JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - He looked like a man in his 30s and rode like one a decade younger than that.

No one else really had a chance in the Sport category of Saturday's annual Joint Base Lewis-McChord Extreme Mountain Bike Race when 48-year-old Pat Dale decided to show up.

It was over hill, but nobody over Dale, as the Olympia racer conquered the sometimes muddy trail behind Soldiers Field House.

"It's just a fun event," said Dale after covering 30 kilometers over four laps in 1 hour, 32 minutes, 31 seconds. "It's a fairly small turnout, but they do such a good job organizing it. It's great stuff."

Dale rode with the urgency of someone on his way to a fire, and why not' The 30-year veteran of the Olympia Fire Department serves as assistant chief of operations there. His blazing pace brought him across the finish line more than five minutes ahead of the next rider in his class.

The winner of this race two years ago, Dale took the lead immediately this time and never relinquished it. He rode alone nearly the entire way.

"It's more fun when you're dicing it up with people," Dale said. "It's harder to push yourself with no one around, as you can imagine, but that's all right."

Roy Losey also finished alone, winning the two-lap, 15K race in 53 minutes, 7 seconds - not bad for a 58 year old.

"I ride in the morning before work," Losey said. "It keeps me young. At least I'm try to fight (ageing)."

Losey had placed second in the same class the first year this race was held.

"I thought I'd try it again," Losey said. "I got in better shape this time, and I have a better bike."

Craig Miller, 37, rides a lot less than Losey, but he still managed to place first in the one-lap, 7.5K race. Miller turned in a time of 30:58.

"I haven't been on my bike for a while, so I thought, well, maybe one (lap) would be a good idea," said Miller, adding that it was "a great feeling at the end there."

Joan Campbell, 47, was unchallenged in the women's 15K race, winning in 1:08:51.

Hillary Shores, 28, shared Miller's sense of relief at the finish line. Shores came across with her husband, Nathan Shores, and won the women's one-lap race in 49:45.

"She just had a kid a month ago, out on the bike after her third child," Nathan said. "This is her first race and her third time ever riding a mountain bike. I'll tell you, for the first time, she was bombing those downhills."

She had scrapes and dried mud on her leg and arm to prove it.

Hillary shrugged it off, pointing out that it was "only one bad fall. It was towards the end."

The underside of his blue and white mountain bike was brown with mud, but overall winner Dale emerged remarkably clean from his dominant effort.

"For this time of year in the Northwest," said Dale, "it's not very muddy. (The course) was in good shape."

Obviously, so was this year's winner.

Bob Reinert is assistant editor of the Northwest Guardian, Joint Base Lewis-McChord's weekly newspaper.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16