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Saturday, September 9, 2000 - Sunday, September 10, 2000 -- Hopedale, OH
Mickey's Mountain Bike Challenge
DH & DS photos by Marty Lamp, XC photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
Results: [Downhill] [Dual Slalom] [XC O/A] [XC by Class] [Trials]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9]
[Set 10] [Set 11] [Set 12] [Set 13]
DH Set 1-2; DS Set 2-6; Beg/Nov XC Set 6-9; Exp/Spt XC Set 9-13

Flying at Mickey's
You can win big at Mickey's Mountain... and you can crash big
On a sweltering weekend in eastern Ohio, a large gang of two-wheeled madmen (and madwomen) came to test Mickey's Mountain's wonderful mix of cycling adventures. With all the fun starting on Saturday, it was the downhill and dual slalom racers who first tested their mettle.

The warm and dry weather meant the courses would be blazing fast, or at least, begging the competitors to attempt blazing fast runs. In the expert class, it was Jered Raflik and Josh Clark proving to be the best at taking advantage of gravity in the downhill event. Clark's second run time of 52.575 was several seconds ahead of the third place finisher, but Raflik, riding for Phat Matts Chain Reaction out of Dayton, Ohio, still had the fastest time after just his first run. His second run just solidified his hold on the top spot with a winning time of 51.135.

In the sport class, Matt Rupert used an excellent first run to dominate the competition with a winning time of 51.796. The beginner class was won by Robert Hughes who recorded a best run of 1:05.114.

Dual Slalom
Going head-to-head in the Dual slalom
After blasting down through the woods on the downhill course, it was now time to switch sides of the hill to challenge the dual slalom gates. The fantastic speeds made for a great day of racing, and spectating, as the banked turns where fast and the jumps huge.

In the brutal heat on the parched and dusty hillside, the first hard left hand turn, just before the always exciting double jump, proved to be the key to a good run. When all the dust cleared in the expert class, it was no surprise to find Jered Raflik standing on top of the podium. In six runs down the course, Raflik recorded the six fastest times of the day. His amazing consistency landed him at the finish of each of his runs in a time between 19.795 and 20.161 seconds.

Other class winners included sport racer Eric Gazdik and beginner rider Clayton Covats. Possibly taking a glimpse into the future of racing, the young Mike Hughes was impressive in a solid performance winning the beginner junior class.

Big Air
Going big in the dual slalom
After a night of camping and test rides on the mountain's numerous single-track trails, Sunday morning came ready to host the cross-country races and trials competition. With little change in the weather, the heat and humidity were certainly going to take its toll on the riders.

While the XC action was covering a variety of terrain over a 6 mile circuit, the trials riders were busy, too. They rolled, jumped, bounced and balanced themselves through a confined course made up of obstacles of all sorts. Doing the best at dancing on their pedals were expert stock class winner Cory Ross and expert modified winner Richard Clasen. Also doing well were Brad Taylor, sport stock class winner, Elliot Frost, sport modified winner, and Donald Ziolkowski, winner in the beginner class.

Mike Rucker
Concentration required on the non-stop single-track
Back out on the trails, it was the novice (1 lap) and beginner (2 laps) classes that first tested their endurance in the XC racing. Among the novice riders, Aaron App (28:42) and Andrew Marburger (30:38) looked more like seasoned veterans in taking first and second, respectively. The first women novice, and the third overall finisher among the one lap racers, was Lisa Szalinski (43:10).

The beginner class was not without its own dominating performance as Chris Nelson hammered over the competition with an overall best time of 1:03:37, and a beginner senior class win. But, behind Nelson, plenty of close racing was contested as the second through sixth place finishers were only separated by 38 seconds.

Finishing second overall, and the second beginner senior, was Kyle Garner (1:07:18) with Tyler Rippel (1:07:24) following close behind for the beginner junior win. Craig Troyer (1:07:56) took the beginner veteran win while Jeff DeBucci took home the bacon in the beginner clydesdale class. The first woman to complete two laps was Amy Jones (1:20:42) with Denny Garman (1:28:57) getting the win in the forever young beginner masters class.

Doug Sotman
The art of avoiding XC obstacles
Racing the longer distances, three laps and four laps, were the sport and expert fields, respectively. The small expert senior field was led to the finish by TJ Platt (1:48:10) while Erin Ford (1:54:19) took advantage of Todd Tallman's DNF to grab the second spot. Other four lap winners included Will VanNostran (2:12:34), expert veteran, and Veronica Leonard, expert women.

The three lap racers watched as Ben Ortt jumped out to an early lead and seemed destined to leave the rest of the field in his wake. That scenario may well have taken place had it not been for a flat tire on his final lap. His best efforts to run his bike to the finish left him just short with a fourth overall finish at 1:32:18, second in the sport senior class. Taking advantage of Ortt's misfortune was Kurt Buddendeck (1:32:01) who passed Ortt on the final climb to take the sport senior win with the second best three lap time.

The best time in the sport class was clocked by Bill Lamar (1:28:43) who took home honors for the fastest sport veteran. Finishing third overall in the three lap event was Doug Sotman (1:32:06) who earned the sport junior win for his efforts. Additional first place awards went to Jim Claudius (1:55:32), sport masters, Tanya Kriley (2:22:09), sport women, and David Lewis (2:25:45), sport clydesdale.

With another weekend of racing complete, it was now time to start planning strategies for the Mickey's Mountain Ohio State Championships on October 21st and 22nd. Hope you can make it for all the racing fun, you can be sure that iPlayOutside won't miss it!