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Sunday, August 26, 2007 -- Oak Hill, WV / ACE Adventure Center
ACE New River Bike Fest - WVMBA #12 (iPO Event Id#: 10088)

2007: [Photos] [Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results]

Coverage: [2000] [2001] [2002] [2003] [2004] [2005] [2006]

Everyone was buzzing at ACE!

ACE photo by JR Petsko
ACE Bike FEst photo by JR Petsko
Story and photos by JR Petsko

Sunday was round number 12 of the West Virginia Mountain Bike Series hosted by ACE Adventure Center. With a tad longer drive from Morgantown than usually I decided to pack the car, grab Gina and Anni and take advantage of some camping down at ACE. After a pretty uneventful drive and see no cops for my fourth trip though Summerville of the year I arrive in Oak Hill, WV.

Unlike some stop on WVMBA tour there was tons to do while camping the night before the race. With a lake full of inflatable tools and water slides it was the perfect place to spend a hot summer evening. After getting our fill of the water we returned to the camp site for a little R&R. Not long after I saw a familiar face pull up to our site. It was none other than little beaver Race Director and WVMBA Clydesdale racer Gary Morefield.

Gary always a welcome site, with his funny story and local gossip he always puts a smile on my face. After a few hours of chatting we decided to take part in what is turning into a traditional event for me, the ACE dinner buffet. Being the Clydesdale's that Gary and I are we had no problem putting away two plates of prime rib, bake potato, corn and bbq pork. Now that's what I call a meal. After stuffing our faces it was time for Gary to head home and for me to get some sleep before the next day's festivities.

ACE photo by JR Petsko
ACE Bike FEst photo by JR Petsko
The next morning I awoke to a horn of a car and a man yelling at my tent saying, "get a move on up there sleepy head!" Once again it was Gary. With that I knew it was time to head up the mountain for the race. At the registration table for the race I saw a dozen or so people walking around in orange shirts. Being the noisy person I am, I had to check the shirts out. I started to laugh so hard that tear almost came to my eyes. The orange shirts just happened to be this year's race shirts and they had a picture of Jeff the race director right on the front.

Jeff reminded me a lot of shaggy from Scobby-doo anyways, but his picture on the shirt sealed the deal. Above the picture it said I road with Jeff at the. With just one series race left it going to be hard to beat these shirts for my award for the best race shirts of the year. The pressure is on Dirt Derby. After collecting myself, it was time to get to the job at hand. We had rasing to watch. Ya, I said rasing!

At the start line the usual suspects were on hand including Steve Hill, Aron Yevuta, Mark Glass, Benji Klimas, and Andrew Wiedrich. The BWB WV 29'er crew of Gunnar Shogren, Robbie Loehr, Chris Phillips also was on hand to take on some new trails that had been added to this year's race course. As the racers rolled of the start line it was clear that they all had way too much coffee the morning of the race. As they made their way along the road they were hollering like kids at the 3 o'clock school bell. Ya I said hollering! As the riders headed out of site I could still here them yelling down the road.

ACE photo by JR Petsko
ACE Bike Fest photo by JR Petsko
To get my first shoots of the day was pretty simple; all I had to do was run down the side of the hill and get the racers as they headed back towards the camping area.

The leaders came by with little trouble except for Robbie Loehr who broke off his derailor hanger already. With a little bike know-how Loehr was able to make his bike into a single speed and once again was off and racing (well kinda).

After finishing up the photo at that spot it was time to move to a new location, but little did a know things were happening behind me that would change the race completely.

As I headed to the car I ever heard one man say to the other, "are they still running from the bees down there?" The second man replied, "Yes, they are!" Not thinking much about it because I had a job to do I jumped on the car and headed out for a new shooting spot.

I now found myself at a spot that I go to every year at the ACE race. It is a very rocky downhill section that made for some great race viewing, not the best photos though due to low light, but as a race lover I got to see the riders come though there.

Buzzin Bees photo by JR Petsko
Buzzin Hive photo by JR Petsko
The first rider though was Andrew Wiedrich followed by Aron Yevuta and Benji Klimas. After a few more riders had past there was no sign of series leader Steve Hill and Vet/Expert points leader Gunnar Shogren was a good ways of the front after an early flat tire.

Sorry to that the photos from this spot would come to a quick end. All of a sudden bees filled the air. Anni and our new dog Lucky uncovered a bubble bee nest in the rocks. I escaped with just one sting while Anni received a few. Needless to say it was time to get out of there.

I headed back up to the start finish area because with the trail split some riders were getting close to finishing. One of the first to finish the one lap race was series Clydesdale point's leader and all around good guy James "my wife wants to buy too many photos" Vanhorn. James crossed the line first in his class and with the win virtual locked up the 2007 Clydesdale title. Not far behind Vanhorn was Tim "smiley" McGraw finishing his fourth race of the year and moving him into fourth in the Clydesdale points.

After a few more finishers the stories of the day started flying. Nothing out of the normal, but a common theme started to show up in most people's stories about the race. I heard, "man I got stung by bees!" Over time I heard those words more and more. Even to the point I could not believe it.

ACE photo by JR Petsko
ACE Bike Fest photo by JR Petsko
A little while later Race Director Jeff told me about the massive bee's nest that was found just over by the start, and a course change was made for the two lap rider so they didn't have to go by it again, but it was too late at that point for most. After all the stories I had to check out the nest for myself and it was HUGE! Make sure to see the photos of it.

Bad sting of the day though would have to go to Vet Women's racer Laurie Johnston. After getting stung in the butt three times by the bees she was left feeling a little out of it she said. After finding herself in kind of a mental funk she lost concentration and hit a tree and did a superman right over the bars. She was ok, but was left with big scrapes and cuts on her arm and back. Even with the big crash Johnston finished the race to claim some valuable point in the oh so tight, women's vet class.

After miles of racing and attacks by bees the racers had a wonderful burrito meal to fill there bellies on thanks to the people at ACE. Of, course being the great reporter that I am I have to inspect every aspect of an event and the food is one of them. LOL Good eats!

Well with the WVMBA series winding down there is just one race remaining and that the series finial the Dirt Derby. There are some really tight races left to be decided in the series so look for a big turnout and some hard racing in two week. ACE was once again a great event. Jeff did a great job putting on the event and so did everyone at ACE. I can't wait until we do it all again next year.