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Midwest MTB Report

by Jay Richards
July 10, 2018

The heat of the summer is in on as racing action in both the Minnesota and Wisconsin series resumed as well as other big events that including the Tatanka 100 in the Black Hills that always draws riders from the northern Midwest. The high school season has started with practices taking place daily throughout Minnesota. This weeks report includes a first hand report from the Border Crossing, highlights from the big WORS Cup, a few mountain bike articles to pass along and the usual look ahead.

Border Crossing MNMBS #5

Minnesota riders crossed the river to hit up the Border Crossing, race #5 in the Minnesota series held at the popular Whitetail Ridge trail network. The temperature combined with sticky dew points made for extremely hot conditions by the time the Elite races rolled off in the middle of the day. Cole Johnson who has found himself in a fun battle with fellow junior riders in the Sport race, provides a recap:

The course at Whitetail Ridge is always one of the best, it has climbs, old school singletrack, fun descents and technical features. The Sport race was doing 2 full laps which was posted as 14 miles. It started with a big jeep road climb and takes a lap around a field before diving into the single track.


(Photo: Cole Johnson on the line ready to rip with the Junior class)

I was slower than I would have hoped on the climb, sitting about 10th wheel at the top, but ended up 5th by the time we got to the woods. A group of 5 of us ended up together for a bit before two people pulled of with mechanicals at the same time. Chris Buescher with a flat and Stas Bednarski with a derailleur issue. After attacks in the double track, it was Barrett Hall and Me at the front. I led for the middle portion of the first lap but Hall attacked on the second jeep road of the course and gapped me going into the final singletrack section on the course. By the time we had gotten to the lap, the gap between us was around 30 seconds. Even though he was just out of sight, I used the second lap to recover briefly and chase after him, and eventually got back on his wheel just before that second jeep road climb. Unfortunately he had the legs on the climb to put another gap on me, and I couldn't quite close it to the finish. I finished alone about 15 seconds after Hall. Bummed to miss out on the win, but very glad to be able to race hard on a great course that the KORC people do such a great job on. It's never a bad day when you're fighting for the win on great trails.

In the Elite races, Jeff Hall took yet another win putting in a dominating performance taking the win by over 6 minutes in front of Dominic Talerico. The battle for final podium spots were a bit tighter with Brendan Bellew, Carson Thompson, and Samuel Berkland rounding out the top five.

New faces at the top in the women’s Elite race as Risa Hustad took a convincing win over junior rider Madelyn Anderson. Ashely Busack took third, junior rider Gabby Mazion was fourth and Kat McCarthy rounded out the top five.

The marathon race saw riders cranking out 5-7 laps and four hours plus of racing. However, winner Bruce Martens made it 8 laps en route to the win in the male division of the marathon in 4:22:43. Matt Abel, Ben Hey, Chris Stewart and Jeff Bushendorf rounded out the top five.

Results

WORS Cup

Sanctioned as USA Cycling’s Midwest Regional Mountain Bike Championship for Cross-country (XC), Short Track (STXC) and Enduro, the WORS Cup offered both Championship and Non-Championship for all ages and levels of experience in the above disciplines. The three day event, drew riders from all over the upper Midwest, racing on the slopes and trails at Alpine Valley ski resort.

The Pro races were divided from the Category 1 races and saw a field of 15 Pro men in the cross country race. Cole House continued his dominance in the Midwest this year taking another win in the cross country in a tight battle for the top three spots. Former Wisconsinite Brian Matter of Chequamegon fame now living and training in Arizona, took second just 17 seconds back and Caleb Swartz just 4 seconds back from Matter. Peter Karinen, who would win the Enduro on Sunday took fourth, as Kyle Trudeau rounded out the top five. A few of the regulars were missing from the line including Corey Stelljes who is currently racing in the BC Bike race and posting top 15 finishes.

The Pro women’s race saw just one Pro rider as Holly Lavesser took the win. Of course the Category 1 division was solid as Leia Schneeberger continued her strong season taking the Category 1 cross country title. Second overall Cat 1 female Katrina Hurst won the 23-29 division, and 6th place overall Maddy Frank won the u23 division.


(Photo: Suns out guns out, Cole House flexes his way to a short track win by inches)

Exciting short track racing was the buzz of energy on Sunday as both Schneeberger and House continued with their winning ways winning the Pro/Women Open fields. House just inches in front of Matter and Swartz, respectively.

Results 

Mountain Bike Mecca

While many riders in the Midwest head west for big mountain riding, Lutsen Mountains is offering specials for riders to enjoy the plethora of riding options along the North Shore and highlighted in a recent email blast:

Lutsen Mountains was host to the Lutsen 99’er, one of the premier mountain bike events in North America. Now that the energy and enthusiasm of 1800 riders has past, what we are left with is simply a great place to ride. Cook County offers countless forest roads and two track trails, hundreds of miles of backroad gravel, a network of technical single track at both Britton Peak and Pincushion Mountain and the easy riding paved Gitchi Gami trail. So whether you are training for your next big event or just looking for a quiet ride in the forest, the comfortably cool North Shore is your summer biking mecca. Our friends at Visit Cook County have put together a variety of resources and maps for planning.


(Photo: Flow trail segment on the Pincushion trails)

Share the Shred 

Spirit Mountain and Cyclists of Gitchee Gummee Shores (COGGS) present the Summer Share the Shred Series! This event was put together to provide kids and families with a free and friendly welcome into the sport of mountain biking and a way for families to spend more time outdoors together. The series will occur every two weeks over a month and half this summer to teach and encourage kids both new to the sport and familiar with it techniques, trail awareness, and just how to have a good time being active. All events will be held at the Grand Ave chalet at Spirit Mountain.


(Photo: Share the Shred at Spirit Mountain, Credit: Spirit Mountain)

Looking Ahead

Big Woods Classic MNMBS Race #6

Race #6 in the Minnesota series hits up the new trail system and the fast flowing track at Lake Rebecca, just west of the Twin Cities. "With over 14 miles of new construction, tightly-weaving singletrack in Lake Rebecca Park Reserve will climb and descend through dense oak and maple forests, open prairies and scenic wetlands that are home to a thriving trumpeter swan population – all while catching beautiful views of Lake Rebecca. From kids with energy to burn to hard core bikers, there’s a race for everyone.” MNMBS

Miners Revenge

The Miner’s revenge takes place in the UP of Michigan near Greenfield, MI. Truly a unique event as the cross country course runs through a old mine….lights required! There is also a viewing of RedBull's North of Nightfall. Come enjoy a movie and popcorn underground* in the natural AC! Downhill and Enduro racing ensures a full plate of riders for raw and old school riding.

National MTB Championships


(Photo: There will be plenty of rocks and roots to challenge riders in all courses and disciplines at the USA Cycling National Championships at Snowshoe, West Virginia. Credit: Brice Shirbach)

USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships  are set for July 17-22 at the Snowshoe Ski area in West Virginia. Stars and Stripes will be awarded to multiple age categories and levels in cross country, short track, downhill and Enduro. A contingent from the Midwest will be trekking east and look for first hand recaps the following week.

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


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