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Sunday, February 11, 2001 -- Davis, WV
Mountain State 25 KM XC Ski Race
Story and photos by Dave McKain

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3]

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Jim Samuels wows the crowd
with his techniqe and speed
Temperatures in the previous week had soared up to an unseasonably high 70 degrees which of course didn't bode well for conditions at the Mountain State 25KM XC Ski Race at Whitegrass XC Ski Center in Canaan Valley. Luckily this winter brought plenty of snow earlier and chilly temps the day before the race left enough snow and ice to make for rideable (albeit icy) course. The day was graced with excellent weather for the race as the sun shone brightly and temps hung around 30 degrees. The reduced amount of snow did make for a much shorter loop than originally planned and to reach 25KM everyone would have to do 6 laps around the course in addition to a short prologue.

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Nick Waite
Jim Samuels, fresh off his victories at Laurel Ridge the previous weekend, spent little time establishing himself as the dominant force of the day, crossing the start/finish line over a minute ahead of the next skiier after the 2KM prologue. Following behind was a group led by Nick Waite including John Brockenbrough and local guide Charlie Waters. While Samuels continued to extend his lead, Brockenbrough and Waite broke started to seperate themselves from the pack and the race was on for second. The icy conditions favored the skaters in the group and made the going tough for classic skiiers Rick McCall and Jaime Alvarez who valiantly brought up the rear.

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Brockenbrough skates his way
to a second place finish
Two laps into the race Brockenbrough took over second place from the youngster Waite. While this battle continued on, Jim Samuels proceeded to catch up and lap the slower riders and, with one lap to go, was hot on the heels of Brockenbrough and Waite. By this time, Brockenbrough had put a substantial gap on Waite. It looked as if Waites only hope would be that Brockenbrough would expend too much energy trying to keep from being lapped, allowing Waite to catch up in their final lap. While Brockenbrough was caught and lapped by Samuels with less than 1KM to go to the finish, the Ironman triathlete was far from running out of energy.

Race Pic
Classic race winner Rick McCall
Unlike cyclocross bicycle racing where everyone finishes after the winner, everyone would have to perservere and finish out the full 25KM after Samuels crossed the finish line with a time of 53:49. Brockenbrough (1:03:36) took second place followed by Waite (1:05:57). Charlie Waters (1:16:02) took fifth overall and took the first place womens honor. Rick McCall (1:42:27) held off Jaime Alvarez (1:49:16) to take first in the classic category. The racers gathered in the Whitegrass Cafe afterwards for some mighty fine eating and excellent prizes.

Touring center proprieter Chip Chase put on a great event with the help of his able staff and race director Matt Marcus. While the snow conditions may vary with mother nature the hospitality and karma at the White Grass Touring Center remain excellent no matter what the weather.