Series action in both Minnesota and Wisconsin highlighted the racing this past weekend. This weeks report includes recaps from both events including a first hand report from the St. Cloud Singletrack Escape compliments of Junior rider Cole Johnson. Another busy weekend of racing on tap as we look at the main events including a epic Enduro event in Duluth.
Singletrack Escape-MNMBS #2
All eyes were on the weather leading up to the Singletrack Escape on the tight and twisty trails known as the “Jail Trail”. Although the area did receive rain on Saturday, the relatively dry deck absorbed the moisture nicely making for “hero dirt” come race day. Combined with cooler temps and a breeze from the northwest, conditions were about as good as they could get.
(Photo: Kids Comp lined up at the Singletrack Escape, Credit: Ben Olson)
Hometown hero Kyia Anderson used her local knowledge of the course, ninja singletrack skills and elevating fitness to take the women’s elite race in a field of 13 riders. A good battle at the front as Robin Williams took the second spot followed by Eleanor Bacso, junior rider Zoe Camp, and Tiffany Edholm.
A new face at the top of the podium in the men’s elite race as Samuel Berkland took the win in a sprint finish over Carson Thompson. Third went to Mason Bacso who had a strong showing last week in Copper Harbor at the Keewenaw Trails Fest Enduor, fourth to Brendan Bellew and junior phenom Braedon Anderson from Cuyuna Country, rounding out the top five.
Sport Junior rider Cole Johnson provides a first hand report from his race which had a nice battle of junior riders, 8 of the top 10 all under 18.
The track at St.Cloud is always one of the best of the year. The trademark tight and twisty trails is a challenge, but never fails to make for a great race. I race the two lap,12 mile, sport race in the 15-18 wave and we went out second, behind the 50+ wave. It made for a good amount of extra passing for us, but not the end of the world. I took the start pretty fast around the grass field and dropped into the singletrack first, we caught the wave in front of us quickly which led to some interesting passing and interactions. I bobbled while behind one of the 50+ riders, causing the group I was with including my teammate Andrew Shuros to pass me. I ended up fighting through the 50+ wave while trying to catch the lead group for the rest of the first lap. As I did, I rolled up to the four leaders from my wave, I saw they were recovering and taking drinks while on the ski trail so I attacked from the back and led into the final single track of the first lap. After coming out into the big field at the lap, I saw Shuros and I had a gap on the other guys, so we gunned it to make the gap stick. We ended up racing together off the front for the remainder of the second lap, he kept picking great lines in the woods that kept us rolling through the woods quickly. We went into the last single track section together, I was leading him, after that we approached the 180 degree left hander into the 100ft run to the line. Andrew and I sprinted it out with him taking the win by half a wheel. Always fun to throw down with your teammates and go 1-2 overall for the day! Thanks Mid-Minnesota Cycling Club for keeping these trails so great!
Note: Series photographer, David Markman, rode Dirty Kanza this past weekend and missed the Singletrack Escape. Not to worry, he will be at all the future races. Checkout an article about David's DK adventures
Battle of Camrock-WORS #3
A large turnout for race #3 in WORS, the Battle of Camrock in Rockdale that featured tight racing in all fields.
A new women’s winner for WORS this season in the Elite class as Leia Schneeberger of De Pere, WI. climbed her way to the top step after scoring a convincing win over the field of nearly 20 female riders. Minnesota rider Anna Christian opted for the WORS series and nailed down the second spot. Holly Lavesser, Katrina Hurst and Caitlin Neuman rounded out the top five as a nice overall battle is started to take shape among the elite women.
(Photo: Brian Matter back racing in WORS at Battle of Camrock, Credit: XTR photo)
The elite men saw a group of five battling for the top spot sprinting to the line with Peter Karinen taking the win over Cole House. Ben Schmutte, Caleb Swartz and Brian Matter rounded out the top five. Matter posted on Insta:
It was great to be back on the WORS scene this past weekend. Live music, lots of pumped people, and of course deep friend cheese curds in the food trucks! The racing was intense as ever. Ninja skills required to fly thru thickly forested slightly greasy singletrack. In the end I was in poor position and finished 5th in the five man sprint up the last climb to the finish. Rumor is next year’s race is going to be bigger and better! Congrats to Pete on the win and taking home the money.
From Chequamegon founder himself, Gary Crandall, this plea for some "chief" candidates in working on the big race:
While there will be many calls for volunteers, this call is for a person who would want to get involved in a paid staff level position. My goal is to bolster my existing stadium set up and racer services department with an additional “Chief”. The particulars of the compensation that include payroll, staff clothing and food and beverage for a chief’s position will be further detailed to individuals who consider the opportunity. This position supplementing existing staff would require some planning meetings, pre-race weekend involvement in setting up various stadium area functions including finish line, bike wash, showers and bike corral. Of course an energetic race weekend and clean up would also be part of the deal.
Email, phone or stop in the Chequamegon office for further info.
The Borah Epic is a challenging, single track mountain bike race from Cable to Hayward, WI, that donates race profits to the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association. The Borah Epic has been touted as the best race in the Midwest featuring many popular CAMBA segments including the Gravity Cavity. Big post race festival that sees many riders extending the weekend enjoy the plethora of trails.
Max Fierek, who has promoted an enduro/downhill event on his personal trails (the Hidden Gem), is now stepping it up a big notch, putting on what looks like one sweet event in the Duluth area -- the Duluth Hard Enduro. Personally Enduro has been a super fun avenue the past few years, mostly gravity but a little bit of climbing. Although the hard core downhillers balk at any climbing, personally true Enduro has a good blend of climbing and downhilling of course to keep riders honest.
(Photo: Rock garden at Piedmont trail system)
Max explains the details on the Hard Enduro, "This is a big mountain style all day epic Enduro race across the city of Duluth hitting all of the raddest trails from fast and flowing to rocky techy gnar! We want to both crown the best riders around and show off all the incredible mountain biking Duluth has to offer.” Riders will be logging over 40 miles with the only lift service action near the end of the day.
The Minnesota series heads northwest to Detroit Lakes for race #3, the Shakedown. The race course will be a mix of the on site offerings. (No Mountain View singletrack to the south) New mountain bike optimized flow trails, along with switchback climbs that lead to flowy fast descents, mixing in gravity trails and teasers of custom built wood features to provide a unique race course to test and entertain all levels of riders. Detroit Mountain was recently awarded 1.2 million to purchase land and build 5 miles of new trail in the future.
Keep the wheels moving!
About the author...
Jay Richards maintains a very active lifestyle. He somehow finds time between managing a full-time resort (Maplelag) and bringing up a family of four boys with his wife Jonell, to compete in both mountain bike and a few cross-country ski races. Jay rides for Maplelag Resort, manages the Maplelag mountain bike team and enters his 28th year of racing and promoting mountain bike races.
Have an event or mountain bike related information to share from the Midwest? Feel free to contact Jay at