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Saturday, June 17, 2000 - Sunday, June 18, 2000 -- Grantsville, WV
Appalachian Classic
Story and photos by Matt Marcus

[Details] [Coverage]
Results: [Overall Results] [Results by Class] [Kids Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]
[Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9] [Set 10]
[1998 Coverage] [1999 Coverage]

Appalachian Classic
The experts take off
"I thought the course was wickedly technical and the mud and slipperiness of it just made it so much harder."

Appalachian Classic 2000 champion Jeremiah Bishop(2:14:39) also said he felt like a plowhorse in the mud but he seemed very pleased after the awards. He held a large carved wooden bowl, one of the many items made by local artists that graced the generous prize table. "That is the coolest trophy I've ever got."

The race started with a bang as the antique muzzleloader was fired for each wave of riders. The experts did three laps, sport two and beginners went once around the tricky, twisty, slippery ups and downs of the eight-mile loop. The event is held in the Grantsville city park, which seems relatively flat at first glance. There is a golf course, tennis courts, a playground and a pavilion on a grassy knoll but as soon as you hit the woods the terrain turns vertical.

Appalachian Classic
Ryan Hobbs finishing in a downpour
You want vertical up? Try the goat's face or the ride up out of the pond. You like vertical down? Try out the power slide or the beaver slide down by wet and wild. (You like vertical up and down? Check out the pond jump!) The course was demanding on both riders and equipment. Promoter Jack Downs reported a record number of DNF's this year despite the slightly dampened turnout.

Overall winner Bishop was followed by former Classic winner Todd Reighley(2:19:28) for most of the first lap before taking the lead with junior Nick Waite right behind. Having never seen the course and after missing the pre-race meeting installing a chainring bolt, Bishop had to make a choice at the top of the power slide and he took the most well worn path- the bypass. "I come down to the bottom of this real slow technical switch back downhill and [Todd] had about a ten second lead on me just flyin'."

Appalachian Classic
The future stars get ready
"He took the bypass 'cause he didn't know which was which so I rode the power slide and caught him back really quick," said eventual second place Reighley.

Second place masters racer Greg McWilliams(2:03:42) also tried the bypass on the first lap but rethought his strategy after he realized he was passing the same people again on the road climb. Clydesdale winner Dannie Hillary(2:16:53) took the bypass and said he actually made time on his competitors.

Appalachian Classic
Idress Gooden enjoying the day
Home course favorite Eric McCumbers(2:36:39) held the lead in the junior's field for most of the race before hitting a tree and being passed by fourth place overall, junior expert winner Brett Hixson(2:29:43). "Overall I was having a blast out there." Hixson said. "I hung back the first two laps. I wasn't really feeling great the first two laps then the third lap energy just washed into me and I took off." Nick Waite's mechanical problems left him with three starts and no finishes in the Classic.

Vet expert winner Mike Boyes(2:43:33) had the same strategy as Hixson. "I seem to do better starting slow and bringing people in. The length of the race and having the fuel in me really helped me out. Just let the people come back to me and then just drop them. First point series win in ten years!"

Todd Reighley seemed to sum it up well. "I love this event. It's probably one of the best events that's come around. It's a newer event but it's really got hometown appeal. Everybody's great, you get fed, excellent course!"

Editors note: The Appalachian Classic is truly a "classic" event. From the pond jump to the custom crafts, this race is much more than just a race, it's a community celebration. Not 5 minutes after I pulled into Calhoun County Park on Saturday afternoon, I noticed I had a flat tire on my truck. As fate would have it, I had no spare, so I mentioned my situation to Jack Downs. Jack thought for a second, got on his two-way radio, and within an hour my rig was race ready again thanks to the efforts of Donnie Price and Rick Jarvis... and they wouldn't accept a penny for their work. This kind of helpfulness and hospitality is very refreshing these days, and is surely a testament to the fine folks of Grantsville. If you have never made it to this event, do yourself a favor, and be at the next one.