First pro race held at Coldwater trails draws hundreds
by Eddie Burkhalter
Jul 28, 2013 | 6574 views |  0 comments | 116 116 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jan Jenkins-Ardovino rides the course of the Coldwater Crush bike race at the Coldwater Mountain bike trails on Sunday. (Photo by Stephen Gross/ The Anniston Star)
Jan Jenkins-Ardovino rides the course of the Coldwater Crush bike race at the Coldwater Mountain bike trails on Sunday. (Photo by Stephen Gross/ The Anniston Star)
OXFORD – Keith Lyles spent Sunday morning directing the long line of cars, mountain bikes strapped to roofs and trunks as hundreds came for the first professional mountain bike race on Coldwater Mountain's trails.

Lyles, a member of the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association, which helped develop the trail, said the turnout Sunday was a good sign.

“That’s what this thing is made to do,” Lyles said.

The Coldwater Crush Mountain Bike Race, organized by About Time Events, was the seventh race of 10 in the 2013 Alabama Mountain Bike Series.

The race drew 91 competitors and their friends and family, who stood near the finish line and milled around their cars, awaiting the end of the races.

View a slideshow of more photos from Sunday's race

A mix of trail-hardened professional cyclists and anxious amateurs circled the trailhead on their bikes, specially built to handle the rugged terrain. Both pro and amateur cyclists took part in one of Sunday’s pro, category 1-3, single-speed and Clydesdale races.

Many of the cyclists were first-time visitors to Coldwater, which was a good sign that races like Sunday’s will have the effect trail organizers have hoped for: attracting new cyclists and broadening the area’s burgeoning outdoor tourism offerings.

For Ohatchee resident Ann Armstrong, 56, Sunday’s race was her first, though she’s been riding Coldwater’s trails since the initial 12 miles opened in June 2012.

Armstrong said her goal Sunday was to “Not get hurt. Not end up in that,” she said, pointing to a rescue vehicle.

Armstrong rides other trails, she said, from “Oak Mountain, Sylacauga, Raccoon Mountain in Chattanooga, trails in North Carolina.”

But the Coldwater trail is as good as any, Armstrong said.

“I guess that’s why I hardly go to them anymore, because this has everything,” she said. “Especially since they’re adding to it.”

Trail experts with the International Mountain Biking Association continue to build on the current trails at Coldwater, and are working their way to a new, fully developed bike park and trailhead planned for downtown Anniston. The 4,000-acre tract on Coldwater is owned by the state’s Forever Wild Land Trust, which set aside the property for recreational use.

Stewart Miller of Birmingham rides his bike every day, usually on Oak Mountain’s trails in his hometown, but he said he was looking forward to what Coldwater has to offer.

He’s heard from fellow cyclists that Coldwater “is the best trail system in the state.”

Sunday’s race would be his first time on the trail as well. He said he knows a trail like Coldwater’s does not come cheap, but the investment comes with a payoff.

“If they’re going to spend the money to build the trails, we’re going to come,” cyclist Matt Ellis said.

Ellis has ridden Coldwater before, and runs an amateur cycling team for Bike Link of Hoover.

“This place is amazing, Ellis said, while preparing his bike for his category 3 race. “It’s the best place within a five-hour drive of Birmingham.”

Race organizers gave out $5,000 in prize money Sunday.

Professional cyclist Thomas Turner sat atop his bike listening to “Hotel California” play over a loudspeaker while waiting for the pro race to begin.

Turner did one lap of the course Sunday to get a feel for the layout, and said it’s “really twisty. Wide open, and pretty fast.”

The 31-year-old from Canton, Ga., has raced all over the country and abroad since he began as a pro in 2000. His team will compete in an eight-day stage race in Mongolia later this month. He went on to win first place in Sunday’s pro race.

Mountain biking has changed over the years, Turner said, and today there are more smaller events like Sunday’s, and fewer large national races than in years past.

“There are so many more options now. I think we’ve taken the attention from one venue and spread it out all over the country,” Turner said.

And races like Sunday’s on Coldwater can attract new riders to the sport, he said.

Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.

Coldwater Crush race results

Pro division

1. Thomas Turner

2. Omar Frazer

3. Jerry Dufour

Division: Cat 1 Men

1. John Newsom

2. Victor Karm

Division: Cat 1 Men 35+

1. Joseph Dabbs

2. Jamie Alexander

3. Tony Esposito

4. Matthew Johnson

5. Joseph DeChiacchio

Division: Cat 1 Women

1. Lisa Randall

2. Lila Bowers

3. Maaike Everts

Division: Single Speed

1. Brad Hood

2. Patrick Casey

3. Scott Staubach

4. Murphy Davis

5. Hardwick Gregg

6. Stewart Miller

7. Shannon Robertson

8. John Schwab

Division: Cat 2 Men 10-18

1. Reid Richesin

2. Chase Davis

3. Jackson Davis

Division: Cat 2 Men 19-29

1. Justin Tucker

2. Cole Davis

3. Jason Silvers

4. Miguel Soto

5. Brandon Mader

6. Daniel Porter

7. Chase White

Division: Cat 2 Men 30-39

1. Pete Edmondson

2. Kurt Dorshimer

3. Jason Bierley

4. Michael Enervold

5. Jeff McCord

6. Robert Brunson

7. Mark Legaspi

8. Matthew Ellis

9. Adam McGhee

10. Juro Sunde

Division: Cat 2 Men 40-49

1. Kevin Vest

2. Frank Davis

3. Derek Richesin

4. Brian Roth

5. Leon Nolen

6. Steve Durden

7. Doug Littrell

8. Todd Higey

9. Anson Keller

10. Marty Mitchell

11. Keith Knable

12. Pete Foret

Division: Cat 2 Men 50+

1. Dusty Davis

2. Nick Kirby

3. Todd Atkins

4. Mitch Mercer

5. Tony Jewah

6. Larry Lucas

Division: Clydesdale

1. Igor Nikolic

2. J.D. Vibert

3. Bill Riddle

4. Marcus Tillman

5. Lewis White

Division: Cat 2 Women

1. Gretchen McElveen

2. Mary Lou Davis

Division: Cat 2 Women 35+

1. Jennifer Humber

2. Mary Paternostro

3. Angela Schmidt

Division: Cat 3 Men 10-18

1. Grayson Davis

2. Ross Richesin

Division: Cat 3 Men 19-29

1. Michael Morris

Division: Cat 3 Men 30-39

1. Joseph Magouyrk

2. Brian Degaetano

3. Jacob Probus

4. Mitchell McIntosh DNF

Division: Cat 3 Men 40-49

1. Darin Sims

2. Ben Carr

3. Darren Swanson

4. Michael Meyer

5. Duane (Tony) Hill

6. James Brazil

Division: Cat 3 Men 50+

1. Kenny Coffman

Division: Cat 3 Women

1. Holly Carmichael

2. Autumn Lindsey

3. Tommilynn Meyer

4. Mary McWhirter

Division: Cat 3 Women 40+ 1. Jan Jenkins-Ardovino

2. Karen Lyles

3. Lisa Littrell

4. Ann Armstrong

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