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Sunday, May 27, 2001 -- Bergoo, WV
Paul Bunyan MTB Race - WVMBA Point Series #5 (iPO Event Id#: 2623)
Story and photos by Dave McKain. Additional photos contributed by Diann Clothier.

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9]
See also: [1999 Coverage] [2000 Coverage]

Watch your step
Slippery footing everywhere
It was deja-vu all over again at the Paul Bunyan Mountain Bike race. The rain came down and made for a trecherous course including some wild stream crossings.

Trying to tell the story of a race from the perspective of a spectator can be difficult. I raced this course last year and, judging from the similar weather, conditions were pretty much the same. The long gravel/dirt road start tends to break apart the field and the following climb does more of the same. By the time you reach the top of the ridge you are either on your own or, at most, with a couple of other riders.

The trails in the area came about as the result of a lot of 4-wheeler action. While they are pretty wide, that doesn't take away from their challenging nature. Most of the course is strewn with loose rocks which kick you and your bike every which way as you head down the mountain. If you loose your concentration you are in for a world of trouble. With the rain soaked trails, you end up getting a face covered with gritty mud and it becomes harder and harder to keep crud out of your eyes.

Race Pic
Eyes on the trail
Just when you start to get comfortable with the conditions, here comes the stream crossing. Normally, you could probably ride through the stream (as the bottom is one big rock slab) but, with the continuous rain, the stream is now a rushing torrent. Luckily, the race promoters have put up a tether line to grab on to as you gingerly wade through the rushing, knee deep water. As an additional precaution, volunteers stand-by to throw out a safety line in case someone loses their footing. By the time you are half-way across the stream you begin to realize that besides running fast, the water is a might bit on the cold side. The only advantage is the nice, clean braking surfaces that you get when you are done with the crossing. Back on the bike, you head further down the mountain where, at the bottom, you have to cross the stream one more time. While the water isn't as fast, it's a bit deeper.

For the expert riders, it's time to head back up the mountain for yet another go but for the rest, 3 miles of gravel/dirt road to the finish.

Race Pic
Takes more than this to stop Cai Clothier
For the expert men, Jeremiah Bishop held off Kyle Dixon to take first place while Cassie Smith continued to dominate the Womens Expert followed by Mandi Williams and Laurie Johnston. In the Vet Expert class, Gunnar Shogren dusted off his mountain bike for the race (much to the chagrin of others in the classs), taking the win over Rob Gaus. In the mens sport classs, Steve Barbe held off Steve Gergely to take the win with Michael Raney taking third. In the womens sport, Amy Zirmeklis took the win followed by Amy Dunkin and Courtney Dudley.

Promoter Tom Lauderman treated the participants to a barbeque feast after the race and a great prize table. Kyle Dixon walked away with a Specialized road bike for having the highest combined finish between this race and Saturdays Woodchopper Clasic road race while many others won great prizes in a random drawing for all the participants.