WVMBA #1: Simonton Windows Challenge at Mountwood
WVMBA #1 16th Annual Simonton Windows Challenge at Mountwood Coverage:
Sometimes the hard work, planning, and execution of a diverse group of people come together in such a way that something really special happens. That's what took place this Sunday at Mountwood Park in Wood County, West Virginia at the first race for both the 2011 West Virginia Mountain Bike Association and Ohio Mountain Bike Championship points series.
The perfectly-timed arrival of stunning spring weather certainly helped as well. An event record 229 racers hailing from several states lined up just after noon under unseasonably warm, blue skies for the start of the 16th annual Simonton Windows Challenge at Mountwood mountain bike race. The course that lay ahead of them would offer all-new singletrack, heart-pounding climbs and descents, excellent flow, and would showcase the tireless efforts of the River Valley Mountain Bike Association to make the Mid-Ohio Valley a destination area for mountain biking adventure.
And indeed, the resounding consensus from participants was that the course layout and trails in general were a real pleasure to experience. Add to that nearly glitch-free execution for a first race by WVMBA and RVMBA workers, and what else could follow but that mix of joy and pain that make up any great bike race?
WVMBA president Drew Smithberger said afterwards that this is "a good sign for mountain biking across the region" and that the "sport is alive, well, and thriving." He also noted that what RVMBA does at Mountwood Park is a "great example of what mountain bikers contribute to the well-being of our communities," given that these trails receive thousands of visitors yearly and also host events put on by a number of other user groups.
This year's Challenge also put on a skill-development event before the race for younger riders looking to improve their abilities. It was hard to tell if the riders or spectators had more fun at this portion of the day's activities.
But the midday pistol was the main reason to attend for most present, and just under two hours after the race's start the first of the Men's Professional/Expert riders skipped across the finish line after twenty-six miles of intense riding. Chip Meek, who was anything but on a bike, convincingly grabbed first place in this class with a scorching sub two-hour finish.
Kyle Spisak finished in second, and Joey Riddle rolled for third in the Pro/Expert. Mandy Riddle, Joey's wife, put in a breezy first-place ride in the Women's Pro/Expert division, and Lauren Mika and Chrissy Buerkle took second and third, respectively. The Single-Speed class was won by Montana Miller, followed not-too-far behind by Nathan Annon and Derek Bissett.
The Men's Expert Vet class podium was taken by Peter Kotses, followed by Donald Powers and Acie Hylton. Men's Expert Masters saw Michael Boyes cross first. Donald Ciampanelli pegged second place and local hoss Steve Schumaker took third. Matt Schumaker, Steve's talented and speedy son, won the Men's Junior Expert class.
The Women's Sport class witnessed Shannon Tenwalde land first, while Angelina Palermo and Amanda Schmidt touched down in the order of second and third. Meredith Erlewine, very fast spouse of Vet Expert winner Peter Kotses, won the Vet Sport Women's race. Another very fast spouse and mom in a very fast family, Shelly Schumaker, pinned it for second in this class.
Men's Sport was won by Keith Hower; Jeff Cole took silver and Kevin Smyth bronze in this classification. Vinni Kish won Sport Vet, followed by Anthony Dickens and Aaron Ruggles.
Men's Sport Master saw Scott Young win with Jim Core next and Conrad Griffith right behind. Dan Mock, Greg McWilliams, and Dave Bloomer ranked first, second, and third in the Grand Master class, respectively.
After the dust kicked up by the Clydesdale class settled, local stallion Nathan Whitacre had galloped for first with Camdem Dierkes and Rich Barton thundering into second and third.
J.D. Barnette won the High School division followed by Tristan Broughton and Adam Cook.
Junior 14-and-under was won by Michael Crawford with Clayton Peeples in second. Matthew Gilmore nailed first in Men's Beginner with Tony Mellott and Chris Boland finishing in short order behind him. Women's Beginner was won by Sara Chua; Ranona Mernandez took second place and Jeni Green third.
A major "Huzzah!" goes out to all the racers, volunteers, and sponsors, without whom the Simonton Windows Challenge at Mountwood would not be possible.
Sponsors include: Simonton Windows; Vienna Bicycle Shop; Parkersburg Bicycle; Mother Earth Foods; the West Virginia Mountain Bike Association; Enterprise Rent-a-Car; Mountwood Park; Janney; Leavitt Funeral Services; Papa John's; Wood County Emergency Communications; Flexmag; Parkersburg Orthopedics; Miller Door; Solvay; Deerwalk VFD; Foodland; Forced Air Supply, Inc.; Dimex Corporation; Conn's Potato Chips; Little Debbie Snacks; audioExtreme; Barker Bradley Blinn Insurance Agency; Pepsi; Ketel 1 TeamWear; and the River Valley Mountain Bike Association.
Again, thanks to all for your participation and we can't wait to see you next year!