McKenna Dwyer – Iceman: November 5, 2016

Coming into the race I probably didn’t get all the training that I needed to, but I was still in better shape then I was about two weeks ago. I haven’t won a race since I shined at the Copper Harbor Trails Festival and I was hoping to end the season on a high note. For those of you who don’t know what Iceman is it’s a point to point race starting in Kalkaska, MI and ending in Traverse City, MI. The race is approximately 30 miles give or take depending on the year and the conditions of the race are in the name. This year, we all lucked out seeing that it was 60 degrees and we could all race in our normal kits and not be cold. This year I feel like I have really struggled mentally because I let my mind get to me making me too nervous before a race. I really want to figure this out for next year but for right now, I learned I had to deal with it until the season was done. The day before the race we got out and rode the last few miles of the course and we already knew there was going to be record breaking times on this course. I felt prepared and was focusing just on my race and having fun and not making it too competitive.

The day of the race we drove the half hour drive down to the race and on the way I decided to watch Peaking: UCI World Cup – 72 Hours with Jenny Rissveds for some motivation and inspiration. I got to the venue and tried to take some beet juice but as you know, having something you don’t like the taste of plus nerves never works out and I puked half of it back up. This has also been something I’ve struggled with this year. I just did some casual warm ups seeing that I don’t need to do any thing to crazy since it’s a long race. We watched the older boys go off and then we lined up and per usual I was being myself on the start line and cracking jokes because it’s what I do when I’m nervous. The race started off casual as we quickly broke the group down to five riders. We switched off pulling and drafting except for one girl who sat on the back and never pulled. About six miles into the race coming out of a short single track section my chain came off and I had to watch that lead group pull away from me. As I struggled to get my chain back on, I counted 30 seconds go by and got on my bike and thought in my head “now I have to go.” Thanks to Nathan Guerra and Vision’s training I knew I would have to use one of my 20 minute efforts from training to close a 30 second gap that seems so small but really has an effect on your body. Of course where my chain came off ended up being the spot where all the climbing started. I struggled to get up the climbs by myself with no help and quickly got pretty tired but knew I just had to get to that lead group to catch a break. I kept pushing until another racer informed me that a group of four girls just went by a few seconds ago, I was closing the gap. Luckily, I just got out on to the road section that was super fast and I put the power down and that group came into view. When this sort of thing happens in a race and the racer comes so close to contact with a lead group it motivates them more and this happened, but they knew I was coming. Once they were in my sights it probably from there still took me 10 minutes to catch up to them. Once I finally caught up we were coming up to the half way point of the race and one of the girls who was a road racer knew I just put in a huge effort to catch up and of course she decided to attack and one rider went with her. After they started their attack my friend Katy passed me and started chasing after them. The girl who hadn’t done any pulling fell pff the back quickly and it was the two girls who pulled away from Katy and me and then it was Katy just 20 feet ahead. Soon that effort started to kick in and Katy pulled away from me. This was all so disappointing to me because I feel like I would’ve been able to go with those two girls if my chain wouldn’t of came of so it’s always frustrating. Knowing that I’ve beaten all the three girls who were ahead of me in previous years was also disappointing but it helps me learn what I did right and wrong. Almost the whole year hasn’t gone well for me and any race I have felt super good in I usually then end up having a mechanical. It had been an off year for me and I hope to recover and come back stronger next year mentally and physically.

I pushed pretty hard for the rest of the race just trying to beat the times of the older girls to get on the overall podium. Honestly, I felt really good in the race and was proud of my body’s improvement over the past two weeks compared to the last couple of NICA races. I got to one of the final climbs and saw my dad who was telling me to push it on the last hill so I of course hammered it up the hill with everyone cheering. I came into the exciting finishing area and was disappointed I couldn’t hold up the three from winning three years in a row but right now I just wanted to place overall. I came through and after about an hour figured out I just made the overall podium getting fifth place overall.

I learned so much form all my failures this year and know what I need to try to key in on for next year. Thank you to Nathan Guerra, Vision Cycling, my family, my friends, and all other supporters and sponsors for helping me make it through this year. This year was definitely tough on me but that’s what makes improving so much fun.

Vision Wheel & Sprocket Fall Color Festival: September 24, 2016

Held at the John Muir southern unit of the Kettle Moraine state forest, the Fall Color Festival is independently run single day race.  This course, known for its well maintained and flowy single track, draws in many racers from all over the state.  Not overly technical, but still remaining challenging this course was met with rains in the days prior to the event.  With slick conditions in lower lying areas, the higher sections with sand remained tacky and fast.

Participants were able to select from several different course lengths ranging from 5 to 35 miles.  Racers are able to choose their race regardless of category.  The shortest race, 5 miles, is the perfect opportunity to introduce kids and beginners to the sport with a single lap of the brown and white loops.  The 12 mile race, equivalent to a citizen category 3 race consists of a single loop of the brown and blue.  With a brown loop and 2 blue loops, the 22 mile provides a good intermediate race for participants at roughly a Category 2 level.  The final race, 35 miles includes the entire brown, blue, connector and Emma Carlin green loops.

22 Mile Results

  • Elijah Johnson 1st overall with a time of 1:57:14
  • Steve Lipski 11th overall, 1st in age group with a time of 2:04:17
  • Walter Sdrenka 25th overall, 3rd in age with a time of 2:14:52

35 Mile Results

  • Nick Sdrenka 4th overall, 1st in age group with a time of 2:43:12
  • Lindsay Guerra 1st overall (females), 1st in age group with a time of 2:57:07
  • Brian Paterson 12th overall, 1st in age group with a time of 2:55:33
  • Matt Paterson 13th overall, 1st in age group with a time of 2:55:33

Take a look at the start of the 35 mile race from Matt Paterson’s perspective:

 

Vision Wheel & Sprocket WORS #9 Treadfest: September 11, 2016

Being one of the most challenging courses in the WORS circuit, Treadfest remains a fan favorite among spectators.  Recently cleared trees by the newly opened switchbacks that climb towards the infamous rock garden offered the perfect vantage point for spectators.  Once again, the Grand hosts a course that promises plenty of rocks, roots and tight turns.  This course is offers some great white knuckling twists, but still manages to spread it into a fun package that doesn’t leave you ever wanting it to end.

Junior Results

  • James Wardle 1st in age group for Junior Males age 9 AND 9th overall!
  • Charis Guerra 1st in age group for Junior Females age 9 AND 12th overall!
  • Brianna Fletcher 1st in age group for Junior Females age 10 AND 1st overall!
  • Abby Johnson 4th in age group for Junior Females age 7 to 8 AND 14th overall
  • Joshua Wardle 4rd in age group for Junior Males age 7 to 8 AND 38th overall

Vision’s Jr. Elite, Nick Sdrenka showed he is ready for even the most difficult trails by taking a 1st overall!

  • Nick Sdrenka 1st in age group for Cat 1 Junior Male AND 1st overall!

Category 2 and 3 Results

  • Asa Guerra 3th in age group for Cat 3 Females 11 to 14 AND 3rd overall
  • Lucas Fletcher 16th in age group for Cat 3 Male 11 to 14 AND 64th overall
  • Isacc Johnson 12th in age group for Cat 3 Males 11 to 14 AND 56th overall
  • Dean Wardle 4th in age group for Cat 3 Male 30 to 34 AND 31st overall
  • Leah Fletcher 1st in age group for Cat 2 Sport Female 13 to 14 AND 3rd overall!
  • Elijah Johnson 2nd in age group for Cat 2 Sport Male 13 to 14 AND 6th overall!
  • Walter Sdrenka 9th in age group for Cat 2 Sport Male 50 to 54 AND 67th overall
  • Todd Fletcher 2nd in age group for Cat 2 Sport Male 55 to 59 AND 55th overall
  • Steve Lipski 1st in age group for Cat 2 Comp Male Masters 50 to 59 and 28th overall

Elite Team Results

Vision Elite’s Lindsay Guerra represented with a strong 3rd for the day and earning herself a spot on the podium!

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  • Brian Paterson DNF
  • Matt Paterson 1nd in age group Cat 1 Elite Males 23 to 29 AND 32nd overall!

Closing Action Shots

James Wardle taking a 1st in age!

James Wardle taking a 1st in age!

Charis Guerra with a 1st in her age group!

Charis Guerra with a 1st in her age group!

Brianna Fletcher in 1st overall!

Brianna Fletcher in 1st overall!

Asa Guerra taking a 3rd overall!

Asa Guerra taking a 3rd overall!

Leah Fletcher with a 1st in age!

Leah Fletcher with a 1st in age!

Elijah Johnson with a 1st in age!

Elijah Johnson with a 1st in age!

Steve Lipski, Cat2 Comp, 1st in age!

Steve Lipski, Cat2 Comp, 1st in age!

Lindsay Guerra with a 3rd overall!

Lindsay Guerra with a 3rd overall!

Matt riding for a 1st in age.

Matt riding for a 1st in age.

Nick Sdrenka WORS #9 Treadfest: september 11, 2016

As one of the harder races in the WORS series Treadfest held at Grand Geneva ski resort in Lake Geneva proves to have high credentials when is comes to well known courses, with many hills to climb back to back steep, short, and very long it’s just enough to get you out of air for the upcoming tight and technical singletrack with the imfamous rock garden, wood features and switch backs to knock you off your feet. For me this course is like a carnival because of how much I loved growing up and racing at treadfest every year as the one race I did every year I grew very attached to the course knowing it inside out racing here this year was definetly something special. On the Sunday of the race did everything as I usually do, I did my warmups and then took to the start line facing the first hill climb, and everyone was off just as fast as we lined up. Following the start the first few hill climbs got everyone out of breath so the first half of the first lap all of us juniors riders stayed together but right after that me and Nate Knowles broke apart from everybody and rode within the top 15 riders and stayed in front of the guys who usually are fater than us keeping good pace so pretty much the rest of race me and Nate worked together and took turns making the race as fast as possible. Nearing the end of the race on the last switchback which was arguably the hardest one on the course I made the move and hammered out the last quarter of a mile to a mile and a half to the finish to go on and take 1st overall and 1st in my age at what I considered to be my home course and was very happy to take my first ever win there after 5 years of racing there!

Race reflections

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Vision Wheel & Sprocket WORS #8 Reforestation Ramble Race Report: August 21st, 2016

WORS race number 8 in the 2016 season was held at Reforestation Camp in Suamico, WI.  A long time staple in the series, known for its long marathon length course was shortened to add more intensity and single track into the race.  This year’s track focused, with the feedback from previous participants, on tighter turns and punchier climbs than long endurance efforts.  With a course that dries quickly and actually benefits from a little moisture to tack the trail, Sunday still proved to be a very fast race.

Junior Results

  • Charis Guerra 1st in age group for Junior Females age 9 AND 9th overall!
  • Brianna Fletcher 1st in age group for Junior Females age 10 AND 2nd overall!
  • James Wardle 2nd in age group for Junior Males age 9 AND 15th overall!
  • Joshua Wardle 3rd in age group for Junior Males age 7 to 8 AND 46th overall
  • Abby Johnson 5th in age group for Junior Females age 7 to 8 AND 19th overall

Junior Elite, Nick Sdrenka, after a difficult start to the race worked together with a fellow competitors to take a 1st in his age group!  McKenna Dwyer fought hard and earned herself a 2nd overall!

  • Nick Sdrenka 1st in age group for Cat 1 Junior Male AND 2nd overall!
  • McKenna Dwyer 2nd in age group for Cat 1 Junior Female AND 2nd overall!

Category 2 and 3 Results

  • Asa Guerra 4th in age group for Cat 3 Females 11 to 14 AND 5th overall
  • Lucas Fletcher 15th in age group for Cat 3 Male 11 to 14 AND 65th overall
  • Isacc Johnson 12th in age group for Cat 3 Males 11 to 14 AND 58th overall
  • Dean Wardle 7th in age group for Cat 3 Male 30 to 34 AND 42nd overall
  • Kyle Johnson 15th in age group for Cat 2 Males 40 to 44 AND 102nd overall
  • Leah Fletcher 1st in age group for Cat 2 Sport Female 13 to 14 AND 6th overall!
  • Elijah Johnson 2nd in age group for Cat 2 Sport Male 13 to 14 AND 6th overall!
  • Todd Fletcher 5th in age group for Cat 2 Sport Male 55 to 59 AND 48th overall
  • Walter Sdrenka 12th in age group for Cat 2 Sport Male 50 to 54 AND 75th overall
  • Dave Gavinski 7th in age group for Cat 2 Sport Clydesdale Male 45 and over AND 8th overall
  • Steve Lipski 4th in age group for Cat 2 Comp Male Masters 50 to 59 and 50th overall

Elite Team Results

Vision’s Lindsay Guerra placed 2nd overall for Elite Women!

WORS #8 Reforestation Ramble - Elite Women

WORS #8 Reforestation Ramble – Elite Women

  • Brian Paterson 3rd in age group Cat 1 Elite Males 30 to 34 AND 20th overall!
  • Matt Paterson 2nd in age group Cat 1 Elite Males 23 to 29 AND 26th overall!

Closing Action Shots

Chairs Guerra continues her streak of 1st's with yet another podium finish!

Chairs Guerra continues her streak of 1st’s with yet another podium finish!

Vision Junior, Brianna Fletcher riding towards 1st!

Vision Junior, Brianna Fletcher riding towards 1st!

James Wardle took 2nd in his age for the day!

James Wardle took 2nd in his age for the day!

Joshua Wardle taking 3rd against a massive field!

Joshua Wardle taking 3rd against a massive field!

Nick Sdrenka fighting for 2nd overall!

Nick Sdrenka fighting for 2nd overall!

McKenna Dwyer finishing strong in 2nd!

McKenna Dwyer finishing strong in 2nd!

Leah Fletcher, stronger than ever, taking 1st!

Leah Fletcher, stronger than ever, taking 1st!

Elijah Johnson riding strong in 2nd!

Elijah Johnson riding strong in 2nd!

Vision Elite, Lindsay, enjoying her way to 2nd!

Vision Elite, Lindsay, enjoying her way to 2nd!

Vision Elite's, Brian, on his way to 3rd in age!

Vision Elite’s, Brian, on his way to 3rd in age!

Matt hopping his way into 2nd

Matt hopping his way into 2nd

McKenna Dwyer WORS #8 – Reforestation Ramble: August 21, 2016

We originally were planning on not doing this race because my sister had a horse show, she ended up not doing it so we came up to race.  My sister and I drove up Saturday night and my dad was planning on coming early the following morning.  We got up to the race right as the fat bike race was starting that night.  We watched that and I didn’t get the chance to pre ride so I wouldn’t know what the course was like.  The next morning I was talking to people and heard that the course was almost all single track and was fast and flowy.  I watched all of the races and just relaxed in the beginning of the day and hung out with friends.  When it came time for my warm up I just did jumps on my trainer and then got on my mountain bike and started doing some jumps on the road.  I felt really good and felt like I was going to have a good race.  I lined up and was pretty pumped to race even though I didn’t know the course.  When the race started I was basically ahead of everyone and got passed pretty quick, but only by one Cat 1 junior racer.  The first place girl ended up getting away pretty quick and putting in a minute lead by the end of the first lap.  I was third coming through and was just behind second place.  The first lap I was just getting used to the course and was happy that its changed so much from previous years.  So, coming into the second lap I put in a hard effort and caught up to Hanna Mork.  We rode together for awhile and then I gapped her and put in probably my hardest and best effort that I have in awhile.  I kept pushing until I came to where my dad was standing, he told me I was only 10 seconds behind Katy.  When I got to the start to go out on my third and final lap I saw Katy McDicken who was currently in first just at the top of the hill.  She must have known that I was coming because she started pushing harder.  I ended up losing her after having her in my sights for awhile.  When coming through at the end she didn’t beat my by too much so I was proud that I gained a minute on her.  It was a very well deserved win for her after being out for an injury for almost six weeks and this being her fourth race back.  I’m super excited because my next race is the first race of NICA.  I can’t wait to be back racing there!

Nick Sdrenka WORS #7 and #8 race report August 21, 2016

#7 Hixon Forest Epic: August 7, 2016

Hixon forest  in LaCrosse is one of the harder races in the series with a ton of climbing, fast decents and crazy technical singletrack. To me it seemed like one of the better races for me because of all the climbing I knew that it would be a good area to make something of it and with my body feeling somewhat good I tried to go my hardest right in the beginning where it matters to get to the singletrack climb at the bottom of the bluff in the best position possible which ended up paying off in the first lap but after that first lap a group of us junior riders came together and worked together for a bit but after a while fatigue started to build up and I was left on the climb with practically no energy so at that point it was just about finishing the race in a good position. When I had come across the finish I could feel my whole body was cramped up to the point where it even hurt to sit down, but after a while I recovered from it and reflected back on my performance and picked out the things I did and did’nt do and set a goal to make sure that I could accomplish those goals the best I could in future races. So in the end nothing on the day really clicked for me so I had to settle with 2nd  and 4th overall.

#8 Reforestation Ramble: August 21, 2016

After taking some time off to relax my body a bit to gather myself from the last race I went back to work already looking ahead at a race that I honestly was’nt the most excited for but still anxious enough to race for the first time. The Reforestation course in Suamico had changed a bit this year from what it was in the previous years being a marathon style race which was more milage and not as much singletrack, but this year it was totally opposite with more singletrack and not as much mileage which I definetly found to be a stress reliever for me only because it was my first time racing there. So race day approached on sunday and I did the best I could to do everything I usually do on race day and hope that everything would work out. When 1:30 came around my body was feeling good, the temperature was perfect at around mid 70’s so it was not too hot and the race started with good positioning knowing where I was at in the field until about 50 to 100 feet into the first set of singletrack trails a guy in front of me washed out on the side of the trail and tried to recover quickly but resulted in him clipping my bars as I made a pass and immediately put everyone in the lower half of the field at a standstill so I had some extra work to do in order to catch up to the main group and that initially made me think to myself that this is not the ideal situation to get myself into to start the race off. After that mishap I just wanted to stay with the rest of the juniors throughout the race and have fun working together until about halfway through the first lap when one of the juniors started to break away from the group so I said to myself why not go with him and see where it goes, so the rest of the first, second, and half of the third we worked together and put together a fairly reasonable gap and made it as fun as possible. Later on in the third lap he started to slowly get away from me so one of the elite riders Kevin Lewis dropped back a bit so we definetly worked together really well to make eachothers race as fast as possible as Kevin went on finishing one more lap to finish 18th overall in the pro elite category and I finished first and second overall in the junior elite category.

Hixon race pictures

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Reforestation race pictures

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Happy to take a first at this race

Happy to take a first at this race

Vision Wheel & Sprocket WORS #7 Hixon Forest Epic Race Report: August 7th, 2016

Back for a second time in La Crosse is this years race number 7.  Known for its white knuckling decent and leg scorching climb, the Hixon Forest Epic has also added more technical single track to round out one of the most technical courses in the 2016 catalog.  Category 2 and above, within minutes of race start, are shot down the brakepad cleaning decent until they reach the bottom of the mountain.  Once at the bottom a quick break on a short flat is enjoyed before the long climb back to the top.  From there, technical and tight single track keeps racers on their toes as they brace for another lap!

Dry race conditions and warm weather were very welcome as wet conditions would have made an already challenging course downright intense!  With over 1100 feet of climbing per lap for some categories, Hixon yet again proves to be a must for the 2016 schedule!

Junior Results

Spared the long climb, Junior racer’s circuit remained on top of the mountain, but still offered plenty of exciting challenges for our youngest competitors.

  • Charis Guerra 1st in age group for Junior Females age 9 AND 7th overall!
  • Brianna Fletcher 1st in age group for Junior Females age 10 AND 2nd overall!
  • James Wardle 2nd in age group for Junior Males age 9 AND 6th overall!
  • Abby Johnson 3rd in age group for Junior Females age 7 to 8 AND 13th overall!
  • Joshua Wardle 7th in age group for Junior Males age 7 to 8 AND 46th overall

Junior Elites, riding the full course, earned great finishes as well! McKenna Dwyer, knee hurt and run over, still placed very well with a 2nd overall!  Nick Sdrenka also took home a 2nd in his age group and 4th overall.

  • McKenna Dwyer 2nd in age group for Cat 1 Junior Female AND 2nd overall!
  • Nick Sdrenka 2nd in age group for Cat 1 Junior Male AND 4th overall!

Cat 2 & 3 Results

Cat 3 racers were spared the mountain while Category 2 competitors found themselves sweating it out on the long climb.  Both categories had great representations on Sunday as Kyle Johnson, Dean Wardle, Leah Fletcher, Elijah Johnson, Todd Fletcher and Steve Lipski all had their moment on the podium.

  • Dean Wardle 1st in age group for Cat 3 Male 30 to 34 AND 20th overall!
  • Kyle Johnson 3rd in age group for Cat 3 Males 40 to 44 AND 34th overall!
  • Leah Fletcher 1st in age group for Cat 2 Sport Female 13 to 14 AND 2nd overall!
  • Elijah Johnson 2nd in age group for Cat 2 Sport Male 13 to 14 AND 4th overall!
  • Todd Fletcher 3rd in age group for Cat 2 Sport Male 55 to 59 AND 48th overall!
  • Steve Lipski 2nd in age group for Cat 2 Comp Male Masters 50 to 59 and 25th overall!!
  • Lucas Fletcher 12th in age group for Cat 3 Male 11 to 14 AND 57th overall
  • Asa Guerra 4th in age group for Cat 3 Females 11 to 14 AND 4th overall
  • Isacc Johnson 10th in age group for Cat 3 Males 11 to 14 AND 54th overall
  • Walter Sdrenka 5th in age group for Cat 2 Sport Male 50 to 54 AND 63rd overall

Elite Team Results

Lindsay Guerra battled the challenging course for a 3rd in age and 4th overall! See her WORS recap interview below:

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  • Matt Paterson 2nd in age group Cat 1 Elite Males 23 to 29 AND 25th overall!
  • Brian Paterson 5th in age group Cat 1 Elite Males 30 to 34 AND 23rd overall!

Best wishes for a fast recovery to Vision Founder and Pro, Nathan Guerra while he recovers from a broken collar bone at WORS #6.

Closing Action Shots

1st in her age group, Charis owning the course!

1st in her age group, Charis owning the course!

Brianna well on her way to earning a 2nd overall!

Brianna well on her way to earning a 2nd overall!

Vision Junior, James Wardle, 2nd in age and 6th overall!

Vision Junior, James Wardle, 2nd in age and 6th overall!

3rd in age, Abby Johnson!

3rd in age, Abby Johnson!

McKenna working towards her 2nd overall!

McKenna working towards her 2nd overall!

Nick as he hammers his way to 2nd in age!

Nick as he hammers his way to 2nd in age!

Dean Wardle snags a 1st in his age group!

Dean Wardle snags a 1st in his age group!

Leah Fletcher showing her strength with a 2nd overall!

Leah Fletcher showing her strength with a 2nd overall!

Elijah steals a 2nd in his age group!

Elijah steals a 2nd in his age group!

Todd Fletcher in 3rd for his age group!

Todd Fletcher in 3rd for his age group!

2nd for his age bracket in Comp, Steve Lipski!

2nd for his age bracket in Comp, Steve Lipski!

Vision Elite, Lindsay Guerra, swing into 3rd in age!

Vision Elite, Lindsay Guerra, swinging into 3rd in age!

Matt Paterson edges his way into 2nd in age group!

Matt Paterson edges his way into 2nd in age group!

5th in age group, Brian Paterson riding his way to the podium!

5th in age group, Brian Paterson riding his way to the podium!

 

 

McKenna Dwyer – Ore To Shore: August 13, 2016

I came in to this race wanting to get top 5 in the women’s soft rock overall race.  Ore to Shore is a point to point race from Negaunee to Marquette, MI.  Knowing nothing about the course is always intimidating, especially when your competitors have raced it before.  The day before the race I just relaxed with my friends and later in the day we rode the last seven miles of the course (the most crucial miles to know are the last ones).  We went over parts of those miles, how to ride them, and where the best lines were.  I already felt really good in pre ride and knew I was going to have a good race if I put my mind to it.  I knew I could win even though this is a sprint race, I know I’m not the strongest out there, but I learned being the strongest doesn’t always matter.  I was excited to be racing and was just preparing myself for the race.

On race day, I woke up to damp conditions but not too wet to make it a mud race.  I ate the best breakfast I could: rice with bacon and eggs, rice with chicken and vegetables, and kiwi.  We drove to the start in Negaunee and I started warming up.  I pictured my race and those last seven miles.  I didn’t really know what the first 21 miles consisted of, but I knew it was all double track.  I was never really good in double track but I knew I was just planning on drafting and staying with the lead group of females.  I was lucky enough to be one of only 45 riders to get a preferred start (there were over 2,000 racing).  I was lined up on the front row and I was extremely nervous being the only girl on the front row.  The race started and I went off strong. Soon enough, Hanna Mork, Katy McDicken, and Maddy Frank were all up with me.  We all raced together for maybe the first 12 miles and then we dropped Maddy.  The rest of us knew we were first, second, and third overall.  We knew the three of us would be taking home top three overall, it was just who would come out on top.  We were all having so much fun racing together considering we always race the same race, but we’re never together.  It was fun to ride with them and to just have casual conversations while we were racing.  We all switched off pulling and drafting each other, while also getting drafts from other racers.  When those last seven miles came, we were all still together and I knew this is where everyone would start making moves to open up gaps.  Hanna made a move and opened up a small gap on Katy and I and we tried to close it.  She ended up crashing and hitting her head hard and Katy and I went by and tried to open up a gap that Hanna quickly closed.  When the large mulch climb came, I was in third and I just got as much momentum on the downhill before the climb and powered right by Hanna, Katy and I reached the top at the same time.  I went by Katy with three miles left and put the power down and quickly opened up a gap.  I kept putting down a fast pace and making sure to be careful to not make any stupid mistakes.  With a mile left I saw Hanna chasing but Katy wasn’t with her.  She caught up with 3/4 of a mile left and I drafted her on to the road and was just resting until I had to start sprinting.  On the last road corner with 1/4 mile left, I started sprinting and Hanna chased, I put down all the power I could until I came in to the finish shoot and Hanna passed me for the win just before the end.  I was so proud of both of us for giving it our all and for Hanna coming back from such a hard crash. We definitely gave the crowd a show with such a close finish, Hanna beating me by .02 seconds for the overall win.  Us girls from Wisco dominated the overall with first (Hanna), second (me), and third (Katy).  It was such an incredible race and I’m definitely prepared for next year and know what changes I have to make.   The rest of the day we swam at the hotel and relaxed and just awaited awards.  When awards came we were all so proud of each other and all the other racers out there.

The day after the race I got to ride with my friends at the south trails and we got some awesome footage, views, and trails.  We rode for almost three hours and enjoyed the time we had left in Marquette.  The trails were packed and it was nice to see so many racers have made it tradition to ride the day after the race.  I received many compliments on having such a close race.  After we were done riding, we all definitely wanted to shower before the long drive home, since we checked out of our hotels already, we had an alternative solution: cliff jumping!  We headed over to Black Rock on Presque Isle and got our dose of fun and we explored around there, swam, and jumped.  We then drove home after such a great weekend.  Thanks to my friends, family, and sponsors for all your support and always making race weekends the best.

McKenna Dwyer WORS #7 – Hixon Forest Epic: August 7, 2016

I came in to this race knowing that there were three other girls that were hungry for the first place medal.  I was determined to get first, but also knew I shouldn’t go too hard considering I was racing Ore To Shore the following weekend, but I can never go easy for a race.  In pre ride, I knew this course was going to probably kill me, I felt like it had more climbing than Cascade.  There’s one really long climb that takes about 15 minutes to get up, and there’s another climb that is short and steep, but seems like it takes forever.  I started in the second row while another competitor got the front row, but I was starting on the good side of the course.  When the race started, I was in fourth for a little while then snuck up to second.  When we got to the sketchy downhill that leads in to the long climb I was still in second until I snuck around first by taking a good line around the 180 in the downhill.  When we were down the hill and on to the flat double that connects the downhill to the uphill, I was right behind the leading group of Elite women.  Hanna Mork who started in first caught up and told me to grab the wheel of the lady ahead of me and we drafted all the way until we got to the start of the climb.  Hanna led me in to the climb and the Elite ladies dropped us almost immediately.  We got maybe a quarter of the way up the hill and another Elite lady caught up, when she wanted to go by Hanna and me, I went by too and started pushing.  I got a gap on both her and Hanna, the Elite woman then caught me at the very top of the hill and passed me right before you come out on the road.  I sprinted on the road and when I went in to the technical single track, I had maybe about a 20-30 second lead on Hanna.  I didn’t go through the single enough in pre ride so I wasn’t the most comfortable in it so that’s where I lost a lot of time in a place that I’m usually so quick in.  Right before the really steep hill I hit a stump that was sticking out on the left side of the trail, I went over the bars and hit my knee really hard and basically got ran over by the Comp guy right behind me.  I took me a little bit to get up since my foot was stuck, this is where Hanna passed me, and I’m sure the other riders were very close behind.  I got to the climb and my knee was hurting pretty bad but that went away quick enough that it didn’t cost me any of my race.  I caught up a little time on the climb and ended up right behind Hanna again.  We rode the rest of the lap together and up the long climb in the second lap.  When we came out on to the road, a Comp guy passed both of us and we hopped on his wheel and before we went in to the single both of them dropped me.  I road out the rest of the race with her in sight but she slowly pulled away and then I was just racing to stay ahead of third but also trying to come in as close behind Hanna as I could.  I finished in second and it was such a hard race, I was cramping almost the whole last lap.  I definitely blew up when I went too hard on the long uphill on the first lap and I think I could’ve held Hanna off longer if I wouldn’t of crashed.  It was a well deserved win considering she also had a slow leaking puncture and she still came out on top.  Very proud of Hanna for getting her first first place of the season!  I race Ore To Shore this weekend and I’m happy to be going back to my favorite city: Marquette, MI.  My goal is to get top 5 in the 28-mile race.