Midwest MTB Report

by Jay Richards
May 23, 2024

The mountain bike season is well and truly off and running in the Midwest, but the lack of reports until now has been due to a wrist injury a month back that kept me off the singletrack and the keyboard. It’s been a little wet lately, but temperatures have been great for the early season and making for nice early season conditions, especially for mountain biking and gravel riding when the trails need a bit more time to dry out. Both the Minnesota and Wisconsin racing series have kicked off, with the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series heading south to Rochester and Gamehaven Park for race #1, while the Wisconsin Off-Road Series is on race #2 (which was also part of the US XC Open series, and the third stop on that series) and took place at the Englewood Farm in Fall River, WI. Highlights from both races are in this week's return report, as well as some additional mountain bike news and notes.

A wet spring has made for lush conditions in the deep woods

MNMBS #1: Gamehaven Grind

To kick off the season the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series went south to Rochester to take on the fast rolling course at Gamehaven with riders eager to test their early season fitness.

Chris Ziegler, who was leading the Elite series last year until he got sick for final two races, was eager to take the back the overall lead and kicked off the season right with a solid win among a competitive crowd. With only four welcomed laps, the times were tight. Taking the win for the Elite women was Charli Worcester, while the women's marathon race was won by Emily Flyn who cranked out an impressive 9 laps. Aaon Olson took the title in the men's marathon race, one of only two riders to complete 10 laps.

In early June the series heads north to Chisolm for the next stop: the picturesque course at Redhead.

Gamehaven Grind Results

WORS #2: Englewood Open

Wisconsin riders trekked to Fall River for racing at the Englewood Open, a private cattle farm that opens its property to racing on its trails just one weekend a year. The venue was also hosting race #3 in the US XC Open series featuring short track racing on Friday and cross country racing on Saturday, both UCI category events.

Banking for the turn during Friday's short track racing (Credit: Englewood Open)

Sunday was the WORS cross country race which featured another full day with multiple classes and large fields competing, especially in the junior divisions. Summer-like weather and perfect conditions on the fast rolling course laced with multiple rock gardens greeted nearly a 1,000 riders. I was one of the riders to toe the line, albeit a bit cautiously with the wrist in the final stages of healing. The top elite men had an international flavor with Esteban Ochoa from Costa Rica taking win, while Nataha Visnack took the top spot in the women's elite race. Top junior riders were Zanna Logar in the girl's division, and Myles Perry in the boy's division.

Navigating one of the many rock gardens at Englewood (Credit: Kate Koelzer)

My biggest takeaways from the day were the large Junior fields and their competitiveness while having fantastic sportsmanship. The future is very bright for mountain bikers, nurtured by the growing of NICA and plethora of junior teams available to more serious riders.

Junior Rider sailing through the rocks (Credit: Flint Drummond)

The Battle of Camrock in Cambridge will be the next stop in the Wisconsin Off-Road Series on June 2nd.

Englewood Open Results

US XC Open Series Coverage on CX Hairs

US XC Open Series Website

Opening of the OTM Telemark Trails Delayed

While many are eager for the new trails at Telemark built by OneTrack Mind to open for the season, the recent rain has delayed their opening due to the construction and nature of the machine built trails, massive amounts of dirt hauled in on top of the original soil and terrain, by making the displaced dirt more vulnerable to damage. Despite the setback, plans are still in place for a grand opening on June 1st to celebrate adventure, community, and the unique trails.

Testing out the new Telemark trails last fall (Credit: American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation)

Related: Epic Bike Fest: July 7-9

Racing Returns to Split Rock Wilds

After a brief hiatus, the Rock Splitter is back. This year's course is crafted to push riders of all levels and experience:

"Expect a demanding 20+ mile course that challenges both your endurance and bike handling prowess. Splitrock Wilds provides views and terrain not found anywhere else in the region."

Rolling over the rocks on the Split Rock Wilds trail

After a neutral rollout from Beaver Bay, the course points uphill into the newly constructed Split Rock Wilds trails, where your riding skills will be put to the ultimate test. Navigate relentless rock gardens, zip through flowy sections, and conquer punishing uphill battles and exhilarating descents.

Rock Splitter Facebook Event Listing

World Cup Mountain Bike Racing Comes to Lake Placid, New York

Lake Placid will be one of 10 worldwide sites to host the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Mountain Bike World Series this season, a first for the venue. The Adirondack Park venue will be one of six new sites for the international competition according to the UCI website.

Top American Chris Blevins in World Cup action (Credit: UCI)

Mt. Van Hoevenberg, used in the winter for cross-country skiing and sliding events, will be used for UCI Cross-Country World Cup and UCI Short Track World Cup mountain bike race as detailed by the calendar unveiled by UCI.

UCI Mountain Bike World Series Website

Relate: WHOOP UCI Mountain Bike World Series Debuts at Mt Van Hoevenberg

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 34th 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