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Sunday, May 11, 2008 -- Morgantown, WV / Coopers Rock State Forest
Henry Clay 30K - WVMBA #4 (iPO Event Id#: 10560)

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New Course, New Directors, Same Great Race

Article and photos by J.R. Petsko

Photo by J.R. Petsko
Matt Marcus, Best Master Racer
Two Year WVMBA Title
This past weekend the WVMBA rolled into the Morgantown area for round #4 of the West Virginia Point Series. The Henry Clay 30k race had a few changes this year, first of all a new race director.

Mountain biking legend Gunnar Shogren and iPlayOutside's own Don Parks decided to try their hands at putting on a race. With Gunnar's years of racing experience, he marked out a new race course that was a hit among all the racers. Even with the cold and rainy weather, 132 riders showed up to participate in the event.

At the starting line the clouds broke way and the sun started to shine. I thought to myself that we may be in luck. After a brief rider's meeting the masses of racers headed out on the course which was very soft and muddy from the previous days rain. I was able to catch up with the front of the pack after the climb out of Scott's Run Trail.

Photo by J.R. Petsko
Enjoying the day, rain and all
Out front of the race was Dave Walker who was just holding off Gunnar Shogren. The next rider to the top was Junior Expert rider Henry Spreng III, followed by series point leader Ben Ortt, Jeremy Rowand, Jason Cry and Steve Hill.

The leader looked tired after the long climb. The same could be said about the rest of the expert and sport riders that followed. The field was really spread out just a few miles into the race.

After finishing up my photos at the top of Scott's Run I move to the road side trail area to see some more action. On this section of the course the faces of pain I saw at the top of the last trail turn into expressions of enjoyment. This section was fast and fun. A testament of this was when Mike Goss of Sirianni's Cafe came by me giving, "Whoop-Whoop!"

Goss must have been having too much fun because right after he passed the skies opened up once again. A course that was staring to dry out was once again hammered by rain. With only half the race over it would challenge ever rider on the course. After a few more photos it was off to catch the finish.

At the line it was Dave Walker staying out front all day and finish with a time of 1:42:02. Second went to Ben Ortt in 1:42:41 followed by Gunnar Shogren in third finishing in 1:43:23. Jason Cyr took fourth in 1:45:49 followed by Steve Hill in fifth with a time of 1:46:54. Jeremy Rowand slide to sixth crossing the line in 1:49:43.

Photo by J.R. Petsko
Cassie Smith looking strong
In the women export class the battle was hot and heavy early on with Cassie Smith being the first to the top of the Scott's Run climb, but by the end Betsy Shogren was able to get by her to take the win finishing in 2:04:04. Smith was able to hold onto second crossing the finish in 2:11:55. Beth Desanzo rounded out the top three in women's ex with a time of 2:19:09.

Henry Spreng III continued to impress at Cooper's Rock like he has done all year. Spreng won the Junior Ex class finish in 1:48:28 but more impressive was he finished 8th overall for the entire race. Wes Rhoads took second in the class in a time of 2:17:02.

Like his son, Henry Spreng Jr., 'Senior' Spreng also won his Expert Vet class finishing in 1:49:54 followed by Gary Rodosta in 1:57:10. Chris Baker rounded out the top three finishing 1:58:20.

In the Men Expert Master class Matt Marcus continued his two year hold as best Master racer. In the last two years of racing in this class Marcus has finished first every race except for two times and in the two he never finished worse than second. Marcus finished the day in 2:01:23 followed by Matt Ross in 2:06:14. Bob Vernon took third in a time of 2:10:16.

The Henry Clay 30k was a great time and race directors Gunnar Shogren and Don Parks did a great job. Hope to see you all at Tour De Lake this weekend.

J.R. Petsko is the 2008 Executive Director of WVMBA, and also runs his own photography business, Nature's Essence Photography.