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Saturday, April 12-13, 2008 -- Parkersburg, WV /Mountwood County Park
Simonton Windows Challenge at Mountwood - WVMBA #2/OMBC #2 (iPO Event Id#: 10558)

[Details] [Coverage] [Photos] [XC Results] [DH and TT Results]
Also see the [ Downhill/Time Trials Photos ]

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WVMBA, OMBC, and Lots of Soft Wet Earth

Photos by and article by Julie Black

Mandi Riddle photo by Julie Black
Mandi Riddle braves the muddy creek
Referred to as one of the best kept secrets of Wood County, West Virginia, Mountwood Park offers 2,600 acres of wilderness which includes over 25 miles of bike trails.

No matter what the weather, Mountwood's a great place to ride. And that's a good thing considering the circumstances presented on race day, April 13th.

Saturday, April 12th was perfect. The day had mild temperatures, sun and blue skies, plus mostly dry trails all around. The Downhill Race and Time Trials were fun for all.

Sunday, the rains came for the Simonton Windows 2008 Challenge at Mountwood. This event provided points for two popular area series, the West Virginia Mountain Bike Points Series, and the Ohio Mountain Bike Championship Series. Some riders are in both series, while others were in one or the other, and some just came out to race for the heck-of-it.

With a new course and extensive maps, riders prepared for a long day of mud and blood thanks to pre-race rain. But alas, this is mountain biking in WV after all. Rain or no rain, winners took home $2,500 in prizes, $1,000 of which were cash prizes.

Photo by Julie Black
Mountwood Deer Crossing...
It was hard to know what to wear. The air was cool, the rain was constant, but the pedaling would be furious. Most riders opted for more rather than less.

The outstanding genes award goes to the Spreng Family. Henry Spreng Sr. topped the Men's Expert Vet class with a fast time of 1:56:18. Henry Spreng III, age 16, was the first Men Junior Expert in 1:51:23. Robert Spreng claimed 4th overall in the Expert Men's class. Man, what's in their water and can I have some?

Leading out from the start were Expert Men Dave Walker and Gunnar Shogren. (There was another, but I didn't catch him on the camera.) Tim Carson and Rob Spreng were also in that group.

Carson would end up first in 1 hour and 44 minutes (54 sec.). Ben Ortt, who was 6th out of the gates claimed 2nd (1:45:41), and Andy Gorski (1:46:12) finished 3rd. All top three Expert Men were 30-something. So, there's something to be said for experience with elements there.

Chris McGill photo by Julie Black
Chris McGill says, just another day out of the office
Expert Woman rider, Betsy Shogren, lead pretty much from the start. She rode on (with a muddy smile might I add) to her first win of the WVMBA season. Shogren's time was 2:17:08. Amanda Sproat (2:20:32) was 2nd and Chrissy Buerkle (2:22:02) third.

Matt Marcus busted out in 2:08:14 to finish first for the Men's Expert Masters. No doubt that riding in Davis Blackwater mud helps out Matt's pre-season training.

Martin Sanders dominated the men's Sport Class with a time of 1:50:49, nearly 4 minutes ahead of the rest of the field, 26 other riders. Davis Farnham took 2nd in 1:54:56, and Josh Kunz (1:59:17) was 3rd.

Audra Smolek(3:08:13) was first for Women's Sport. Sarah Fletcher crossed the creek as the first Women's Vet.

Steve Schumaker topped the Men's Sport Master (2:00:34) while George Herriott (1:53:53) lead the field of 18 in the Men Sport Vet class.

Mountwood Photo by Julie Black
Saturday dry downhilling
The Single Speed class saw 10 racers, with Chris McGill (1:57:15) holding off Chip Meek for first.

Chris Spring (not to be confused with Spreng) was the Men's High school champ with a time of 2:00:49.

The top Clydesdale of the day was Chris Swarr who finished in 2 hours 10 minutes and 4 seconds. Scott Jones cranked out a fast time in 1:31:56 to win the Men's 14 and under category.

Big shout-out to the beginners and first-timers who braved the cold and mud. Out of 11 riders, Steve Zagata topped the list with a time of 2:05:02. The time is messed up because Steve was misguided to do an extra lap. Wendy Shields(1:34:44), finished as the first women's beginner. And 51 years-young, Allen Rich, finished his lap in 1:23:54.

One more shout-out to Anne Gray and Drew Smitherberger. They organized a great race and took care of a certain reporter/photographer . . . me. Thanks!

Don't miss Drew's next event, The Wayne Ultra - WVVUS #4 on Saturday, June 28. This race will be held in Wayne National Forest, Marietta, Ohio. Contact Drew at (740) 350-2206 or e-mail him at

Thanks to all the Mountwood Sponsors:

Drew photo by Julie Black
Drew and Crew thank event sponsors
Simonton Windows, Vienna Bicycle Shop, Wilson Heating, Barker Bradley and Blinn, Janney, Dimex, Miller Door, Papa Johns

Mother Earth Foods, Parkersburg Bicycle, Parkersburg Orthopedic Associates, Leavitt Funeral Services, Foodland

Professional Contractors, Pepsi, Solvay, XS Energy, Johnson Chiropractic Center, Wood County Emergency Communications

Deerwalk Vounteer Fire Department, Dr. Delli-Gatti,, Mountwood Park

River Valley Mountain Bike Association, West Virginia Mountain Bike Association, and the Ohio Mountain Bike Championship Series