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Saturday, May 9, 2009 -- Eleanor, WV / Eleanor Park
Bayer Cropscience 12 Hours Of Creek to Peak (iPO Event Id#: 11661)

[Details] [Coverage] [Photos] [Overall Results]

Despite Conditions, It was Stellar

Article and photos by Theresa Svoboda (with some insight from Larry Perkins)

Creek to Peak Photo by Theresa Svoboda
Killer downpours made for a soupy ride
As brutal as the conditions were for the Bayer Cropscience 12 hours of Creek to Peak, the race was a genuine success. Held on Saturday, May 9th in Eleanor, WV, the course itself was impressive. Eleanor Park offered miles of true singletrack, big boulders jutting out from cliffsides, and navigable roots and rocks from start to finish. Some oddities about the success may be that it was absolutely grueling conditions for all, with Mother Nature dolling out inches of rain the days prior to the race.

Larry Perkins, race director, vented a bit after his third time up on the trail to try to create some drainage channels: "We had to change the course last minute, so many trails were un-ridable. The downpours over the last three days are killin' us!" Larry and his crew worked very hard to make this race happen, constructing miles of trail in a park that has vast ecological shifts in nature as the weather changes. Many had plenty to say (mostly un-repeatable) after coming in on the first lap.

Rider Dave Pryor of Emmaus, PA, really loved riding the miles of "swoopy single track" but didn't really like the fact that his custom Maverick died on the middle of the course. It was probably the combination of the swoopy singletrack, ravine drop offs and cement-like mud that did it in for good. Riding alongside Dave was wife, Selene Yeager, a blogger for Bicycling magazine.

Creek to Peak Photo by Theresa Svoboda
Some welcome sunshine
They decided it was worth the long ride from Allentown after receiving First place honors in the Co-ED Duo, riding 4 laps in 9hrs 30 minutes. Selene had this to say: " The conditions may have turned abysmal on Saturday, but the race was still second to none. Incredible course, wonderful support crew..." She goes on "We're mountain bikers. We know that conditions can be tough. You accept that and you do your very best!"

Another standout female rider was solo woman Chrissy Buerkle, finishing 4 laps in 8:36 and finishing with a smile. Pittsburgh ProBikes also took a first place win in the Men's Duo, finishing a total of 5 laps in just 9:34. Kris Aldridge was the only one brave enough to go for a 6th lap with a time of 12:41. Crazier yet was that Kris was riding in the solo single speed category. Awesome job!

WVMBA had to respesent, garnering a first place win in the Clydesdale category. The "WVMBA Fatboys" completed 3 laps in 7:40.

Creek to Peak Photo by Theresa Svoboda
Petsko presently leads the clydesdales
In the 3 person Men's Sport, La Mafia got a first place win with 4 laps at 8 hrs, four minutes. Taking home a win, Ryan Hobbs won 1st place overall in the Men's Solo, riding 5 laps of the course in just 10 hours and 19 minutes. Congratulations to all the winners, who were smiling by the time the Rudy Project prizes, cash and trophies were handed out.

So, driving home from the race, I contemplated how in the world I could summarize this race in a fair way and noticed a bumper sticker that said "Love Wins".

Thinking about the broken bikes, all the cables and pads that would need replaced, the grimaces at the finish line and all the frustration I felt from the racers, I thought of each riders real contribution. Every entry into that race helped the non-profit organization that Larry Perkins started called "Pathways to a Healthier Tomorrow."

I thought of all the gear and bikes that would be gifted to disadvantaged kids and how they, too would have a chance to ride a bike in Eleanor Park.

I thought of all the physical and mental challenges every rider got through after the Creek to Peak.

Lastly, I thought how truly lucky they all were to feel all the things they felt in the beautiful, highly unpredictable sport of mountain biking ... Gotta love it!