Sunday, April 25, 2004 -- Big Bear Lake - Bruceton Mills, WV
Big Bear Lake MTB - WVMBA Pts. #3 (iPO Event Id#: 6014) Story and photos by Heather Rau
The morning began with the kids race starting at 10:00 am. The field of 4 looked strong and unafraid of the challenges ahead. As I interviewed each racer, I was able to get a feel for the up and coming superstars of the single track world. Samantha Ford, racing since she was 4 years old, was itching to get going. She placed third overall with a time of 10:01 and said, "I liked the rocks, the roots and the downhills the best. I just let my bike go!" Josh Coit who recently moved to West Virginia from North Carolina, took first place with a time of 9:11. He loved the downhills but exclaimed, "They could use a few more jumps". Cody Shanklaud took second with a time of 9:46 and Tanis Goff, his first race ever, came in fourth with an impressive time of 12:28. Way to go guys and gal.
The women were out in full force. This field that has grown larger throughout the years. One fine example of this is Kristy Mantz of Dirtbean.com/Titan America. She has raced in the Mid-Atlantic Division Series as well as the Norba Nationals as a pro since 1998. Kristy along with the Dirtbean.com team looked as ready as ever to take on the 18 mile trek through the Big Bear. Chrissy Buerkle from Pittsburg was psyched to be in WV too. She made the trip for the terrain and the competition. "The Pittsburg area just doesn't provide the conditions and competition for women as West Virginia does." said Buerkle. She has been racing for 3 years and has turned pro in 2004.
The race kicked off from under the Red Bull Arch at 12 noon with a bang. Mass starts of each group led the racers down the paved road, to dirt, and then into the woods for some of the best single track in the area. Fortunately, only a few of the first racers were taken off course at one point. A few extra miles and a good story to tell in the end was the result of that. No one seemed to be worse for the wear.
Afterwards, everyone was treated to a fine pasta, salad, sweets and lemonade after the race was finished. Great cash prizes as well as many others donated from area bike shops were handed out to the winners. Thanks go out to Mark Schooley, Bob Vernon, Big Bear Lake, and thanks to all volunteers who made it a terrific place to be on race day.