National mountain bike series returns to Wisconsin

For the first time in nearly a decade, the Midwest will host a US national cross country series stop. The Subaru Cup will welcome a stop on the US Pro Cross Country Tour (US Pro XCT) on June 26-27.

The Subaru Cup is the annual mega-event of the Wisconsin Off Road Series, and is one of only five Pro XCT events in America during the 2010 racing season. Other upcoming venues on the Pro XCT Tour include the Sea Otter Classic, in Monterey, California, the Mellow Johnny's Classic, hosted on Lance Armstrong's Rancho de Juan Pelota in Dripping Springs, Texas, and the International Classic in Colorado, Springs.

North America's top male and female racers, including some racers who represented the United States and Canada in the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, will compete at the Subaru Cup to qualify for the 2010 national championships and 2012 Olympics. The race at Nordic Mountain near Wautoma will offer a taste of Midwest mountain biking, with wooded singletrack, fast descents and short, steep climbs.

WORS will award an increased prize list at the Subaru Cup, totaling nearly US$7,000 for top finishers in the Pro XCT. Cash prizes will be awarded over 30 places in the elite men's field and over 20 places for the elite women. An elite short track, presented by Wheaties Fuel, will also offer racers the chance to compete for cash payouts. In total, nearly $10,000 in cash prizes will be distributed.

Now in its 19th season, WORS is America's largest state mountain bike racing series. The series has an average attendance of over 650 racers for each of the 12 WORS races held throughout Wisconsin. The first priority of the WORS Series is "to create access to fun, competitive mountain biking for as many individuals as possible," said Series Director Don Edberg.

In addition to the elite races, the Subaru Cup will host a full slate of amateur racing with ability categories and age classes for everyone. The Subaru Cup will also serve as the first USA Cycling Midwest Regional Championships, which will crown champions in all age categories and ability levels as "Fastest in the Midwest".

"WORS continues to focus on creating the ultimate environment for as many mountain bikers as possible to explore their potential through safe, fun, friendly competition," said Edberg. "Whether you are looking for a great individual race to motivate your riding or want to immerse yourself, family and friends in the complete social and competitive experience that is WORS, we have you covered."

Spectator turnout is a hallmark of events hosted by the Wisconsin Off Road Series. In 2009, the Subaru Cup drew over 800 spectators during a weekend of racing. WORS Series Director Don Edberg expects an increase in spectator turnout and in racer participation in 2010. The Subaru Cup Pro XCT course is of the modern World Cup model, approximately four miles in length. Over an area of 60 acres, it winds in on itself several times to provide spectators convenient access and numerous viewing opportunities. From the all-new "spectator central", spectators will be able to cheer for their favorite racers on multiple climbs and technical descents every lap.

Along with the racing, Subaru Cup organizers will offer an expo, tours of the race course, wake boarding, onsite camping, food and entertainment.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.