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Sunday, June 6, 2004 -- Canaan Valley Resort State Park - Canaan Valley, WV
Tour of Canaan (includes WVMBA Pts. #7) (iPO Event Id#: 6019)
Story and photos by Dana Harshberger

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]

Tour of Canaan
Bracing for the downhill rally
This past weekend, Granny was cooking up the Tour of Canaan, a look back to the good ol' days of mountain biking, where you showed up to an event with a bike, and did all the events on that same bike. No fancy 8 inch travel bikes for the downhills, no plush chair lift ride to the top, no switching of wheels for the road sections, and no super light cross country bikes with full suspension for the trails.

This event, which totaled four days of 14 events, took place from Thursday through Sunday, with Sunday also being stop number 7 in the West Virginia Mountain Bike Association Series. Riders competed for points for the Tour as well as for the WVMBA series during the 4 events on Sunday.

Tour of Canaan
Over the bridge baby
To wet your appetite the day started at the beautiful Canaan Valley State Park, with a parade to the first leg of the day, the River Road time trial section. As it sounds, the River Road section ran along a stretch of the Dry Fork River. Riders were sent off in packs of 6, (did someone say six-pack??!) to whip along this fast and flat section of the race, which ended in the tiny town of Hendricks. Riders then re-grouped in the town's park and fueled up for the next section, the Blackwater Canyon leg.

This part of the race, despite having the name 'canyon' in it, was a railroad grade uphill. Sounds easy enough, eh? But try 10 -meaty" miles of uphill! This section ended high a top the Allegheny mountains, in the historic town of Thomas, again with riders taking it easy in the sun that was trying to peak through the clouds. Some riders stopped in at the Purple Fiddle Coffee House (check them out sometime, great live music!) and took a lunch break.

Then it was on to the Thomas-to-Davis leg, a light and refreshing, six-mile sprint, which exactly like it sounds, went from downtown Thomas to downtown Davis.

Tour of Canaan
You want me to ride where?
After a quick re-group, came everyone's favorite part of the day, the Canaan Mountain leg, kind of like dessert! After spending most of the day on pavement, then gravel, and easy ol' railroad grades, the rocks and roots of the Plantation Trail were a welcome sight. And exactly what you've come to expect at the -Mountain Bike Mecca of the East". The day ended back at the Canaan Valley State Park, a nice 44-mile loop, through Davis and Tucker counties and the Canaan Valley.

With all the points tallied, Nick Ranno, visiting from Colorado for the upcoming NORBA event, took first in the Men's Pro/Expert division. Also of note are the 2 dudes who spent the previous three days battling it out for the Tour win, Benji Klimas and taking second, Jonathan Martin.

Tour of Canaan
Good times, great rides
In the Pro women's end of things, Betsy Schauer took first for the day, with Kristin Wilson and Anne Brie pulling in first and second respectively for the Tour. Also of note is 17 year old Lori Ware, who did the race with her dad. It always seems like there are a few who like a little extra punishment and chose bikes with only one gear. Joel Maynard was spinning away on his fixed gear, while Greg Moore went the distance of the entire Tour on a single speed!

Thirteen Beginners took to their own course, a double loop of day one's Prologue. The Beginner Women's race was tight, with seconds separating the contenders. Of course, it's impossible to be everywhere at once, so if anyone out there has a race tale they'd like to tell, please send it out way!

Behind the Scenes
As with any race, there are people behind the scenes that make the event actually happen. Thanks to Cheryl and Brandy, who not only let this reporter sleep on their couch, but also ran the timing system, and the countless other volunteers and Granny Gear staff who help put on not only this day of racing, but the Tour as well.