House and Schneeberger Dominate at Treadfest
Report by Todd Nutter
Fans and competitors of the Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS) gathered once again in Lake Geneva, WI for the 2015 Treadfest race. A staple on the WORS calendar, Treadfest offers racers a rare opportunity to ride some of the best private trails the area has to offer. Hidden deep within the grounds of the Grand Geneva Resort, the course takes advantage of the summertime availability of a downhill ski area. This means riders are sent climbing up through a sea of screaming fans from the start of the race. The course is surrounded by a beautiful golf course for spectators to appreciate, while competitors are more focused on navigating through its rocky and root filled terrain.
The Cat 1/Pro men’s race, sponsored by Belgioioso Cheese, brought some of the fastest guys in the midwest out on a hot and humid Sunday. This type of course is usually preferred by known climbers like Nathan Guerra (Vision Cycling) and Cole House (Broken Spoke), but the weather did not make it easy for either racer. There was a sprint preme provided by Loft and Shove (http://www.loftandshove.com) MTB gear for the first racer over the wooden flyover bridge. The prologue lap skipped this feature, so racers needed to shoot for the sprint coming into the 2nd lap. Guerra and House were both fighting for position to grab this purse, with House coming out on top. Once they passed the bridge, both riders allowed former WORS overall winners Tristan Schouten (Rolf Prima/Attitude Sports) and Brian Matter (KS Energy/MOSH) to pass and take a turn at pulling the group along. They were already in position before entering the fans’ next favorite vantage point, the rock garden.
For Treadfest, this means a descending path of loose river rocks starting at the top of the ski hill and followed by a luge-style staircase riddled with drops. Needless to say, it is a demanding course that takes a lot of focus to control. One of the most challenging aspects for the riders was staying hydrated. It was 95 degrees and extremely humid causing riders to perspire much more than usual, very few sections being ideal for grabbing a bottle. Shortly behind the 4 lead men was Ben Senkerik (Team Extreme) who was racing mostly alone but trying to catch the leaders. At the start of the final lap, House was leading until he ran into some trouble after a bad water handup and ended up going over the edge of a downhill stretch of single track. His great bike handling skills kept him upright as he rode through the grass, but he did give up two positions to Matter and Schouten. Those spots were later reclaimed before the end of the race giving House the Win just 7 seconds over Matter. Schouten finished 3rd with Guerra following in 4th and Senkerik in 5th.
The women’s race was dominated by the ladies of the Vision Cycling team grabbing all 3 of the top spots with Leia Schneeberger in the lead. Schneeberger started her racing career at this very event only a few years back. She worked her way up and is showing the other women that she has no fear in a tough and rocky course like Lake Geneva. Following her was her teammate Lindsay Guerra, wife of Nathan Guerra who is the founder of Vision Cycling. Guerra was one of many who ran into a bit of trouble navigating the rounded stones in the rock garden. As she recounted, she was being followed by another rider who was coming up too fast behind her in the rocks which caused her to ride above her comfort speed in the descent. This lead to an unfortunate trip over the bars for her. She got and rode it off with slightly crooked bars for the remainder of the race. But because she did not stop to fix them, she did give up any time to her other teammate, Jeanne Hornak. Hornak says she does well in hot races and proved it in this event. Although, climbing isn’t her primary strength, Hornak handled the conditions better than most to grab one of her best finishes to date.