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National MTB Oktoberfest - NE
Davidson, North Carolina, USA, October 25, 2008
Sawicki & Bishop win Oktoberfest
By Ron Sawicki & Sue George
The National MTB Oktoberfest in North Carolina wrapped up the USA Cycling Ultra Endurance Mountain Bike National Calendar. Over the course of the weekend, four events were run including the festival's main event, an eight-hour race on Saturday. Some of the best racers from around the US showed up to duke it out.
In the men's eight-hour race, which started at noon, Nat Ross (Subaru/Gary Fisher) and Tinker Juarez (Mona.Vie/Cannondale) took the early lead, but after a couple of laps they were overtaken by Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication) and Jeremiah Bishop(Trek/VW). Ross had come down with a virus just prior to the race and found himself battling the bug to stay in the race. Juarez held on about a minute or two back for most of the race while the leaders battled in front for the full eight hours.
Price and Bishop switched turns in the lead several times with each never letting the other get away. Finally on the last lap Bishop made a break for it and put a small gap on Price on the final climb. Near the top of the climb, Bishop's chain dropped, and he ran up the hill scared that he would be caught. In the end he won with a 12 second gap over Price.
Juarez finished third, Ernesto Marenchin (Speedgoat.com) fourth and Ross rounded out the top five. Ross's finish gave him enough points to secure the series win.
On the final lap Sawicki took her dog Koa out to top off a really great race. Koa may be the first dog to ride on the victory lap at a Nationals and he loved it.
Denelle Grant (Bike Factory Racing) and Blakely Sapsford (Guy's Racing) rounded out the top three in the women's field.
With her victory, Sawicki won the series, making it her third national series championship and sixth national title in her four years of professional racing.
Friday morning dawned grey and chilly, but the threat of rain didn't stop the competitors for the Friday NiteRider Short Track Race. 11 racers took to the course for just over 30 minutes of tight racing through the woods. Jeremiah Bishop (Trek/VW) took top honors with 17 laps in 31:57.1, followed by Diego (Bicycle Sport) with 17 laps in 32.10.9 and Nat Ross (Gary Fisher/Subaru) with 17 laps in 32.47.3.
Saturday morning, before the day's main eight-hour event, brought a steady downpour before dawn, but the rain disappeared by the time the children took the field for Kids Kompetitions, sponsored by Cool Breeze Cyclery.
"It is so much fun watching these kids hopping on their bikes and just getting out to ride for the sheer joy of it," said Taylor Sullivan, Oktoberfest Race Director.
Toddlers competed in a short race with running bikes provided by Strider. Cool Breeze staff officiated and presented the children with medals and special prizes.
The deep blue skies North Carolina is famous for returned bright and early on Sunday, as the racers prepared for time trials. Racers set off in one minute intervals to cover four miles of existing, flowing single track in the fastest time possible. Jafer Beizer (Kudzu.com U23) and Andrew Good (Cool Breeze Cyclery) were the fastest in the open and singlespeed men's categories.
The final event of the inaugural National Mountain Bike Oktoberfest was known as the "Beast" for good reason three-quarters of a mile of running, biking, and obstacles. The modified cyclo-cross style race resembled "old-fashioned" cyclo-cross, challenging the skills of experienced and newbie riders alike as they raced for 30 minutes plus one lap. Michael Nixon (SoBe Cannondale) won the open men's category while Cathie Docherty (Dirt Divas) was the fastest woman in the sport women's category.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Taylor Sullivan
Images by Ron Sawicki
Elite men 1 Jeremiah Bishop (Trek / VW) 14 laps 2 Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication) 14 3 Tinker Juarez (Mona Vie / Cannondale) 13 4 Ernesto Marenchin (Speedgoat.com) 13 5 Nat Ross (Subaru / Gary Fisher) 12 Elite women 1 Pua Sawicki 2 Denelle Grant (Bike Factory Racing) 3 Blakely Sapsford (Guy's Racing) Time Trial Open Men 1 Jafer Beizer (Kudzu.com U23) 17.46.4 2 Noel Kirila (Bicycle Sport 0.01.1 3 Michael Nixon (SoBe/Cannondale) 0.07.4 4 Chris Wieczorek (Bicycle Sport) 0.24.8 5 Chris Baker (Bicycle Sport) 2.33.2 6 Stephen Janes (World Bicycle Relief) 2.45.2 7 Michael Petersen 5.27.6 8 Dongseok Kim (NASCAR Technical Institute) 7.26.0 Single Speed Men 1 Andrew Good (Cool Breeze Cyclery) 20.05.1 Sport Men 1 Kristofer Karwisch 19.39.2 2 Scott Griffith 1.31.3 3 Brian Maxwell 1.57.4 4 Douglas Engel (Bolt Brothers Cyclery) 2.15.0 5 Daniel Huey 2.16.5 6 Daniel Green 4.15.0 Masters Men 1 Jack Crouch (Bicycle Sport) 19.22.2 The Beast Masters Men 1 Jack Crouch (Bicycle Sport) 2 Perry Lee (Bicycle Sport) 3 Mike Metz 4 Randy Nance Open Men 1 Michael Nixon (SoBe Cannondale) 2 Jafer Beizer (Kudzu.com U23 Team) 3 Stephen Janes (World Bicycle Relief) 4 Chris Baker (Bicycle Sport-Shannon Ridge ) 5 Dongseok Kim (NASCAR Technical Institute) Sport Men 1 Richard Tsui (Cool Breeze Cyclery) 2 Kristofer Karwisch 3 Scott Griffith 4 Douglas Engel (Bolt Brothers Cyclery) 5 Daniel Green Sport Women 1 Cathie Docherty (Dirt Divas)