Saturday, August 18, 2001 -- Smoke Hole - Franklin, WV
The Gnarly North Fork - WVMBA Point Series #11 (iPO Event Id#: 2634)
Story and photos by Dana Harshberger
Additional photos (set 5 through 7) contributed by Diann Clothier
Once racers made it past the ominous signs of "Authorized Personal Only" the banners of "Pedal Pendleton" and "Gnarly North Fork" were a welcoming sight. At the pre-race meeting, not only did race director Glenn Hofecker, say a few words, but the recreational director of the base and the second-in-command also welcomed the smaller than usual group of riders.
Remember the races of year's past? Well, forget those, this year's
course was not a point to point, but a lolly-popped shaped loop. The
racers started at the naval base's ball field, exited the grounds and
begun a long slow climb up pavement, into National Forest, onto gravel
roads, then fording a few deep streams, into the woods, back out onto
gravel and up, up, up. Word has it that Glenn is fond of the climbs,
but he definitely treats you right on the sweet downhill. After
exiting the downhill and though a cool deep steam, it was a backtrack
to the base.
In the Women's end of things, Cassie Smith worked on maintaining on her lead of the WVMBA point series. She took charge at the get go, and worked to maintain her lead through out the race. The women's competition was strong with Sue George (2nd), Mandy Riddle (3rd) and Kristin Wilson (4th) also on the attack. Ms. Wilson, who seemed to be plagued with her share of a crashes and a flat, would not allow a little thing like a flat tire to have her DNF, running her bike across the finish line!
Something new to the race this year, was the addition of a 'team'
category. Consisting of 4 persons, only one of which could be a
pro/expert, the team with the best time would win. Alas, only one
team entered, and of course they won! In addition to receiving a
groovy little wooden version of West Virginia, they also get the
'heads up' award for reading the flier!
A great big hand should go to all of the volunteers that man the ample water stations, the also amazing amount of rescue personnel that seem to be all over the woods. And helmets off to Glenn and the ladies at registration and the timing tent! Yet another great job!