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High School

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 past weekend.

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 a minute.

Sara Kylander-Johnson

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 was third.

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.


35 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

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