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Sunday, May 3, 2009 -- Parkersburg, WV / Mountwood Park
Challenge at Mountwood
(iPO Event Id#: 11642)

[Details] [Coverage] [Photos] [Overall Results] [Results by Class] [More Photos]

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One Word . . . Top-Notch

Story by Chris Swarr with photos by Drew Smithberger and Alicia Mathers

Challenge at Mountwood MTB
Photo by Drew Smithberger
The 2009 Challenge At Mountwood promised to be another first-class event that would pit top riders from the West Virginia Mountain Bike Association (WVMBA) Points Series and the Ohio Mountain Bike Championship (OMBC) Points Series against each other in a race for points, cash, prizes, and cross-state bragging rights on a course renowned for both superb single-track and the perennial possibility of inclement spring weather.

And indeed, the single-track was well prepped for action by the diligent crews of the River Valley Mountain Biking Association (RVMBA) and yes, the early-season weather of the Mid-Ohio Valley did make its presence felt in the form of rain in the days leading up to and on the day of the race. But compared to previous years when the precipitation had on occasion been in the form of snow, a light rain, balmy temperatures, and a little bit of mud was really no cause for complaint.

At noon 174 total racers grouped by class began the race in staggered fashion from the scenic Mountwood Lake marina parking lot, heading up a steep gravel path for about a mile to the beginning of the single-track action. What followed would keep the bike wash station busy for hours afterwards.

The Men's Expert class wound up as a duel between Ben Ortt and Dave Walker, with Ortt taking the overall win at just under 2 hours and 4 minutes. Walker finished 1:08 behind. Jeremy Rowland, Brad Wilhelm, Nathan Annon, Ryan Hobbs, Steve Hill, and Gunnar Shogren rounded out the top eight finishers.

Challenge at Mountwood MTB
Photo by Alicia Mathers
Gerry Pflug lit up the Single Speed class with a time just over 2 hours and 16 minutes. Montana Miller and Jonathan Martin took the remaining podium spots in this class deservedly recognized for its masochistic tendencies.

Men's Vet Expert was won by Pete Kotses, followed by Chris Nichols and George Herriot. The Men's Masters Expert was clinched by Scott Root, with Matt Marcus and Brocc Taylor finishing second and third respectively. Wes Rhoads took the Men's Junior Expert class.

In the Women's Expert class Cassie Smith held off Betsey Shogren for the top podium spot, with Christina Burerkle, Mandi Riddle, Meredith Erlewine, and Ruth Cunninghan completing the field. Mary Schardt captured the Women's Vet title. Women's Sport podium finishers began with Joanna Massetti, followed by Sara Lampo, and concluded with Lindsey Prososki in third place.

J.R. Petsko continued his streak in the Clydesdale class by taking first, followed by Richard Price and Steve Little.

John Proppe grabbed the laurels in the Men's Sport class by finishing over 3 minutes ahead of Dave Farnham and Alex Okolish, with Farnham edging Okolish by just 2 seconds. Men's Sport vet was taken by Michael Fletcher, closely followed by Danny Welsch and Dave Brown. In the Sport Master's Steve O'Bryen won, Conrad Griffith placed second, and John Wagner took third.

Challenge at Mountwood MTB
Photo by Drew Smithberger
The Men's High School class was won by Bobby Thorton. Scott Jones snagged second in his first race at this age level and Skyler Terrel pulled third.

The Women's Beginner winner was Jody Blough, with Alena Klimas pinning down second place, and Amy Pelaston finishing in third. A large Men's Beginner class saw Andrew Miller win followed by Nathaniel Miller and Rodney Reed.

Finally, the top 14& Under finishers were Ethan Strauss, Garrett Turner, and Arron Stavrakis, respectively.

A big thanks goes out to:

  • Mountwood Park,
  • Series Providers: RVMBA, WVMBA, and the OMBC.

Sponsors: who made this top-notch event possible, including ...

  • Simonton Windows, Vienna Bicycle Shop, Janney,
  • Wilson Heating and Cooling, Leavitt Funeral Services,
  • Barker Bradley and Blinn, Dimex, Foodland,
  • Parkersburg Bicycle, Parkersburg Orthopedic Associates, Mother Earth,
  • North Bend Outfitters, Solvay, Bob's Bicycle Shop,
  • Miller Door, Deerwalk VFD, Pepsi, Papa John's Pizza,
  • and Wood County Emergency Communications.

Volunteers: Thanks to the many volunteers who put in so many countless hours for this great cause.

First-time CAM promoter Duane Jones deserves special recognition for bringing together a banner day without any prior experience, and hats off to lead trail zealot Pat Safstrom and his handsaw and adze hoe wielding band of trail hands for a well-drained, deadfall-free trail system. See you all next year!