|The Appalachian Bike Classic was an annual event that once drew hundreds to the county every year.|
By Bob Weaver
Racers ascend hill at starting line
Over 150 mountain bikers from around the county, including several from
Calhoun County, entered this weekends Appalachian Bike Classic point race
at the 225-acre Calhoun County Park. Jack Downs, one of the events
organizers said winners, runners-up and even the losers, shared in $11,500 in
cash, prizes and perks.
Classic men's champion is Ryan O'Conner
Classic women's champion is Cassie Smith
Ryan O'Conner was the men's champ at 1:51 and Cassie Smith was the
women's champ at 2:34 in the 7.2 mile race.
Anticipation for starting gun
Pedaling for points and prizes
Downs said he is always hopeful more Calhounians and folks from area
counties will visit the Classic weekend. "It has a little something for just
about everyone," he concluded.
"It was a perfect race day and a perfect place to have it," said Donnie Price,
event coordinator, just before he began recognizing the cyclists. Price says
the Calhoun race is the best venue in the state, and promises to become one
of the finest bike races in West Virginia "If it is not already."
Coordinator Donnie Price said "It was a great race day," recognizing
the 150 plus participants.
"Everyone gets a prize and recognition," said Price.
"The Appalachian Classic is a great thing for Calhoun County," said Price.
"This park is one of the counties great assets."
The energy and excitement was evident with the racers and their
supporters, who frequently expressed appreciation to the race organizers
and community volunteers who contribute much to the events success.
Local resident Jim Burrows of MegaZound and his crew erected a giant
stage, light and sound system which contributed to the delivery of
Saturday's entertainment, including the performance of Johnny Staats and
the Delivery Boys.
Gunner Shongren, a Classic race winner, had a bad mechanical day
Down Powerslide, without a tumble
Dozens of local supporters from several organizations to enthusiastic
volunteers who prepared and sold food, stationed themselves along the 7.2
mile loop, helped with parking, provided medical care, sold crafts, provided
communications and entertained the bikers and visitors to the Classic. "We
are really blessed with great help and great support," said Price. The Classic
provides free primitive camping and food for the racers.
In the backwoods "Wet n' Wild"
Racers watch taped playback
The big spectator area for folks who can park and view is the "Power Slide"
at the mouth of Riffle Run, but more obscure in the deep woods is the
treacherous "Wet n' Wild" section between the top of Riffle Run Hill and the
remote camping area of the county park.
Racers used a few sections of the new four mile biking and jogging trail
which has been opened for public use.
Much of the money raised during the weekend will go to support the upkeep
of the Calhoun County Park.