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Sunday, August 29, 2004 -- Holly River State Park - Hacker Valley, WV
Holly River Revenge - WVMBA Pts. #13 (iPO Event Id#: 6028) Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9]
Past Coverage [1999] [2000] [2001] [2002] [2003]

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Making a splash at Holly River
The thunderstorms held off until everyone was fed a fine meal and most all the prizes had been handed out. Before that it was some of the best riding you can ask for in beautiful Holly River State Park. There was the exception of a nasty swarm of bees that showed up to add a literal sting to some of the riders. But on the whole, it was just a lot of fun riding and racing on a warm August afternoon.

Getting to Holly River State Park requires a long drive on winding mountain roads. If you are prone to bouts of car sickness, be prepared with a dose of Dramamine. Once you arrive it does not take long to realize why you went through the trouble. Holly River is the second largest park in the West Virginia park system with a total of 8,101 acres. Nestled in a narrow valley, the park is surrounded by heavily forested mountains some reaching heights of over 2,800 feet.

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Muscling through the singletrack
The race at Holly River starts with a 3+ mile gradual climb out of the valley on a dirt road. Add in a staggered start and you have an excellent way to begin a race. As the first riders topped the dirt road and headed woods, it was Shawn Altizer leading the way.

Once in the woods it wasn't long until T.J. Platt worked is way up onto the wheel of Altizer. Also gaining ground was Expert Vet rider Gunnar Shogren who had actually arrived a little late to the starting line.

As the racing continued the expert riders where eventually directed off on an additional loop that contained plenty of rocks gardens for their enjoyment. This gave the leading sport riders a chance to catch back up. This meant a little traffic for the experts as the hit th final miles of single track heading for the finish.

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Reaching top speed
With the sport and expert fields mixing it up, Altizer was still holding off Platt. But on the final climbs, Altizer's motor started running down and Platt was their to grab the lead.

Platt went on to take the win in 1:44:26 with Altizer hanging on for second at 1:46:21. Rolling in for the third podium spot was Joe Stone at 1:48:40.

The next expert to cross the finish was Dan Wilson at 1:49:10. Wilson has been dominating the Expert Junior field all season. Chasing the youngster to the line was the seasoned veteran rider Gunnar Shogren who handled the Expert Vet field easily with a win in 1:49:39.

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Thanks volunteers and fans!
In the women's Expert race Cassie Smith rode off the front early and never looked back. She took the win in 2:14:11 followed by Mandi Riddle (2:18:21) and Melissa Showman (2:22:47).

Wherever you finished the day's race, a catered meal of lasagna with all the fixings was waiting. You don't come across many post race meals that are this good! Oh, and did we mention the fabulous prize table?