Rinehart and House win at WORS Wigwam MTB Challenge

Strigel, Matter lock up series overall titles

Nearly 700 racers and as many spectators braved crisp fall temperatures at the season finale of the 2009 Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS), held this weekend in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Jenna Rinehart (Specialized) and Cole House (BMC Racing) took home the top honors, and substantial payouts, from the Wigwam MTB Challenge Belgioioso elite races.

The men's field blazed off the start line to contend for a sprint prime that was awarded nearly a quarter mile up the road. In that first sprint, House surged to a 15-second gap, collected the prize, and hit the singletrack ahead of a chase group that included Sheboygan racer Tristan Schouten (Planet Bike), Adventure 212 / Specialized teammates Mike Phillips and Darrin Braun, and Nathan Guerra (Mr. Tree Racing). House never looked back, finishing 40 seconds ahead of the chase after five laps of the course.

The ladies set a more conservative pace and stayed together on the leadout until Abigail Strigel (Mafia Racing / Pabst / Felt) and Meghan Korol (Twin Six) challenged Rinehart for the prime near the line. Rinehart held them off and rode ahead into the singletrack, along with fellow Minnesota racer Kyia Anderson (Hidden Bay Sports). Wisconsin gave chase with Strigel, Korol, Lori Sable (Twin Six), Lisa Krayer (Wildside Velo Club) and Sheboygan racer Andrea Matter (Gear Grinder) in close pursuit. Strigel eventually gapped the rest of the Wisconsin women and caught Anderson. Anderson's bike suffered a mechanical in the second lap, forcing her to drop out. With Rinehart out of reach, Strigel held off Sable and Matter throughout the race to claim second.

Opportunities to shake things up in the men's race

With the WORS Series leaders Brian Matter and Mark Lalonde off racing cyclo-cross in Cincinnati, the opportunity existed for several riders to shake up the remaining series overall points. Mike Phillips, Nathan Guerra and Darrin Braun were all in contention for the remaining top spots.

"The field was smaller than in previous years because some of the 'fast guys' didn't make it," said Phillips. "Without Brian Matter, Jesse and Marko Lalonde, and Doug Swanson, the race was more wide open than before. I knew going into it that Cole had a good chance, and Tristan as well, because we all rode together last weekend [at the WORS Wolf River Rendezvous]. I thought if I played my cards right, I could possibly get the win, but I would have to be patient. Unfortunately Cole had a 20-second gap into the first section of singletrack and that was pretty much it! Tristan and I worked together to bring him back all race, but only managed to match his pace. The course was super fast and we were all basically riding the same speed, so 20 seconds might as well have been 20 minutes."

In the end, Tristan Schouten would claim second place with Phillips finishing a close third.

"It came down to Tristan and I fighting for 2nd," said Phillips. "On the last lap, he got in front before the 'Equalizer' hill and I thought I'd wait until the field before the finish to challenge, but it was shorter than I remembered and I couldn't get by."

Fourth place finisher Darrin Braun raced at Sheboygan last year on a singlespeed in the category 2 field. Braun has made the big jump to category 1 this year look easy. He finished fourth at Sheboygan and fourth overall in the WORS Series standings, and is currently the second ranked category 1 male in the nation for cross country.

The transition to a geared bike, which Braun has been riding during the latter half of this season, has seemed less smooth. In his first two laps at Sheboygan this weekend, Braun found himself stranded in his most difficult gears. He lost touch with the leaders, and struggled on the climbs.

"Basically, I blew myself up trying to chase back on," said Braun. "I've been trying to hang with the lead group all season. That was my goal for this race, and I wanted to be up there and contend. Go for the gusto. I couldn't shift and so I tried to make it happen with one gear. I'm a singlespeeder, right? But the gear I was pushing was just huge - I had to run up the 'Equalizer' in my first lap. By the time [teammate] Chris Peariso caught up to me, my legs were cooked. He coached me through, and the problem with the shifting began to work itself out. We rode together until the finish."

Braun also had props for the course. "Last year, the course at Sheboygan was kind of a surprise for me, because it rips. I figured those trails were in a park in the middle of town, so how good could they be? But it's just a totally awesome course."

"The course at Sheboygan is always one of my favorites," agreed Phillips. "It just never lets up and you're always on the gas! You can hammer through all the corners, no brakes, just on the edge of control. Super fun! And the new root climb right before the Equalizer was a challenge every lap."

The Sheboygan race also boasts a large spectator turnout and bonuses from the race organizers. In addition to the initial sprint prime, everyone who rode to the top of the 'Equalizer' hill collected a crisp, five-dollar bill. A huge group of screaming spectators lined the steep climb throughout the day, and near-perfect conditions for racers this year meant they were rewarded with a great show.

"The fans were great as always, and with the big payouts there's always an extra motivation to hurt a bit more, " said Phillips. "One thing I won't forget is seeing a guy go sailing into the river. Man that must've been cold!"

Rinehart powered to the win while Wisconsin gave chase

"I look forward to this race every season," said Specialized racer Jenna Rinehart. "The course is so much fun and always has great spectators. I'm happy with my race and had a fun time."

Rinehart is wrapping up her greatest season to date, which includes a top 10 finish at Sea Otter, the WORS Subaru Cup stage race win, and two dominant victories at Triple Crown races Ore to Shore and the Chequamegon 40. She seemed untouchable at Sheboygan, crossing the line over eight minutes ahead of the chase.

"Kyia Anderson and I broke away from the field and were riding together for the first lap", said Rinehart. "Starting the second lap I had a small gap but she closed it once we got back into the single track. About a quarter of the way through the second lap all of a sudden I noticed she wasn't on my wheel anymore so I just kept pushing the pace as hard as I could. I later found out Kyia had broken her frame and had to drop out."

Abby Strigel caught up to Anderson before the trouble began. "We were having fun, but then her bike started to make weird noises and the frame broke." Mechanicals and mishaps hampered several riders in the women's field, including Lisa Krayer, who broke her chain while riding in third place and the author, who fell in the river before crossing the line in fifth.

When asked about her own race, Strigel said simply, "It hurt. A lot."

"Andrea [Matter] and I were working together the entire race," said Sable. "We saw Abby just up ahead and were attempting to close the gap but she's an intense competitor and we never were able to do it."

WORS Series overalls contested to the finish line at Sheboygan

While WORS official point totals will appear on Wednesday, by unofficial calculations Brain Matter (Gear Grinder) and Abby Strigel had their WORS series wins on lockdown before the Sheboygan race even began. In fact, both Matter and second place overall finisher Mark Lalonde (Planet Bike), missed the final WORS race of the season to represent Wisconsin in the 2009 Cincinnati Cyclo-cross Festival.

Back in Sheboygan, Andrea Matter edged out category 1 newcomer and current number one ranked category 1 cross country female in the nation, Meghan Korol, in the final race of the season. Matter and Korol end the season tied for the fifth place podium spot in the women's field, and will receive identical prize packages. Lisa Krayer retained fourth place overall despite her mechanical at Sheboygan, and Lori Sable surged into second place ahead of Holly Liske (Hayes Disc Brakes).

Mike Phillips made the biggest jump in the men's rankings to claim the third step, beneath Mark Lalonde. Darrin Braun and Nathan Guerra completed the top five men for the 2009 season.

Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Cole House (BMC Racing)1:54:58 
2Tristan Schouten (Planet Bike/GT)0:00:44 
3Mike Phillips (Adventure 212/Specialized)0:00:46 
1Darrin Braun (Adventure 212/Specialized)1:59:21 
4Chris Peariso (Adventure 212 / Specialized)1:59:21 
5Nathan Guerra (Mr. Tree)2:02:37 
2Jordan Roessingh (Is Corp)0:00:47 
3Maxwell Anderson (UW Plattville)0:00:53 
1Ray Nelson (Treadhead Cycling)2:04:17 
6Ronald Stawicki (Team Polska)2:05:48 
7Cam Kirkpatrick (Rasmussen Bike/ Orbea)2:06:12 
2Ryan Krayer (GTDirtCoalition/WildsideVelo)0:00:30 
3Trevor Olson (Muddy Cup)0:00:46 
4Dan Holsen (Lake Area Physical Therapy)0:01:04 
4Scott Golomski0:02:14 
5John Gatto (MARS)0:03:56 
5Matt Gehling (Team Wors)0:04:43 
8Scott Cole (Adventure 212/Specialized)0:05:30 
6Neil Swanson (Team Wors)0:07:04 
6Chris Mantel (Velo Trocadero)0:07:44 
1John Lirette (Hayes DiscBrakes)2:14:11 
2John Shull (CLIF BAR)0:00:45 
3Jan Rybar (Team Pedal Moraine)0:01:08 
7Glenn Kirst (Wheel & Sprocket)0:01:17 
4Chad Hildebrandt (Hammer Nutrition)0:01:19 
7Luke Holtan (Velo Trocadero)0:02:36 
8Mike Budd (Wheel &Sprockett)0:02:44 
8Sam Wellskopf (Attitude Sports)0:03:47 
5J. W. Miller (Mafia Racing/Pabst)0:05:12 
6Russ Krueger (Muddy Cup / COLC)0:06:19 
9Craig Manthe (Polska)0:06:41 
7Jerrod Collier (Muddy Cup Racing)0:13:57 
Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jenna Rinehart (Specialized)1:46:54 
2Abigail Strigel (Mafia Racing/Pabst/Felt)0:08:45 
1Lori Sable1:56:19 
1Andrea Matter (Gear Grinder)1:56:43 
2Claire Cannon (Team Wors)0:08:44 
2April Dombrowski (Team Pedal Moraine)0:00:24 
3Meghan Korol (Twin Six)0:03:16 
3Brenda Zimmermann Thorpe (Dude Girl/Fat Tire Guides/RMC)0:05:38 
4Karlene Olson (Muddy Cup Racing)0:07:20 
4Regina Livingston (Alterra MTB/TwinSix/SixSixOne)0:08:16 
5Jennifer Whitedog (Skinny's Club Tread)0:08:46 
5Rachael Gatto (Twin Six)0:12:20 
6Christine Czarnecki (Alterra CoffeeMTB Team)0:14:41 
6Michelle Peariso (Adventure 212)0:19:17 
Cat. 2 Junior men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Greg Krieger (Alterra)1:46:41 
1Caleb Lenss (Titletown Flyers)1:49:11 
2Kyle Warras (EXPO Racing)0:00:08 
3Ben Senkerik (Team Extreme)0:00:49 
4Cameron Schave (Fond Du Lac Cyclery)0:00:58 
5Myles Beach (expo)0:01:32 
2Eric Smith (Ripon College Red Hawks)0:09:32 
6Nathan Labecki (EXPO)0:14:01 
Cat. 2 Junior women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Megan Wolf (Team Extreme)2:12:02 
1Liz Shull (CLIF BAR)2:15:06 
2Sarah Huang (Hayes)0:16:20 
Open Men 50+
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1John Timm (Team Extreme)1:53:32 
2Don Edberg (Team WORS)0:01:31 
3Marcum Martz (Mountain Outfitters)0:05:49 
4Mark Muraski (Riverbrook)0:19:02 
Open Singlespeed Men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Micael Vasey (Infinity Cycling)1:41:52 
2Chad Boyles (BVC / Nomad Cycling)0:01:31 
3Joe Stephens (Hayes Brakes)0:01:37 
4Greg Jones (Hayes Brakeslery)0:06:22 
5Matt Millin (Mountain Outfitters)0:07:51 
6Jerry Daanen (Twin Six / Mars)0:09:36 
7Mark Burkholz (Extreme Bike)0:10:05 
8Brent Palmer0:11:49 
9Russell Jobs (Hayes Brakes)0:15:12 
10Zachary Giffey0:17:04 
11Joe Nolan (Momentum Bikes)0:17:56 
Cat. 2 "Comp" men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Matthew Muraski (The Route)1:43:00 
1Bryan Bos (SRAM)1:43:36 
1Dan Schaefer (Team Pedal Moraine)1:44:08 
2Bill Street (Gear Grinder)0:01:35 
3Nick Sabel (Fond du Lac/Oshkosh Cyclery)0:01:36 
1Michael Spiro1:45:55 
4Justin Piontek (Twin Six)1:46:10 
2Randy Wegener (Fondulac Cyclery)0:00:44 
2Benjamin Cisneros (Team Pirate)0:00:28 
2Anthony Dipiazza (Gear-N-Up)0:00:18 
1Jess Kruchoski (Guinnesswerks)1:47:50 
5Brian Braun (UW-Stout/Bad Cat/Team Expo)1:48:28 
2Ric Damm (FondduLac Cyclery/RiponCollege)0:00:39 
3Jesse Shoemaker (Performa Cycling)0:00:40 
1Jeff Sympson (RVO/ Kegel's)1:49:08 
6Spencer Cone (Wildside)1:49:15 
3Jeff Aksland (clif bar)1:49:28 
3Greg Heil (Wheel & Sprocket)1:49:32 
7Joseph Maloney1:49:42 
4Kurt Schwiesow (Tower Clock EyeCenter)1:50:00 
8Andrew Rosch1:50:04 
4Ben Neubauer (performa Cycling)1:50:25 
2Ross Lemke (Team Pedal Moraine)0:00:06 
5Neil Zacharek0:00:20 
3Erin Sikora (Titletown Flyers)0:00:23 
5Brad Dash (Twin Six)0:00:26 
6Noah Marcus (Chain Smokers)0:00:34 
9Peter Coenen0:00:36 
10Eric Lau0:00:53 
4Anthony Ferrara (New Moon Bike Shop)0:01:05 
7Karl Tillman (LaCrosse Velo Club)0:01:07 
3Sean Shields (Pedal Moraineine)0:01:36 
5Wally Kunstman (Gear Grinder)0:01:37 
8Tyson Schwiesow (Tower Clock Eye Center)0:02:47 
9Rick Walls (Muddy Cup / T6)0:02:57 
10Dan Tavela (Treadhead)0:03:04 
4David Compton (Compton Bros. Racing)0:04:03 
5Glen Stroik (Wheaton Franciscian Healthcare)0:04:26 
6Steve Pribek0:04:45 
7Mark Cole (Specialized/Titletown Flyers)0:04:57 
6Greg Dougherty (Gray Goat Sports)0:05:17 
7Scott Hietpas (Wors)0:05:29 
4Brian Petted (Fuel Cafe/Garage 864)0:05:40 
5Nick Christofalos (Clif Bar/T6/Higher Gear)0:05:49 
6Scott Spoo (Wannabee Racing)0:05:53 
8Jeremy Vogels (Performa Cycling)0:06:09 
11Michael Sherven (Fat Tires and Beer)0:06:09 
12Daniel Hanson0:06:17 
6Bob Phelps (Alterra Coffee)0:06:19 
11Chris Gabrielson (Wildside Velo Club)0:06:56 
7David Feuillerat (JVC/Michael's Cycles)0:08:02 
13Tim Racette0:08:08 
8Justin Meyer0:08:13 
9James Huber0:08:25 
8John Gregorski (Expo Racing)0:08:30 
9Jeff Hammond (GuinnessWerks)0:08:42 
7Jay Labecki (Hayes Brake)0:08:53 
10Karl Erbach (Project 5 Racing)0:10:22 
8Paul Rainey (Guinness)0:11:12 
11Mike Joachim (Stadium Bike)0:11:35 
14Sebastian Corby (Log Eaters)0:12:29 
12Michael Ziegler (JVC/Michael\'sCycles)0:13:00 
13Shawn Hoppe (Fond Du Lac Cyclery)0:13:36 
9Mark Balkenende (Guinness)0:13:44 
15Eric Moe0:13:55 
10Robert Schrank (Team Type 1)0:18:52 
12Douglas Cutler0:22:28 
13Jonathan Nehring (Peddle Moraine)0:23:27 
10Krystian Pac (PACT - DISH Network - Miodu !)0:25:25 
11Steve Jeske (Pedal Moraine)0:26:34 
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