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Sunday, May 25, 2008 -- Lost Creek, WV / Watters Smith State Park
The White Oak Challenge - WVMBA #6 (iPO Event Id#: 10562)

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Photo by J.R. Petsko
Johnathan Martin gets some sunny air
Finally Sunshine

Story and photos by JR Petsko

Sunday the sun finally came out to shine on a WVMBA point series event. After the first five rounds of the series being pounded by rain the sun was a welcome change at the White Oak challenge. With great weather it helped bring out one hundred and two racers to Lost Creek, West Virginia. If I had a dollar for every time someone said, "Finally nice weather." I would be a rich man. Clearly the feeling about the rain this year was shared by all.

The trend of a large Men's Pro/Expert class continued again this week with 22 racers signing up for that class. The class was filled with talent. Riders Ben Ortt, Joey Riddle, Justin Pokrivka, Morgan Miller, Andy Wiedrich, Brad Wilhelm, Robert Spreng and Gunnar Shogren all showed up at the starting line to try for the overall win.

From the gun it was clear ever who was going to take the win it was not going to be an easy one. After lap number one of the three laps all the expert classes would do, Brad Wilhelm was holding down a one second lead over his teammate Ben Ortt.

Photo by J.R. Petsko
Betsy Shogren leads into the woods
Stephen Cummings was off the leader by just two more seconds followed by Andy Wiedrich who twenty more seconds behind the leader. Joey Riddle and Gunnar Shogren were next though the start/finish area around one minute back of Wiedrich.

I was right about it going to be hard work trying for the win. With all the top riders so near it other one mistake would send a rider back countless positions. In the Women's Pro/Expert class Betsy Shogren held down a strong lead on the competition. Mandi Riddle held down second place after the first lap just two minute up on Ruth Cunningham. Then once again the riders were off into the woods and out of site.

After about forty five minutes the leaders were back in site with just a few changes in the running order. Ben Ortt was now out in front over his teammate who moved back into second. From the back the running order made no changes. The same could be said for the women's field. The gaps between all women started to grow.

While the leaders headed out for their final lap the sport and beginner riders were making their way across the finish due to their shorter course.

Photo by J.R. Petsko
Doubling the racing fun
The first two lap rider across the line was Men's Sport Vet racer George Herriott who took the class win finishing in 1:52:42. Mike Wolfe took second in 2:00:20 over Danny Welsh in third with a time of 2:00:33. The second fastest two lap rider was Men's Sport rider Brad Schmalzer finishing in 1:53:32.

Donald Power put in a solid performance taking second in the sport class finishing in 1:54:34. Third went to Aaron Shelmire in a time of 1:58:30. In the super competitive Men's Sport Master class the top five riders all finished in eight minutes of each other. In his first race back in 2008 Pete Arner took the class win with a time of 2:02:25. Second went to Alex Marra who crossed the line in 2:05:36 over Bruce Wohleber in third with a time of 2:08:58.

In the Women's Sport class Courtney Bloomer took the win along with Meredith Erlewine winning the Women's Vet class. The Clydesdale win went to the tandem of the Raeslys in 2:43:54. Vince Nedeff took second in 3:03:13 with Philip Poff in third with a time of 3:06:34.

For the one lap riders it was Men's Beginner rider Brian Marion with the fast lap time and winning the beginner class. Marion crossed the line in 1:05. Jeremy Shelley took second in 1:14:41 over Mike Goss in third finishing in 1:32:42. In Men 14 & under Skyler Terrell took first in 1:22:57 followed by JD Barnette in 1:24:21. Zachary Morrell took third in 1:31:29.

Photo by J.R. Petsko
Peace out! says Mike Goss
So after the one lap and two lap riders finished up to was time for the finish of the Men's Pro/Experts.

At the line it was Ben Ortt taking the win in 2:23:40. In second it was Wiedrich cranking hard on the last lap to move all the way up to second. Third through fifth was decided by a three man sprint between Wilhelm, Shogren and Cummings. Wilhelm took third in 2:26:53 while Shogren took fourth and Cummings in fifth in the same time as Wilhelm.

The standing in the Women's Pro/Expert class stayed the same the entire race with Betsy Shogren taking first in 2:57:17 over Mandi Riddle in second in a time of 3:25:16. Ruth Cunningham took third in a 3:51:11.

Mike Miller put on a great race for ever in his first attempt as a race director and I'll look forward to it again in 2008!

Next on tap for the WVMBA point series is my own race the Appalachian Classic. It's a two day cycling festival with events on both Saturday and Sunday. Oh, and of course live music by the Weedhawks on Saturday night. Find more information here on iPlay.