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Sunday, April 20, 2008 -- Bruceton Mills, WV / Big Bear Lake
Big Bear Lake Bike Classic - WVMBA #3 (iPO Event Id#: 10559)

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Everyone Loves Riding at Big Bear

Article and photos by J.R. Petsko with additional photos by Don Parks.

Photo by J.R. Petsko
Courtney Bloomer enjoys her ride
Sunday was round three of the West Virginia Mountain Bike Association (WVMBA) Point Series. The turnout was huge, with the event being at Big Bear Lake, a WVMBA favorite.

Over the last few years, Big Bear, has really made a name for itself by offering some of the best riding on the east coast. This statement is backed by comments on the WVMBA online rider profile where many listed riders mentioned Big Bear as their favorite place to ride. Although dark clouds looked overhead, the possible rainfall did not deter 154 racers who showed up to hit their favorite trails.

A high-noon mass start sent all racers out the main road towards the single track.

The front of the pack was full of fast riders. At least 68 of the riders were of the expert class. The lead pace was set by Ben Ortt, Andy Wiedrich, Jeremy Rowand, T.J. Platt and 2007 Vet Expert National Champion, Mike Yozell.

Photo by Don Parks
The pack of racers heads downhill
This race would have made for some good TV coverage, because behind the leaders Jason Cyr, Gunnar Shogren, and Steve Hill were working together to take advantage of any mistakes made by leaders.

The expert women's field saw the return of past series champion Cassie Smith after a one-year break from racing. I must admit, it was really nice to see a large group of 9 women racing the Pro/Expert class at Big Bear.

The win would end up going to 2007 series champion, Betsy Shogren, followed by the returning Cassie Smith in 2nd, 5 minutes back. Third went to Traci Rodosta in 3rd finishing in 2 hours and 28 minutes, just one minute ahead of fourth place finisher Chrissy Buerkle in 4th.

After putting on a dominating performance at Mountwood in round 2, Henry Spreng III, once again cruised to the win in the Men's Junior Expert class finishing in 1 hour and 52 minutes. Spreng's time in the event placed him well in the top ten of the overall times. Sam Morrison took 2nd with Corey Chambers in third in the Jr Ex class.

My pick for the class to watch this year is the Open Single Speed class.

Photo by J.R. Petsko
The warrior mud call
With riders like Aron Yevuta, Chris Phillips and Chris McGill moving to the class from Pro/Expert, 2008 should definitely make life a little more stressful for 2007 class champion, Benji Klimas. However, Klimas was able to hold off the others to take the win at Big Bear, finishing the race in 2 hour and one minute.

Aron Yevuta took 2nd in 2 hours and 2 minutes followed by Chris McGill in 3rd with a time of 2 hours and 3 minutes.

So how did the Pro/Expert Men's class end up? I'm sure you're wondering as was I.

It was a classic finish, with Ben Ortt and Andy Wiedrich sprinting all the way to the line trying for the win.

In the end Ortt just got by Wiedrich just enough for the victory in 1 hour 46 minutes. Jeremy Rowand would take 3rd finishing in 1 hour 49 minutes.

Photo by Don Parks
The future looks bright
Mike Yozell finished in 1 hour and 48 minutes, taking the win in the Men Expert Vet class and his time was fast enough to give him 3rd overall on the day.

Second in the class went to Henry Spreng, Jr in a time of 2 hours and 2 minutes. Third went to Eric Delaney in a time of 2 hours and six minutes.

The victory in the Men's Expert Master Class went to 2007 class champion Matt Marcus finishing in 2 hours and 6 minutes. Marcus was able to hold off Charles Patterson in second who finished with a time of 2 hours and 11 minutes.

Third in the class went to Matt Ross in a time of 2 hours and fifteen minutes.

As always, Mark put on one hell of a race. We'll all just have to keep dreaming of the trails at big bear until September 13th, when we return for the Ultra series race.