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Midwest MTB Report

by Jay Richards
August 28, 2018

Mountain bike racing in August came to an end this past weekend as the Wisconsin Off Road Series wrapped up their season and rainy weather challenged riders elsewhere in the Midwest for training and the first NICA race in Minnesota which ended up having to cancel the later events due to heavy rain. This weeks report includes a recap from WORS, a couple mountain bike related items to note and a look ahead to a jam packed Labor Day weekend.

WORS Final

Lake Geneva was host to the final race in the Wisconsin Off Road Series, Treadfest, and wrapped up another great season in Wisconsin. Just like it has been all season, the racing was tight from top to bottom including the competitive Elite classes. The battle for the top spot came down to the wire in both the elite men and women races. Leia Schneeberger edged out Holly Lavesser by just 19 seconds in the Elite female race as those two riders put a good size gap on the rest of the podium which included Katrina Hurst, Anna Ganju, and Mary Penta.

The Elite men saw Cole House take another win as he keeps pace to his best season of the year, but not without a fight from second place finisher Ben Senkerik, by just three seconds. Payson Partridge, Ray Nelson, and Ethan Jedlicka rounded out the top five. Second place finisher Senkerik provides a recap:

The final WORS race went off with a bang. The course at Lake Geneva isn’t very forgiving as there is a fair amount of climbing. To start off you shoot right up a short steep hill, only to descend right back to the bottom, then climb back up a longer, more gradual climb. I knew the first climb was going to be fast since there was a $100 prime for the first person to crest the top. The goal wasn’t to take the $100 but to stay close enough to the front. Well, I was 2nd up the start climb, so I tried to relax as much as possible since the second hill was more demanding. About half way up the second climb, I knew it was time. I put in the first attack of the day and established the gap.

Ben Senkerik working a trail feature in WORS final at Lake Geneva en route to a second place finish

After 1 lap, only Cole House managed to keep the pace. He took the lead on lap 2 and kept the pace high enough to keep everyone else out of sight. On lap 3, the fireworks went off. Rolling back onto the start climb, I threw in the first big attack. I gave it everything up the first 2 climbs and had a sizable gap. After about 10 minutes, Cole latched back on and we rode hard until the start of lap 4 (the final lap). Cole hit it hard up the start climb and I watched him roll away. I knew I had the speed to catch him about 1/3 of the way through the lap, on the hardest switch back climb. As I thought, I did manage to catch him there, then countered and tried my hand again, only to get caught. Cole then put in one last dig but couldn’t make it stick. Coming into the last 2 miles, it was all about relaxing and trying to recover for the final sprint. As we rolled back onto the start climb, Cole put in one final attack and got about a 2 bike length gap. We rolled back to the bottom and I had nothing for the last few meters. With WORS over, it is now time to transfer over to ‘cross and Chequamegon prep!

Results

The Epitome of XC Mountain Bikes

The transformation of mountain bike technology over the years as been pretty much awesome. I feel very fortunate to have experienced mountain biking for 30 years, from when the first bikes were pure rigid to the transformation they have become now. These days there are a plethora of options for tight and twisty fun from full suspension trail bikes, enduro bikes, cross country bikes, fat bikes, and plus bikes (what else did I miss, eBikes?) Add suspension, dropper posts and constantly changing components, we are truly blessed to be able to maximize riding comfort and fun to the fullest. Outside magazine captures a bit of the evolution in a recent article.

How a Nationally Ranked Runner Ended up Winning the Mountain Bike Nationals

Three years ago, Staci Nash, now 27, had just completed her collegiate running career as a two-time Division II NCAA champion on the track.

Today, she’s earning medals on a different terrain: After taking up mountain biking in May 2016, Nash has already earned two national titles. This hardware represents her commitment to her new sport, and the appreciation for all the transferable skills—how to train with intervals, focus on sleep and nutrition, and push through even the hardest workout—she’s learned on the track that she’s now taking to the road.

The result? The combination of the two sports has helped her grow into more of a multi-faceted athlete than she ever was before.

Full article in Bicycling Magazine

SAM Spotlight on Mountain Biking

Ski Area Management Magazine is a good read for alpine related activities and resort operations and keeps a pulse on summer activities, one which includes, of course, mountain biking. Most recent issue spotlights mountain biking.

Looking Ahead

Laddies Loppet 

Maplelag hosts it big mountain bike weekend of the year, the 28th Laddies Loppet, one of the longest running events in the Midwest. Cross Country racing on classic old school singletrack Saturday, Short Track racing on Sunday. In between, mountain bike fellowship around five bottomless cookie jars, live music, yoga, bonfires, dirt jump track, lake activities and home cooked meals for folks staying at the resort. New singletrack for all courses and new starter loop for the Expert men that includes the infamous lakeside drops.

Weaving through the Old School, Laddies Loppet 25th Anniversary race 2015 (Credit: Skinnyski.com)

The Grind 

After hosting a stage race for nearly two decades over Labor day weekend which included raw old school cross country and downhill races, Giants Ridge took a break from mountain bike racing over Labor Day. Now that the alpine ski area has added gravity trails, multi event racing has returned with "The Grind". Saturday will feature long cross country mountain bike racing and kids race then an evening cyclocross race. Sunday an Enduro is being offered on the new gravity trails. Free entry for NICA racers.

Copper Harbor Trails Fest 

The Copper Harbor Trails Fest takes place in Copper Harbor, MI. The annual Labor Day Weekend event features beginner, sport, and open Enduro races, short (~15 miles) and long (~30 miles) XC courses, Downhill Race, and a Junior Fat Tire event (for kids 14 and under), and a 10K Trail Run. Enjoy music, beer, and good times on Saturday and Sunday! The long Enduro and Downhill are part of the Lake Superior Gravity Series.

Railing a berm on the Copper Harbor trails

Dakota Five-O 

In its 17th year, the Dakota Five-O continues to entice riders from across the country. From the pristine, hand-built singletrack that graces much of the course, to the high spirited after party, riders are impressed with the event and the beautiful town of Spearfish in which it is held.

Scenic trails in Spearfish as part of the Dakota Five-O (Credit: grindtv.com)

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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