Thursday, November 17, 2016

29th Annual Tidewater Mountain Bike Challenge – 2016
Williamsburg, VA - October 29-30, 2016

Fantastic weather with lots of sun and temps around 80 degrees, after the morning chill burned off, made for a great weekend of racing at the 29th edition of the Tidewater MTB Challenge, which was once again the finals for the 2016 Virginia Off Road Series (VORS). This year’s event would showcase a bunch of Virginia’s National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) Junior riders who would take top spots in many of the race divisions. The Nationwide Middle through High School series is single handedly changing the face of Mountain Bike racing at the local and national levels! USA’s MTB cycling future looks bright thanks to the hard work and dedication of race organizers, sponsors, volunteers, coaches, teams and junior racers in various states throughout the nation.
Of note for this year’s Tidewater Trifecta competition was the change that allowed your final race to be your “Regular Racing Class” versus Pro/Expert only! This change opened up the competition to more riders eliminating the Pro/Expert only feel of the past and could perhaps allow for deeper awards in the Tidewater Trifecta in the future!
The Marathon classes started the weekend events as both the Solo and Team categories got underway in the chilly Saturday morning air. Riders were hesitant to leave the warm glow of the fire pit when it was time to make their way to the starting line. In the Men’s Marathon Solo division Michael Danish would warm up quickly and turn 17 laps in 5:12:43 for the win followed by Nathan Kottkamp with 16 laps in 5:09:52 and Richard Serton with 16 Laps in 5:10:29.
Laura Maple would take the Solo Women’s division completing 11 laps in 4:32:00 and use this score toward her Trifecta tally. Evelyn Cooper, also competing in the Trifecta, and Melanie Whitlo completed 10 and 6 laps respectively for 2nd and 3rd.
The Marathon Team of NICA Varsity standout Edward Anderson and former Pro Women’s road cyclist Andrea Dvorak set the Tidewater 5 hour Team record with 18 laps at 5:05:11 giving each a great start to their respective Men’s and Women’s Trifecta bids. Wes Watkinson and Tyler Tetreault completed 17 laps in 5:01:30 followed by closely by 2014 winners Jeff Hellner and Scottie Pendleton with 17 laps in 5:04:57
The kids STXC short track races were moved to Saturday this year on the spectator friendly course which allows parents and friends to keep close tabs on their favorite young riders. The 6 and Under class saw Olivia Nevins grab a huge holeshot and hold the lead all though the singletrack only to be spun out on the downhill run to the finish line allowing Owen Tennant to pass for the victory. Carson Cave would follow for 3rd.
In the 14 & Under class Caleb Nevins would cruise to victory over Robert Berry and Camden Woodard completing 4 laps in 18:30 on the exciting Kids STXC course.
Next up was the highly competitive 10 & Under class which saw Landon May take his first victory at Tidewater Challenge ahead of Jewel Bartels and Conner Tennant.

The Adult STXC would once again make use of a “Joker Lane” which adds a bit of strategy to the mix and an additional passing opportunity for the riders. The Men’s STXC would see the 2014 Short Track National Champion (boys 13-14 years) Adam Croft take the victory again ahead of Ryan Cullen by one second with Edward Anderson adding a 3rd place finish to his Trifecta score. Andrea Dvorak held off Avanell Scales in a close battle for the Women’s STXC with Dvorak keeping a perfect score going for her Trifecta points. Melissa Cooper would round out the top 3 STXC women.

Sunday’s events began with Group 1, who compete on the full lap minus one tricky 45 seconds per lap section. In the Junior 18 & Under Open division Trace Saum would claim the top spot with a time of 55:33. In the Junior 14 and Under category Caleb Nevins would once again take the crown in impressive style distancing himself from the field by well over 3 minutes at finish. River Green would hold onto the number 2 slot ahead of Cooper Muench.
The Beginner Men saw Patrick Sommer take the win followed by Jeff Morris and Dan West in a field of 23 riders. Two young NICA racers would secure 2 of the top 3 spots in the Beginner Women’s division with Magnolia Lang out front followed by Ana Ward in 3rd. Amanda Mullen would split the two NICA team “Colonial Revolution” riders in 2nd place.

The Virginia State Single Speed Championship event was up next and crowned a new champ in Gordan Wadsworth, who also happens to be the 2014 National SS Champion. 2nd place went to Wes Watkinson who, like Wadsworth, was also racking up Trifecta points and would end up taking 3rd overall in the Trifecta. 3rd place went to Scottie Pendleton who was also gaining Trifecta points.

The Vet 35+ would see a repeat winner with Tidewater Challenge regular and announcer extraordinaire Michael Hosang taking the victory ahead of Michael Phillips in 2nd and Brandon Gibbons in 3rd.

The Master 45+ class was the largest cross country class of the weekend and saw Steve Nevins take the win ahead of Rob Suydam, who would switch from his usual single speed race to have a go in the 45+ class. Thomas Richeson would take 3rd and have to recover quickly to make the Senior 55+ race start in the next group.

There was a good turnout in the Sport Men category and some exciting racing which saw another NICA standout and “Colonial Revolution” rider James Allmon take the win after a close race with Tyler Tetreault. Alex Gilliam would follow in 3rd place.

Thomas Richeson would start his second race of the day but this time take the # 1 spot decisively over the rest of the field. Chris Berry would use his race to keep his consecutive days riding streak going by finishing 2nd followed by last year’s winner on a single speed Tony Watkinson in 3rd.
The Sport Women’s division was won by another young NICA Champion Autumn Bartels. Marion Palmieri, only 4 months postpartum, would take an impressive 2nd and become a fitness inspiration for new moms everywhere! Amanda LeClair would take the # 3 spot.

The Women’s 40+ class was won by recently retired and Tidewater regular Jean Troutman with Evelyn Cooper in tow who gained enough points to secure 3rd place in the Women’s Trifecta.

The Pro/Expert Women saw Andrea Dvorak taking the Tidewater Challenge Championship for her first time and putting an exclamation point on her perfect 1-1-1 Tidewater Trifecta tally. She joins Jeremiah Bishop as being the only 2 racers to complete a perfect Tidewater Trifecta Sweep! Avanell Scales, taking a break from her UCI CX Series, would not have the legs to stay with Dvorak in the Prolog +4 lap race but would still finish a strong 2nd with a faster average lap time than when she won in 2014. Laura Maple would take a 3rd place finish which would be enough for 2nd place money in the Women’s Trifecta!
All the young dudes, Carry the news, Boogaloo dudes, Carry the news!
Perhaps Pro/Expert defending Champion Keck Baker had these famous David Bowie/Mott the Hoople lyrics resonating in his head as he tried to shake off no less than 4 young dudes including Adam Croft, Edward Anderson, Ryan Cullen and Josh Craig all NICA racing regulars. Baker would power to the front to collect the 1st lap Priem and string the young dudes out just a bit, but sit up just enough to allow them to get back in! The many lead changes and attacks over the next couple of laps would cause Ryan Cullen and Josh Craig to lose touch with the top 3 of Baker, Croft and Anderson. The large enthusiastic crowd surrounding the moto section of the course, which offers some fantastic spectating options, was expecting Baker to eventually come out of the back singletrack alone sometime during the Prolog +6 lap race. It was not to be as the young dudes hung in and swapped pulls at the front gaining confidence of their chances at Tidewater glory! A slight mechanical around the halfway point would hinder Bakers ability to hold any sort of gap through the technical stuff, especially against the slick bike handling of Croft and Anderson. As the riders closed in on the finish the large crowd was excited to see the 3 riders, Croft, Anderson and Baker emerge together from the singletrack with only “Horse Shoe Hill”, “Little Pumpkin Jump” and the run up to the finish line remaining. For those who have followed Adam Croft’s racing career, which includes a Short Track National Championship in 2014, know he has the ability to finish strong and that’s just what he did as he out sprinted his competition to take his 1st Tidewater Challenge Championship. Edward Anderson would hold onto 2nd which would also give him the Men’s Tidewater Trifecta crown for 2016. Keck Baker rolled across in 3rd perhaps a little shell shocked by the young dudes! Gordan Wadsworth would come across in 4th giving him 2nd overall in the Trifecta with Ryan Cullen holding on for 5th in the Pro/Expert division. Thanks to Michael Hosang for a Great call of the Pro/Expert Men’s & Women’s races including his exciting call of the Finish as seen on FB!

Special Thanks to all our Fantastic Sponsors: York River Mechanical Contracting, Inc., Sports Williamsburg, Bikes Unlimited, BikeBeat, Red Barn Bikes, Village Bikes, East Coast Bicycles, Howard Hanna Realtor-Ted Evans, The Daily Grind at W&M, Conte’s Bike Shop, Scat Bikes, Hawley, Wave Riding Vehicles and Bartlett & Spirn Attorneys at Law.
Extra Special Thanks to Family, Friends, Volunteers, Land Owners and all the Racers that help make the event Special each Year!!!

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