2010 Eleanor, WV – Sep 25th

I love going home to West Virginia.  The beautiful mountains constantly pull at me while I’m city dwelling.  I just wish there were better and more jobs.  Still, it does me great good to go home once in a while.

Eleanor is such an iconic small town.  It’s right in between the river and the mountains – barely a couple of miles wide and not much longer.  The people there love their country living, Friday night football and the outdoors.  I’m so excited that they are embracing mountain biking, too!

Like last year, the overall event promoter, Larry Perkins, secured use of an excavator to move around the big rocks, logs, tires, spool, and concrete forms and barriers.  It’s always a little intimidating trying to imagine how to place everything for the sections.  But, as we found, once you start just dropping things around, the ideas start flowing.  We managed to build three combined (Beginner/Sport/Expert/Pro) sections in one small area.  I then gave Larry creative freedom with the concrete barriers while I laid out the tape.  He had a bit of fun and made a neat spot for one more combined section.

As usual, I tried to lay out the Beginner sections as tight, twisty lines that were pedal-able with minimal hopping required.  The Sport sections only stepped up a little with some ups and downs.  Expert added some height and gaps while Pro had a number of big moves, including a hook.  Unfortunately, no Pros showed up.

You can see from the results that we had quite a small group.  None of the Beginners had ever competed before and one of them, Jestin, had never even ridden a trials or mountain bike before.  Bravo to them all for riding so well.  I hope to see you all again soon!  It gives me hope for the future of US trials to see young new faces.

I was especially impressed with Hauke Ludolfs.  He and his mother came all the way up from Myrtle Beach for the second year in a row, and even brought a friend (Zoltan) with them.  Last year was Hauke’s first competition.  Even though he only rode Sport this year, his improvement has been astounding.  His technique is phenomenal.  It probably helped that he spent part of last summer in Germany riding with some of their best riders.  Still, he is a US rider to watch.  I really think he could be something special.

Well, another NATS season has come and gone.  Eleanor might have been a small event but it was a nice ending to a great year.  I owe huge thanks to all of the riders, their families, my parents and, especially, Larry Perkins.  I’m looking forward to doing it all again next year.


Beginner (4 sections, 3 loops)
1. Jason Blades 28  
2. Jestin Cantrell 55  
3. Zoltan Vider 56  
Sport (4 sections, 3 loops)
1. Hauke Ludolfs 7  
2. Jesse Thacker 50  
Expert (4 sections, 3 loops)
1. JR Valandra 32