2004 WORS Stage Race
By Jay Richards
June 28, 2004
Longtime WORS series director, Don Edberg, pulled off the
2nd running of the WORS Cup. The WORS cup is a mountain bike
stage race with riders competing in a time trial, a short
track and a cross country race earning points for overall
classification. Other events included a downhill race, dual
slalom and trial course creating a full plate of mountain
bike events at the Devils Head resort in Merrimac, WI. this
The time trial kicked off on Friday with near perfect conditions
for racing. The course was a five mile loop of the trails
to be used for the cross country race on Sunday. The start
even included a plywood ramp to help riders get up to speed.
Elite riders went out at 60 second intervals. Doug Swanson
was the first to go off as riders were seeded numerically.
Doug was also the first one in posting the early fast time
to beat. Doug was in the hot seat until the results were posted.
Jeff Hall was the overall winner taking the time trial in
just under 18 minutes. Robert McVean had a solid 4th place
finish showing everyone he was a rider to watch for that prized
top five GC spot. Sara Kylander Johnson (SKJ) took the women's
elite clipping back in action Kyia Malenkovich by just over
Saturday's short track event used a new and exciting format.
There were qualifying heats that consisted of 8 riders per
heat. The top 3 riders per heat would advance to the next
round until there were 6 riders left for the final heat. Each
heat was two laps long allowing almost no room for error and
making for some fast race on the spectator friendly course.
There were also second chance qualifying heats for riders
who didn't make it out of the first qualifier. Since the GC
was based on points, the stxc was probably the most important
day for GC riders as riders earned points for each qualifier
in addition to their overall placing. There was a bit confusion
early on as to when the races were going to start and who
was going when but once the racing started and the heats thinned
out the racers, most of the riders thought the format was
fun. In the men's elite final, Swanson, Hall, Schouten, myself,
Eppen and Dan Swanson did battle and we finished in that order.
Doug make a vicious attack on the final climb to open up enough
gap for the win. On the women's side Kyia's return to racing
was successful as she came from the middle of the pack to
take the win. Anne Grabowski pulled down the second spot setting
up a exciting final day for the women.
Sunday's cross country had a huge field of Elite riders with
109 male and 21 female riders lining up at the start line.
The top 3 elite males for the GC were pretty much set in stone
(barring any mechanicals) with Doug and Jeff ready to duke
it out for the #1 spot on the GC with Shouten hoping to make
a surprise. The battle for the 4th and 5th spot was intense
as well with 6 or so riders in the running. Once again the
big three were off the front off the bat and the battle was
on.There were also riders not riding all three stages such
as singlespeeder Lalonde and Ettmayer who were making the
riding intense. Up at the front Jeff and Doug were doing battle
with Tristen giving chase until misfortune occurred for Doug
running into Jeff's chain ring and flatting. Doug record fixed
the flat and chased hard closing the gap to 90 seconds or
so but then had a hard crash even cracking his helmet. Doug
collected and still managed to hold second spot. McVean broke
from the top 10 of riders on the climb of the second lap and
worked his way up to the front putting in a very strong ride
battling with Shouten and finishing fourth on the day. Eppen
and I rode together most of the race knowing that whoever
was in front had a good chance to crack the top 5 spot on
the GC. Eppen attacked on the last climb and charged hard
until the finish catching both Ettmayer and Lalonde. Near
the finish Eppen crashed into Lalonde but in good form allowed
Lalonde to take the 7th spot. Junior rider Cole House had
an impressive finish in the 11th spot.
On the women's side racing was tight as the battle for the
overall was nip and tuck. In the end, Megan Monroe did WI
proud by taking the win in the xc. SKJ was second and Grabowski
When results were posted for the overall, the final points
were very close. SKJ took the women's overall by just two
points over Anne. Kim Eppen rode consistently on the weekend
for the third spot. On the men's side Hall took #1 by one
point, Doug #2, Schouten #3, Eppen #4 and Dan Swanson #5.
A great weekend of racing and some good times on what I thought
was one of the top xc courses in the Midwest. Hats off to
Don and the organizers of the WORS cup for pulling it off.
Hopefully this event will continue into the future.
photos from Jay Richards
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
cross-country ski races. Richards has finished second
overall in the MNSCS expert series and 11th in the Chequamegon,
and has notched a number of top 100 finishes in the
Birkie. Jay rides for Bokoo
Bikes, located in Chanhassen