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Sunday, July 23, 2000 -- Big Bear Lake - Bruceton Mills, WV
Big Bear Lake Mt. Bike Classic
Story by Marty Lamp, photos by Dave McKain and Diann Clothier

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]
[Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9] [Set 10] [Set 11]
[1998 Coverage][1999 Coverage]

Big Bear Lake MTB
High Speed in the singletrack
It might not have been the series finale as in years past, but the 2000 version of West Virginia's Big Bear Lake Mountain Bike Classic gathered a large crowd of racers and fans on Sunday, July 23rd. This popular race was the 9th of 15 WVMBA Points Series races.

Any Big Bear Lake mountain biking veteran will tell you that race director Mark Schooley has definietly been busy over the past year grooming and laying down some quality trails.

This years course was packed full of fresh singletrack and great, technical climbing and descending. Overall, though, it was fast, even with some mud bogs from the previous weeks rain.

Big Bear Lake MTB
Jeremiah Bishop heading into the final section
Sunshine and 70 degree temperatures made it a joy just to be outside, much less saddling up for 18.5 miles of prime mountain biking action. At 12 noon, anticipation filled the air as everyone gathered for the mass start at the main parking area, and Schooley started everything off with a bang from his hand cannon.

After 1-2 miles on rolling pavement and then gravel roads, a quick right took racers into the woods and onto the single track. Soft dirt lined the trails that were filled with tight turns, roots, rocks, and the occasional mud hole.

Although there seemed to be no long, steep, sustained climb, much of this course was gradually ascending, with short rolling hills in between. Everyone was treated to the "White Pines" section with its fast corners and banked turns, and one long, technically demanding downhill that was half double track and half stream bed.

Big Bear Lake MTB
Chris Eatough in hot pursuit
After coming up on the dam, it was time for some of the great new singletrack. Passing opportunites were scarce, and more than person flatted while trying to keep speed through the rocky sections. When all was said and done, everyone except beginners pedaled through one lap on this 18.5 mile track, while beginners managed a shortened 11 mile course.

As the pack hit the woods after the start, Jeremiah Bishop(1:28:16) and Chis Eatough(1:28:26) quickly took to the front. It was a game of cat-and-mouse for the two speedsters all the way to the finish.

"What a great race!", said a smiling Bishop afterwards. "Chris and I were trading positions all the way through the course - he would grab the lead, but I would never lose sight of him, then I would jump in front, and he would always be right behind me"

Big Bear Lake MTB
Sue Haywood doing what she does
The wiley Bishop did some smart course scouting before the race, though, and it payed off. "I (Bishop) pre-rode the final 1/2 mile twice before the race, and I knew that whoever made it to that final tight section first would probably be able to hold onto the lead, it's just real hard to pass in there."

"Chris was in the lead when I noticed the final section. I just kept my momentum through a small climb and was able to pass (Eatough) right before we entered the tight section, and it worked out for me. I've lost a few races in the final 200 yards purely because I didn't know where the finish line was."

Bishop, always quick with a smile and full of humility, has won the last four WVMBA Points Series Races. Eatough finished in second place, while Kevin Leyh(1:38:59) finished third for the Experts, and 4th overall.

Big Bear Lake MTB
Aaron Yevuta flying low
The fastest female on the course this day was none other than Sue Haywood(1:43:23), who appeared as fast as ever as she prepares to ride against the best in the world in the coming weeks. Haywood finished 11th overall, and Cassi Smith(2:01:01) finished second, while Mandi Williams(2:11:05) rounded out the top three Women Experts.

The Men's Vet Ex class was won by third place overall finisher Mike Capraro(1:36:26), while Matt Ross(1:41:08) crossed the line second for the Vet Ex's, and Allen Moore(1:43:27) finished third.

Big Bear Lake MTB
It's naptime for Anthony Schwartz
Other first place finished included Brett Hixson(1:45:33) for the Junior Experts, Donald Hosaflok(1:46:48) for the Men Sports, and Scott Root(1:47:44) for the Men's Masters.

Lisa Capinpin(2:14:50) got the win for the Women Sports, and Dowain Ford(1:54:09) grabbed the top spot for the Vet Sports. Charlie Brand(57:25) won the Men's Junior Sport race, and Brandon Elkins(1:00:33) took the win for the Juniors under 14.

Afterwards, everyone was treated to a fine pasta dinner and cold drinks, and some great cash and prizes were handed out to the winners. Thanks go out to Mark Schooley, Big Bear Lake, and all the volunteers who helped out along the way.