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Sunday, June 28, 2009 -- Marietta, OH / Wayne National Forest
The Wayne Ultra - WVMBA Ultra Series #2 (iPO Event Id#: 11657)

[Details] [Coverage] [Photos] [Overall Results] [Results by Class] [2008]

Wayne National Forest ... The Place to Ride

Story by Chris Swarr with photos by Alicia Mathers

Wayne Ultra Photo by Alicia Mathers
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Through years of dedicated volunteer effort from the River Valley Mountain Biking Association (RVMBA), the Mid-Ohio Valley has come to be known regionally and increasingly even nationally as a premiere destination for mountain biking. From North Bend State Park and Mountwood Park in West Virginia to the ever-expanding singletrack trail network in the city of Marietta, Ohio, there is no shortage of riding opportunity for cycling enthusiasts.

However, in the last few years one area in particular, the roughly 40,000 acre Washington County, Ohio unit of the Wayne National Forest, has seen a dramatic expansion of quality, sustainably-built trail mileage now open to bicyclists. So much in fact, that a mere cross-country race was not considered sufficient to showcase even a portion of the fantastic riding now available there.

Which is why RVMBA president and Marietta, Ohio resident Drew Smithberger acted on his longstanding dream of having a long-distance endurance event featuring the Wayne's trails, and was able to have it placed last year on the West Virginia Mountain Biking Association's multi-state Ultra Series race schedule.

Wayne Ultra Photo by Alicia Mathers
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The inaugural event was a success for a first-year race, but this year's June 28 The Wayne Ultra, a 45-mile course comprised of scenic trails and back roads (along with a shorter, 20-mile cross-country race), fielded nearly triple the racers from 2008, including a number of the eastern United State's top pro/expert riders.

With beautiful, balmy weather and nary a drop of rain, competitors spinning out of the Leith Run Campground just north of Newport, Ohio were confronted by mile after mile of flawless single-track trail meticulously hand built and maintained by RVMBA volunteers in conjunction with the National Forest Service, headed up by local master trail architect Rich Holmes.

After hours of heated racing, riders finally began trickling across the finish lines to receive cash, prizes, and well-deserved recognition for their efforts, although for most, just finishing this grueling, epic ride in the swelter of summertime was reward enough.

Top XXC Men's finishers, along with their hometowns and times, respectively were Gerry Pflug (Mt. Pleasant, PA; 3:49:27), Timothy Carson (Pittsburgh, PA; 3:55:34), and Ben Ortt (Fresno, OH; 3:56:00).

Those who stood upon the podium in Women's XXC included Michelle Johnson (W. View, PA; 5:21:14), Anna Seno (Athens, OH; 5:32:42), and Meredith Erlewine (Athens, OH; 5:41:25).

Wayne Ultra Photo by Alicia Mathers
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The top three riders in the Single-speed XXC class were Dave Light (Morgantown, WV; 4:12:56), Aron Yevuta (New Martinsville, WV; 4:20:54), and Jonathan Martin (Fairmont, WV; 4:23:46).

Men's XXC Masters placers were Rudy Sorka (N. Royalton, OH; 4:34:36), Brocc Kaylor (Champion, PA; 4:56:45), and Michael Boyes (Milton, WV; 4:57:45).

The Men's XC fastest three included Kyle Spisak (Mantua, OH; 1:53:50), Oliver Duncan (Buckhannon, WV; 1:57:36), and Luke Spisak (Mantua, OH; 2:02:36).

In the Women's XC, top finishers were Chalene Walters (Springdale, PA; 3:20:02) and Robin Broughton (Charleston, WV; 3:40:55).

A special thank you goes out to race committee members Ryan Smith, Bill Lane, Rich Holmes, and Drew Smithberger, and to all the many other volunteers who put in thousands of hours of legwork and trail work to make this fantastic event a reality.

All are also greatly indebted to the sponsors without whom the 2009 The Wayne Ultra would not have been possible. They are:

  • Vienna Bicycle Shop; Wilson Heating and Cooling; Dimex
  • Marietta Rowing and Cycling Club; Flexmag; Brad Carman, D.O., FACOS
  • Smith Rentals; River Valley Mountain Biking Association; Morrison Incorporated
  • Hammer Nutrition; Audio Extreme; West Virginia Mountain Biking Association
  • Sign Source; Trail Foods; Parkersburg Bicycle; the U.S. Forest Service
  • Subway; Crescent and Sprague Supply; and
  • UA Plumber, Pipefitters & Sprinklerfitters Union Local 168, Marietta, OH