class.