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Cyclists get down and dirty

Boonsboro bicycle race is backdrop for upcoming movie

Boonsboro bicycle race is backdrop for upcoming movie

April 28, 2008|By ANDREW MASON

BOONSBORO - Even though he didn't win, Chris Eatough was still the star of the show Sunday at the Greenbrier Challenge men's pro mountain bike race.

Eatough, 33, of Ellicott City, Md., will play himself - a six-time world champion - in the fictional movie "MAX VO2 The Potential Inside," which will be released next year.

A film crew from Red Cloud Productions was at Greenbrier State Park on Sunday to capture some of the racing, including Eatough in action.

"We're bringing together professional athletes and professional actors to make this great film about bike racing," said executive producer Scotty Curlee, who was on hand Sunday. "This is truly filming at a grass roots kind of mentality, because we want to make a film that's very gritty, very authentic.

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"Authenticity, that's what it's all about. We want to show just how tough the sport is."

Those who raced Sunday already know, as the recent rainstorms made the grueling trail course even more treacherous.

"It made it tough," said Jeff Schalk, who won the men's pro race. "Even just 10 minutes in, your chain was skipping around and your shoes were soaked. There were huge puddles everywhere, where you were going through like six inches of water and everything was spraying. Your glasses got all clogged up with mud and it was hard to see."

The course consisted of a 5.7-mile loop, which the pro men had to complete five times.

Schalk, 34, of Harrisonburg, Va., covered the 28.5 miles in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 32 seconds. His Trek VW teammate, Eatough, was the runner-up in 2:11:26.

"It's nice to win," said Schalk, who finished second at Greenbrier each of the last two years. "This is the biggest race in the Mid-Atlantic."

Eatough was in 11th place, more than two minutes behind Schalk, at the end of the first lap.

"I had to fix a flat tire in the first lap," said Eatough, who finished third last year. "That put me about 2 1/2 minutes behind. I was just chasing from then on. I knew I'd catch most of the guys and get near the front, but I also knew that (Schalk) would be riding well in the front."

Schalk - who beat Floyd Landis, the controversial champion of the 2006 Tour de France, in a 100-mile mountain bike race in Tennessee last weekend - gradually broke away Sunday.

The lead pack, which consisted of four riders through two laps, was down to just Schalk and Harlan Price of Philadelphia after three laps.

"I felt real comfortable," said Schalk, who began the fifth lap with a 45-second lead on Price. "When they were staying on my wheel, I didn't try to attack too hard because I knew I felt strong, and they seemed to be struggling on the climbs. I knew I could pull away gradually.

"But I knew (Eatough) would be coming."

Price finished third in 2:13:12 after getting passed by Eatough in the final lap.

"I was charging the whole way," Eatough said. "I just couldn't get (Schalk)."

Eatough doesn't like his chances of winning the culminating race in the movie either.

"I don't know, but I think I'm going to get my butt whipped in the movie," he said. "The lead character is going to be the storyline. They train him to beat the pros."

Curlee won't say.

"I don't want to ruin the surprise," he said.

SoBe-Cannondale's Theresa Richardson of Davidsonville, Md., won the women's four-lap pro race in 2:09:20, leading from start to finish.

The Greenbrier Challenge, which featured a full day of racing for all ages and ability levels, was sponsored by the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For information about "MAX VO2 The Potential Inside," visit the movie's Web site at www.maxvo2themovie.com.

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