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!
#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
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!
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:
- 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
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.
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.
I signed up to do the 12 hour duo back in January with one of my friends, Katy McDicken. About six weeks before this race she fractured her elbow, and it was planned that this would be her first race back. I was mostly nervous for her, seeing that her first time riding a bike in six weeks would be a 12 hour race. I also didn’t get the chance to pre ride the course so that didn’t help considering I would have to figure out lines while I was racing.
When I started the race, I figured out that the course was really different kinds of single track sectioned off by double track. The first section of single track is what I call cat litter since it was all loose. There was a lot of roots and a few harder rock garden sections that I luckily figured out on the first lap. After that section there was double track with probably the steepest climb of the race in it. Then probably the hardest section of single track was next, it’s called Ho Chi Minh and is basically all huge rocks that you have to some how find your way through. So I only made it through the whole thing once because there was this section of the trail that I couldn’t figure out how to get through. Then there was a small section of double track that I always felt the slowest on for some reason. The next section of single track was like a medium technicality but it was really tight and twisty. After that, there was a really long section of double track that started with a really gradual uphill that was hard on your legs but it was really fast and you could carry a lot of speed through the rest of it. Then you got into the last part of single track that started with a kind of pump track section that you couldn’t really hold too much speed in. This is where you saw the 10 mile sign in this about 12 mile course. It was probably the worst section of single track because if you can imagine what riding a trail that was just made feels like, that’s how this section felt. It was really bumpy and it was awesome to see the 10 mile sign, but it was also sad because you knew the next 2 miles were going to suck.
When it came time for me to start the race, I was doing the first lap so I had to do the quarter mile running start. I’m not really a runner so when everyone started sprinting off the line I of course was shocked that I would have to run so fast. Close to the end of the run, my dad passed me and after the race he definitely made fun of me because he beat his daughter who’s 35 years younger than him. The first lap I got stuck in a lot of lap traffic that luckily sorted itself out quickly. It felt like my slowest lap a long with my second but we still had the lead so we were just going to keep pushing it at the pace we were setting. I told myself I was going to push it the third lap and that’s exactly what I did. I felt so fast that lap and brought in the fastest time of my five laps. The fourth lap I went really slow until one of my other friends who I race with in the WORS Series caught up to me after Ho Chi Minh and we really pushed it the rest of that lap, and I came in 2 seconds behind my third lap time. The fifth lap I just kept the pace casual seeing that it was hopefully going to be my last lap. This was the only lap I made it through Ho Chi Minh and I came in right before it got dark and watched as Katy went out for her last lap. During breaks I just ate food and relaxed until I went back to wait for the hand off to go on another painful lap. I didn’t really feel up to my best performance the whole race but I’m just happy Katy came in right after the end time at 10:00 p.m. so I didn’t have to go out for a sixth lap. We won the race by just going pretty casual and I’m happy with that, it’s fun not always having to go hard for a race and to just enjoy it. It was also weird to be in the same place as my best friend for 12 hours but to only say a few words to each other when we came in for our laps. I didn’t have any mechanicals and I really didn’t crash, just had a few slip ups. I can’t wait to do this race next year and it was probably one of the most fun races to be at.