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Sunday, April 6, 2003 -- Waverly, WV
Challenge at Mountwood-WVMBA Pts. #2 (iPO Event Id#: 5319)
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
[XC Results] [High School & Kids Results]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]
[Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8] [Set 9] [Set 10] [Set 11]
Past Coverage: [1999] [2000] [2002]

TJ Platt
TJ makes the rounds at Mountwood
It turned out to be a perfect day for the Challenge at Mountwood Mountain Bike Race this weekend. Riders were out in full force earning precious points for the WVMBA Series. There were nearly 200 bikers on this long course, and no shortage of fun and competition.

With a "prologue" of close to eight miles, it was then into the main loop of constant single track, and climbs that total a reported 3000 feet per lap. Not to mention the white knuckle downhills that came as a result. A few of the classes, including the beginners broke off early from the first lap and headed to the finish while the rest continued around the course. The sport classes called it quits after one lap while the experts got to "enjoy" a second.

Mandi Riddle
Mandi goes 2-for-2
It was no surprise to see Specialized rider Jonathan Martin as the first rider to complete the prologue. Martin has been fixture in the WVMBA expert/pro crowd since moving up following his expert/junior title in 1999. However, in three years of racing, and close to 30 WVMBA series events, Martin's best finishes were two seconds in last year's series.

It was also no surprise to see Clay Evans (WV Mountain Bike Team) and TJ Platt (Dirty Harrys / Team OST2) following close behind Martin. The two riders are the same two that had beat him in his two 2002 second place finishes, and the only two that finished ahead of him in the 2002 points standings. Needless to say, quite his nemeses.

Finishing the first lap, it was still Martin out in front and seeming to build his lead. Could he really hold off Evans and Clay for another long lap around the Mountwood trails? Not only did he hold them off, he continued to hammer out a bigger and bigger lead.

Race Pic
Dry, fast, and fun
Martin completed his first WVMBA series win with a dominating time of 2:16:36. Evans came around for second with a time of 2:19:13 while Platt settled for third at 2:21:19. Asking the unassuming Martin about having finally beat all his rivals, he gave all the credit to his Specialized Epic hardware.

While we had heard rumors that Dave Fleming had somehow pulled out an impressive fourth place finish, later verification revealed a different story. It was actually Jason Beckley (2:22:56), sorry Dave.

For the women it was another win for WV Mountain Bike's Mandi Riddle (3:03:53) making it 2-for-2 in 2003. So maybe this will be the breakout year for Riddle, as well. She has been the third place series finisher in womens expert/pro the last two years.

Whatever the final results, this year's WVMBA series is shaping up to be some great fun, and some intense racing. So don't be shy, come on out and join the party!