Summer is starting to heat up in the Midwest as the Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS) presented by Trek continued with its fourth event of the season. This past weekend just outside of Wausau WI, the Red Eye Rendezvous was staged at one of the Midwest's premier mountain biking and cross-country skiing areas, Nine Mile County Forest. The soggy single track kept mountain bikers searching for the best line while hammering the ski trail segments to make time. Although Saturday was overcast and rainy, Sunday proved to be the hottest racing conditions yet for the 2015 season.
The BelGioioso Elite Men's race started out swift with a fast lead pack of four. Tristan Schouten (Rolf Prima/Attitude Sports), Nathan Guerra (Vision Cycling), Brian Matter (KS Energy/Mosh) and Justin Piontek (Adventure 212/Specialized) rode together through the first lap. At the start of the second lap, the group slowly dropped Piontek as afterward he would try to use all of his matches to catch the pack again. At the start of the third lap, Matter and Schouten began to pull away from Guerra until it was just the two of them. Matter, racing tactically, made sure not to ride away from Tristan too early, but towards the end of the fourth lap Matter began to pull away.
With about five minutes left to the race, the singletrack seemed to slowly separate Matter and Schouten. Matter was able to take his second win in a row while Schouten finished closely behind in second. Guerra finished shortly under 3 minutes behind the leader for a third place and Piontek finished a respective 4th place. Ben Senkerik (Team Extreme) took his second 5th place finish of the season.
In the BelGioioso Women's race, a new face from Minnesota made her first appearance this season making spectators and racers alike look twice. Jennifer Nowlin (The Fix Studio) from Plymouth, MN tried to give the BelGioioso's overall leader, Cooper Dendel (Quick Stop Bike Shop) a run for her money but came up short. Dendel was able to ride away early in the race and was not seen again by her opponents. Nowlin chased after Dendel but was happy with her second place finish.
As for third and fourth place it was close match. Lindsay Guerra (Vision Cycling) was in third place for the majority of the race until she crashed on one of the more technical sections. When she fell, her seat was twisted and as she tightened it, her seat clamp broke. Lindsey Kriete (unattached) was able to pass Guerra in the last lap to take the third place. Guerra, broken seat and all, finished just 23 seconds behind Kriete to grab fourth place. Leia Schneeberger (Vision Cycling) respectively finished in fifth place.
WORS racing will continue on June 28th with the Red Flint Firecracker in Eau Claire WI. The Red Flint Firecracker gives mountain bikers a little taste of everything between a fast roll out start, the historical "Whoops", flowing singletrack and a pinch of punchy climbs. For more information visit http://wors.org/schedule/firecracker/