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Sunday, May 7, 2006 -- Coopers Rock State Forest - Morgantown, WV
Henry Clay 30K - WVMBA #3 (iPO Event Id#: 7322)

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9]

Event Coverage: [1998] [1999] [2000] [2001] [2002] [2003] [2004] [2005]

Story and photos by Julie Black

Photo by Julie Black
Catching air at the furnace
Coopers Rock State Forest, home of the flat tire, the busted frame, and the historic Henry Clay Iron Furnace. Two hundred years old and counting, the furnace stands as a landmark, fending off rooty vegitation. Mountain bikers from surrounding states gather annualy for the Wamsley Cycles Henry Clay 30K.

Third race in the WVMBA point series, the course provided a mix of tear-producing rocky uphills, short downhill sections, a scenic pond loop, and bridge crossings. The race is known for it's rolling, rocky hills, and the trails are famous for giving any level of rider a flat tire, deflated ego, and sometimes... both.

Less road and more trail was the main feature for the course start. After pedaling 2 1/2 or miles of rolling road, racers veered right down a short incline, on to some more downhills and on out for the first lap. Experts did 3 grueling 7-mile laps that presented ample challenges, with seemingly never ending, gradual, rocky climbs.

Photo by Julie Black
Nick Waite turns a few heads
Hauling gear down Clay Run Trail, I ran (literally) into race director, Rob Voorhees. "Who the heck was that?!" he exclaimed, wide-eyed and confused. Rob referred to a biker wearing green cruising uphill past us, no one else in sight. "Nick Waite I think." I sounded pretty confident. "He wears red though. He's riding for somebody new?" asked Rob. "Must be, sure did look like him." Then I headed down the trail to catch some more uphill photo-op misery.

Despite my aging eyes, my sight is one thing that's still 100 percent. Nick Waite was leading the pack, wearing new duds.

Former member of USA Cycling's (USAC) U23 National Mountain Bike and Road Teams, Nick Waite has signed on with Kelly Benefit Strategies. This 23-year old native of Davis, West Virginia has been racing since 1999. Waite began 2006 as one of the top 10 Americans on the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) ranking list. Riding for USAC, Nick competed in the 2005 U23 World Championships in Livigno, Italy and placed 28th. Waite adds another win to his list, finishing first overall in the Pro-Expert category in 1:56:25, finishing nearly 46 minutes ahead of his competitors.

Photo by Julie Black
Betsy Shogren, just a day at the races in WV
Service manager, master mechanic, and family man, T.J. Platt, returned to claim his 30K title. Platt rode his own race to claim 2nd (2:03:18). T.J. is a Pro-Expert rider for Dirty Harry's Bike Shop out of Verona, PA. Andrew Weidrick,1st Pro-Expert at the 2006 Big Bear Lake Bike Classic, finished 3rd on this day in 2:09:47.

Recently married road and mountain biker, Betsy Shogren, (formerly Schauer), has improved her performance this year. Starting off the season with two 2nd place finishes, and now a first place finish with a time of 2:43:54 in the Clay 30K, Shogren just seems to get better and better. Shogren rides for Team Custom Contracting. Mandi Riddle is no stranger to the podium either. Coming to the Pro-Expert circuit in 2004, Riddle of Team Vicious Cycles, has had her share of top finishes, most recent is her 3rd place finish in the Norba National Fitness Concepts Greenbrier Challenge and most notable, a 1st place finish at Mount Snow in the 2003 National Championship Series. Riddle claimed 2nd at Clay in 2:53:27. Melissa Showman finished 3rd in 3:03:55.

Photo by Julie Black
Hey, are we close to the top?
The Vet Expert men's crowd was 14 strong, and Gerry Pflug of Team Dirty Harry's finished 1st in 2:12:30. With 25 years bike racing experience (BMX and MTB), Gerry is a true vet of the sport. Top of the Men's Expert Masters class was Scott Root at 50 plus years young, of Team Gary Fisher/Dirty Harrys (2:24:56).

Susan Wren (2:07:30) of Team FTC - Breast Cancer Awareness took 1st for the Women's Sport Class. Age 19-34 Sport Men's top finisher Robert Preng (1:39:00) edged out Chris Flick by a minute for 1st. Steve Svoboda (1:43:36) was 1st for Men's Sport Vet out of a class of 19, and Pete Arner (1:46:25) took home top prize in the Sport Masters class. Audrey Kennedy (1:57:27), top Women's Vet rider, and Corey Chambers (1:56:58) went home as the 1st high school rider.

Single Speed pain lover, Gunnar Shogren, proved he's still got it with a 2:17:13, and Jeff Simcoe crossed as the top Clydesdale in 2:10:52.

Thanks to Wamsley Cycles of Morgantown, WV for all their support. Thanks to race director Rob Voorhees for marking the trail time and time again, even after hoodlums had tried to ruin it. The next race my Canon and I will be at is WVMBA #5, The Tour de Lake, so I'll see you there. Don't worry, there'll be a photographer at the Hancock 100 too. Look for him, he can't wait to get on his bike and shoot on the trail.