Sunday, May 18, 2003 -- Charles Fork Lake - Spencer, WV
Tour de Lake - WVMBA Pts. #7 (iPO Event Id#: 5322)
Story and photos by Don Parks
An impressive crowd of roughly 100 cyclists lined up for their amphibious assault on Charles Fork Lake and the seventh race in the 2003 WVMBA Series. The staggered start sent them up the paved access road, before hitting the fire road climb and onto the soggy trails.
Looking strong up the first climb were Jonathan Martin
(Specialized) followed closely by a new face on the 2003 WVMBA
circuit, Mike Walewski (Gary Fisher Mid Atlantic). As they
topped the fire road and headed into the single-track, Walewski
grabbed the lead position.
Walewski's lead was building as he came through for the first of two laps with almost a minute advantage. Next to complete lap one were Platt followed by Riddle as the conditions began to take their toll on bikes and riders. Head-to-toe, everyone was covered in mud with failing brakes the most commonly reported mechanical problem.
Riding with hydraulic disc brakes, Walewski was cruising and later
would tell us, "I felt good today, I just knew I wasn't going to be
caught." That was until early in the second lap a broken chain
forced him out of the race.
Since moving up from sport class in 2001, Riddle's best finish was a fourth place expert at this year's first race in Pipestem. That also was a race with terrible conditions as several inches of snow blanketed the course. But for the avid XXC racer, it seems he does best when the conditions demand the most.
The final lap was a battle between Platt and Riddle, and this day
Riddle was not going to be denied. He would hit the line for his
first WVMBA Points Series win at 2:04:12 with Platt following at
2:04:58. The next closest was third place finisher Shawn
Altizer at 2:07:34 with a spread out field behind him.
It didn't take long for series stalwarts Riddle and Smith to move out to the front. And it was Smith who was setting the pace in her attempt to halt the husband-wife double win for the Riddles.
Nothing changed during their second lap as the women all crossed the line in the same order they finished their first. Smith took first at 2:39:08 to Riddle's 2:43:35 for second. After seven races, this pair of ladies each has secured three wins. Buerkle took home her second third place series finish at 2:55:18.
There's going to be plenty more racing this year as the upcoming Race the Trace will mark the halfway point in the series. So let the fun continue and we'll just hope that it can't keep raining the whole year!