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BikeTrial at the Nantahala Outdoor Center
Bryson City, North Carolina
22 April 2006
By Michael Friddell

Sheesh! What is it with the NOC and rain?! Two years in a row now it has rained cats and dogs leading up to this event. I drove through some of the worst rain I've ever seen on the way there Thursday evening. It let up somewhat on Friday while I was setting the sections but there were still times of seriously pounding rain during which I had to find shelter to wait it out. It finally started to clear up a little, late into Friday afternoon, but then rained some more through the night.

We opened registration at 8am on Saturday morning and more riders started to gather round. Not surprisingly, most were the usual suspects from many of my events over the years. I was glad to have two new faces, Shawn and Brett, who both entered the Sport class for their first ever competitions. Shawn is a new riding friend from my home base in middle Tennessee and is really picking up on BikeTrials very quickly. Brett explained that he currently lives in Gainesville, FL, but that he was originally from the western NC area. Although his score makes it seem as though he struggled with the sections, I have to commend him for his efforts. It was the first time at the Sport level for third, fourth and fifth place so, from what I saw, you guys all did very well. Rounding out the top of the Sport class were two riders with completely different style. Another of my local buds, Chris Ivory, has an amazing knack for rolling though just about anything. He's back to riding a Woodman Elite with suspension fork and street tires after a short stint on a Woodman T-Comp. His style is much better suited to the Elite and his scores show it. This guy could show some of the British 24" riders a move or two. Chris (Slydel) is an old coot but definitely has some skills. I heard the accusation of "sandbagger" half-jokingly tossed around a bit in regards to Chris still riding the Sport class. Though he might not think he is ready now, I wouldn't hesitate to bet that Chris will be riding Expert next year.

The riders in the Expert class were an interesting diversity of old school and new. Good ole Doug White (or Zack's Dad, as he now goes by :-) and new blood Zack duked it out throughout the day ending up with Doug edging out Zack by only five points. Another long-time rider and old friend, Lance Kleffman, handily took the win with a very confident ride all day long. I wouldn't be surprised if Lance started looking at the Pro class next year. As for the Pro class now, we only had two riders this year. In only his second showing at the Pro level, Dave Campbell mounted a serious challenge to seasoned Pro, Tom McNeal. Tom and Dave have been pushing each other in their riding outside of competition for years so it's great to see them finally pitted against each other. In the end, the experience of age (sorry Tom, but you are as old as me!) won out over youth. Admittedly, Dave attempted and fived some big moves that he probably could have dabbed and maybe won but props to him for pushing himself.

I must once again thank Doug, Zack and family for coming out on Friday afternoon to help me finish setting the sections. All that rain really slowed me down so I appreciate you all pitching in, during both setup and tear down. Also, my thanks to the few riders who braved the dreary forecast to come to the event this year. I wish we could have had a bigger turnout but I think we all had fun nonetheless. Last but definitely not least, my huge thanks to the NOC and Kathy Allison for having us back again. I think the weekend turned out great, regardless of the rain, and, judging by the attention of the spectators, it seems the people enjoyed watching us.

I regret that I don't have any pictures from the event. My camera doesn't work very well when it's so wet out. I saw a number of other people taking pictures and even a little video so hopefully some will get posted.


Results:

Beginner
None

Sport
1. Chris Slydel 17
2. Chris Ivory 32
3. Shawn Mullican 44
4. Andy King 49
5. Brett Tornwall 58

Advanced
None

Expert
1. Lance Kleffman 23
2. Doug White 46
3. Zack White 51
4. Craig Durkin 55

Pro
1. Tom McNeal 32
2. Dave Campbell 44


Photos:


Laska Gaddy having fun.
Picture Courtesy of Doug White


Zack White
Picture Courtesy of Doug White


Doug White
Picture Courtesy of Andy King


Lance Kleffman
Picture Courtesy of Andy King



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