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!
#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
Reforestation race pictures
Saturday July 23 was the biggest day for all mountain bikers in the midwest that decided to come on over to Wisconsin for a chance to be crowned the Midwest Champion of Cross Country, none to less there might have been a few people from other states outside of the midwest but it still was a big turnout. The course at Cascade Mountain in Portage, Wisconsin had a very exclusive course not being ridden a whole lot throughout the season it still kept good shape, the course was either uphill or downhill most of the time with lots of technical downhills including the Trek skills park area and lots of uphill switchbacks out in the open and in the woods which did make it arguably the perfect course to host the Midwest Championships. Throughout the day the sky looked very ominous with a 50/50 chance of a thunderstorn which raised everyones concerns not wanting to race in the rain and mud. Sure enough about 45 minutes before the pro/cat 1 race it poured and because of that the race got delayed 10 minutes for various reasons, but once us juniors got the GO we were off in a flash and already not even a few minutes into the race there were people slipping and sliding in the mud and little to say it happened to everyone else it eventually happened to me, with this said I did not have the best time on the bike as I usually do. Long into the race the same continued to happen but I leaned to control it better using certain techniques. For most of the race I found myself in first position in my age group but come close to the end of the race that I had little knowledge of because of all the confusion between what course we were riding and how many laps we had to do my mental state was not exactly where it should’ve been. Because of that mistake coming into my 2nd lap I slowed the pace down a little to conserve a little energy for the third lap that I had thought I had to do so a guy from Michigan came up from behind me and I had the thought that I would be able to catch him in the third lap but that was when I saw him cross the finish and then I finally figured out that I had to do only 2 laps and that put me in a bad place of regret. Later on after the race I finally got myself back into a good state of mind and looked at the highs of the race and said to myself, “my fitness was phenomenal in the mud and could’ve been alot worse, NEXT YEAR WILL DEFINETLY BE THE YEAR!!” All that really needed to change was my tire choice because of the conditions and my mental attitude. So I made a huge goal to try and achieve the mental attitude side of things for Sundays Enduro race to ensure I could enjoy the rest of my weekend.
two events that followed up saturdays Cross Country was either Short Track or Enduro, with the format of short track it did not fit my type of racing so then I made the decision to race enduro as it covered my two favorite things uphills and technical downhills. Right off the start I got to the front with Nathan Guerra, Brian Matter, and Cory Samz and I felt really good riding beside my coach and other fast guys up a 1,276 ft hill. When we got to the top of the hill I got called off 4th to start as each person went down one by one as fast as they could, so once my run came it was a little nerve wrecking at first starting behind fast guys and throughout my run their were one or two mistakes that i made but still kept it somewhat fast and starting behind nathan I would’ve never had guessed to see him on the course during my run because each person had a 30 second start in between each person so I was just about to enter the skills park and their I see Nathan walking his bike and it got me worried because I did not know whether he had a flat or something else wrong with his bike but sure enough looks were decieving and he had told me he broke his clavicle right as I zipped pass him and then I started to sympathized greatly for him but at the same time tried to think about having a good run. Coming out of the first downhill we started back uphill again but this time I took control of the climbing group until about three quarters of the way up I let Cory go first because I wanted to make sure a more experienced rider like himself would’nt have to deal with me wreaking or something if I were to start before him. When my second run approached I knew the course inside and out by that time and approached it with far more speed taking riskier lines to try and shave off seconds the best I could and eventually finished my run faster than I expected and finished 4th in the Pro/Open race behind Tristan Hauser and in front of Nate Knowles who both put up good runs making the race very tight. But overall I made the enduro race a success by keeping a good mindset from saturday and did good in my first Pro/Open race, making for a good weekend overall.
WORS race #5 Colectivo Coffee Bean Classic at Minooka Park was the halfway point in the WORS season before the Midwest Mountain Bike Championships arrive and this course had its differences from the last race in Eau Claire. Minooka starts with a semi long lead out until the squeeze into the singletrack and then goes into lots of twisty singletrack that still contains alot of flow with the berms which I always found to be one of my better skills in tight tree sections coming from my backround in slalom snowboarding going fast through the trails seemed alot like it which I comprehended very well during the pre ride. On race day I was still feeling under the weather from the sinus infection I had during the week and made it somewhat hard for my muscles and my body to recover, however my mental state said otherwise because of my eagerness to race. As soon as I knew it I was on the line ready to race with a good attitude, despite not feeling 100% I still went with the fast guys and got slighty farther ahead than I usually get on the first lap but shortly after I completed my first lap I felt my body’s pain started to catch up with me slowly blowing up and fatiguing, trying to react quickly I dialed myself back to ensure myself that I could finish the race and shortly then after I slowly brought the pace back up taking advantage of my technical skills through the trees to catch up on people. Although my mentality was to not give up and stay positive I had two of my teammate Brian and Matt Paterson to help get me through the open sections as fast as they could to help me out in my race. Overall in the race I did not finish first and did not finish last but in between placing 2nd in my age which I was very happy with at the end of the day not having any regrets on doing any better with the current health I was in. Coming up in the next two weeks is the Midwest Mountain Bike Championships where I aim to ride 100% healthy and 200% happy setting that aside as a key goal for this next race weekend.
WORS race #4 in Eau Claire took place at Lowes Creek County Park which was an area I was quite unfamiliar with being my first time ever racing there, the saturday preride put everything into perspective once it was done, but did not feel 100% about the course at first because it was a different type of course with little climbing and not as much decending as im used to but the decents that were provided in the course were very technical mostly because it felt like every big decent was a big rock garden and thats what a majority of them were. Along with that there was also a lot of flat wide open stuff which didn’t play to my advantage but still tried to make the best of my pre ride having two crashes already in my first lap.
The following day was the race and by that time I knew I had the course somewhat locked in my head but still kept an open mind. Later on in the day my race came and felt good about how I treated my body so that was already a good sign and once Don said go it was a flat out effort right from the start for the elite field and soon funneled into an area that has a bunch of jumps so I tried to stay calm and conservative trying not to crash into anyone because of how hecktic it was toward the back of the elite field. I finally got settled in after a lap and a half and stuck with a fast group and paced myself until the junior field started coming back together so at that time I decided to put it in gear for the rest of the second lap and the whole third which ended up working out well because throughout the race I learned a bit and had fun tackling the tough decents that I had some problems with in the pre ride and with all of those variables I put together my first 1st place at Eau Claire which not only made me happy at the end of the day but made me feel a confident with the different parts of my riding that made me feel unsure of myself on race day and proved my diversity going into a race that I’ve never done before.
The second WEMS race for me this season was the WEMS #5 Southern Kettles Classic at the Emma Carlin trails in Palmyra, Wisconsin and presented me with a tough course with tight trees, big hill climbs and techical decents as it did for everyone else. With my brief experience riding the Emma Carlin trails once or twice before I could remember only a certain extent of the trail so I knew what I had to do during the race.
It was my first 6 lap solo race and I was going into this race thinking of it more as a relaxed race to not race others but to race myself to test my endurance, so this WEMS race started off alot differently from the first WEMS race I did at Alpine Valley, it was a running start through the start chute to the bikes so I tried to put myself in front of everybody so I would have to avoid passing but right off the start two guys got right to the front and took off immediately along with one more guy that got right in front of me so i was stuck with the rest of the 6 lap racers. In the big group that I was attached to was a more relaxed and dialed down group so when I got an opening at the point of the trail where I remembered all too well I took off at my own pace and Matt Paterson eventually caught up to me so we worked together through the first lap to make it as fast as possible, then when the second lap came I worked together with Matts brother Brian as they tried their hands at a 6 lap duo. About half way through the second lap my coach caught up to Brian and I so knowing his fast pace I tried to put out a good effort and kept a good pace for him and everyone else for about a mile or a half a mile and found myself really impressed that I could stay in front of him so I finally let him pass me before I would blow up and then started to dial myself back into endurance mode. Skipping ahead to lap five it started to get really hard and found myself getting a little tired when Leia Schneeberger who was racing the 3 lap solo offered a hitch on the rocket train and it was’nt long until I had to let her go because of how fast she was on the day and struggled to finish my sixth lap being super tired, fatigued and dehydrated, but more the less still happy finishing 5th out of 25riders in 6 lap solo race with a big smile on my face!
For me this race was really helpful as I pushed passed the barriers of my own endurance efforts that I never would’ve thought I’d be able to push past, in the future I look to work off of these efforts to make myself a more well rounded rider when it come to cross country racing. A huge thanks goes to Ernie Huerta who made this WEMS race possible, so the next time you decide to do a WEMS race at Emma Carlin which I highly reccomend doing thank Ernie for all his hard work.