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Sunday, October 1, 2000 -- Mercersburg, PA
Tailspin Cross Country Race
Story and photos by Beth Herr

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

Tailspin XC
Getting started in Mercersburg
Sunday morning began cool and overcast, as a heavy fog persevered around the mountain at Whitetail Ski Resort. However, the sky would soon clear to reveal a beautiful afternoon as mountain bikers streamed through the courses at this years Tailspin Cross Country Race. Participants were separated into one of three divisions including Beginner, Sport, and Expert. Age categories for these divisions were split into Juniors (12-18 yrs), Seniors (19-34 yrs), Veterans (35-44 yrs), and Masters (45+ yrs).

The Beginners began their race at 10am. Starting behind the lodge, they pedaled a 5 1/2 mile course including Pine Loop, the newest addition to Whitetail's already abundant terrain. The fresh section, cleared this spring, consists of 4 1/2 miles of new trails. Scott Brown of New Oxford, PA (33:39) continued well through the course, not allowing me to get a photograph of him, and finished first overall in the Men's Beginner division. Todd Arnold of West Grove, PA (34:01) placed second with Mark Bishop of Carlisle, PA (34:49) close on his heels to place third.

Tailspin XC
Mike Capraro in hot pursuit of Jens Nielsen
Bikers in the Sport and Expert categories took off at 11am. The course consisted of an 8 1/2 mile stretch up the mountain and through a harrowing section of expert terrain dully titled The Funnel. This mile-long downhill section included more than its share of switchbacks, rocks, and roots to challenge the technical ability of the riders. After descending the mountain, the route crossed over to also give the racers their go at Pine Loop. Those competing in the Sport category circled through the course twice, while Experts biked three rotations.

Jens Nielson of Germantown, MD was the first to come down the funnel. He continued this lead a majority of the race, and placed first in the Men's Expert division with a time of 2:45:57. Next through was Mike Capraro of Ashburn, VA who sailed in at 2:49:45 to claim second place while Ed Krasnai of Frederick, MD took third with a time of 2:50:53.

In the Men's Sport division, Michael Blumentonl of Carlisle, PA finished his two laps at 1:59:14 for a first place win. John Keller, Ellicott City, MD took second (2:02:05) and Bill Bearley of Danville, PA with a time of 2:05:37 claimed third for the Sports.

Tailspin XC
The top two finishers keeping it clean
Amy Zirneklis of Leesburg, VA took home first in the Sport Senior Women's division. She placed 28th overall with a time of 3:20:48. Amy Hunt of Maryland and Jen Ulrich of Dallastown, PA not only tied for first place of the Beginner Senior Women's division, but both placed 25th overall with a time of 55:57.

At the finish line racers mulled around talking about the course and its elements. Although some felt trail 13 (The Funnel), was exceptionally difficult, most asserted it challenged all levels of riders. However, this was not the only issue that facilitated an abundance of dialogue. As it seems, someone stirred up a bees nest, literally, when they attempted to pass another rider. This caused a number of bikers to get stung. One such gentleman, felt it necessary to partially unclothe to rid himself from the fearsome insects. Sorry no photographs of that incident.

Some of the returning racers might have found the course a little different this year. Kim Rosenberry, Marketing Director of Whitetail, explained last years absence of The Funnel was due to excessive rain during the days previous to the race. However, this particular section is just part of the difficult terrain Whitetail is apparently known for. On the other side of the scale, although the new Pine Loop is not the toughest of terrain, Rosenberry stated "We're trying to create trails that will allow more new riders to race competitively."

A big thanks goes out to all the volunteers who helped out with the race, and all those who participated to make the day a fun way to wrap up the weekend.