The sounds of squeaky brakes and clatter of bicycle chains rang through the rain soaked woods on another chilly Washington morning.

But this morning competitors came together to test their skills.

For servicemembers and civilians at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, this morning was all about being challenged during the Xtreme Mountain Bike race, hosted by the JBLM Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Directorate, March 26.

Forty members of the local community, broken down into three categories, recreational, beginner and sport, were challenged during a 10- to 40- kilometer cross country race over hills and muddy trails.

For some of the racers, this was their first time they took the opportunity to try mountain biking at all, let alone in competition.

"I have only been mountain biking twice ever, we had a good time," said Ashley Shanklin, a military spouse racer. "I am just proud we made it and only got lapped by four people."

For the experienced mountain bikers, this race proved to be fun and challenging for them as well.
"This course is fantastic, as good as any race I do over the year," said Pat Dale, a member of the Olympia Fire Department.

"I did this race last year and they do a great job putting this on. It is a great course and the race is organized and staffed really well."

Despite the weather, the overall moods of the racers were positive and many look forward to another race next year.

"I would love to see more people come out next time. Maybe they could do another race over the summer. That would be great," Dale said. "If anyone even hears about this race, they need to come and give it a try."

At the end of the day, many of the racers considered the race an excellent opportunity to vary their exercise regimens.

"This is my first time in a race. I like to get out and try different things in extreme sports. I like to work different muscle groups and get the competitive juices flowing," said Lt. Col. Doug Levien, 593rd Special Troops Battalion and first-time racer. "Everything that (F)MWR does, I support. It is a great opportunity for Soldiers to come out and (get) some physical fitness and have fun at the same time."

After all the mud had settled and the times were tallied in the men's recreational class, Carl Morehouse took first place, Jose Mendoza second, Lafaye McCarver third. In women's recreational Audrey Gallardo won first, Mary Morehouse second and Maria Walton third. Men's beginners: Daniel Ray first, Brandon Baimbridge second, Craig Miller third; women's beginners: Joan Campbell first, Angela Zecca second, Jody Phipps third. In men's sport class, Pat Dale took first, Ian Mullins second and Lawrence Elliot third.