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Crystal Lake Classic - WORS #2

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |May 17, 2010 8:22 PM
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Wicks and Strigel power to wins at the WORS Crystal Lake Classic

May 16, 2010

by Claire Cannon

Barry Wicks (Kona) and Abigail Strigel (Trek Stores of Madison) won the Crystal Lake Classic, second race of the Wisconsin Off Road Series. 

Nearly 600 WORS racers journeyed to the technical course at Crystal Lake, which is several hours north of Madison in the sandy, northern pine woods of Wisconsin.  The area welcomed 3 inches of snow a week ago, but perfect sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70’s prevailed on Sunday.  Conditions on the sandy track were also near ideal after the late-season snowfall. 

The 11-mile lap at Crystal Lake is dominated by suspension-pounding singletrack, quick powerclimbs and a few wide-open sandy road sections.  The BelGioioso Elite men’s field completed 3 laps of the course for one of the longest contests of the WORS Series.  The pace was conservative at the start with Iola Bump & Jump winner Tristan Schouten (Mafia Racing) taking the early lead.  Heading out onto the second lap, the lead group included Schouten, Barry Wicks (Kona), Brian Matter (Gear Grinder / Trek), teammates Darrin Braun and Chris Peariso (Adventure 212 / Specialized) and Mike Anderson (Gary Fisher 29er).  Chasing just seconds back was Nathan Guerra (Mr. Tree Racing).

"At the start of the second lap, something happened up there,” said Guerra after the race.  "I was close to catching back on and then the group just exploded.”

The one who set it off was youngblood Darrin Braun.

"Darrin Braun put in a good move right before the singletrack,” said Mike Anderson.  "Barry Wicks countered.  And that was about it.”

By the start of the third lap, Wicks was riding alone with a substantial gap on the nearest chase group of Peariso, Matter and Schouten.  Anderson and Braun chased together less than a minute behind the first group.  Wicks kept the gap open and soloed to the win in 2:10:29. 

"I’ve never been up here and I had no idea what to expect,” said Wicks after his win.  "The trails were fun.  It was technical and undulating.  You’re never climbing or descending for a long time, but you definitely have to pay attention and stay focused, because there are plenty of corners and bumps.”

Wicks says he’d be back for more WORS races, as his season schedule allows.  Meanwhile, in the first chase group, Peariso launched an attack of his own.  He was reeled in again by Schouten and Matter and the three sprinted to the finish.

Schouten took the sprint for second in 2:11:37.2.  Last season’s Crystal Lake Classic winner Brian Matter was right behind him at 2:11:37.6, and Peariso followed less than a bike’s length behind at 2:11:37.8. 

"I think I jumped at the right time, because I was sprinting with cramped legs but the jump and the timing were pretty good,” said Matter.

Braun (2:14:04) and Anderson (2:16:10) both finished solo in 5th and 6th place, respectively.

The BelGioioso Elite women completed 2 laps of the same course.  The women’s race began to break apart on the first substantial climb of the gravel lead out, when Robin Williams (Mercy-Specialized) attacked at the crest a steep hill onto a gradual rise.  Iola Bump & Jump winner Abby Strigel (Trek Stores of Madison) led the chase to close the gap and six women hit the singletrack together with Williams in the lead, chased by Strigel, Lisa Krayer (Adventure 212), Meghan Korol (Mafia Racing), Claire Cannon (Trek Stores of Madison) and Lindsey Kriete (Gear Grinder). 

"The course for me was excellent,” said Robin Williams.  "I like the climbs here, I feel they’re more gradual than at Iola, and I love all the singletrack.” 

"The first really long, hard climb, Robin took off,” said Strigel. "I let her go a little, hoping that I could maybe catch her.  She went pretty fast.”

Strigel went on to take the lead mid-way through the first lap, and powered solo to the finish for the win in 1:42:04.  Lisa Krayer and Robin Williams gave chase together but eventually split.

"For a while, it was Robin and I together in the singletrack,” said Krayer.  "We were pretty comparable so I just decided to get ahead of her and see what would happen. Eventually I saw Abby, so I was pretty excited.  Then, I think, as soon as she sensed me, she put the hurt on.”

Krayer, who finished second at the Iola Bump & Jump, went on to a strong second again in 1:42:41.

Williams and LIndsey Kriete sprinted to the line, with Kriete (1:44:53.5) just edging Williams (1:44:53.6) for third.  Meghan Korol rode in solo for 5th (1:49:23), and Claire Cannon followed for 6th (1:49:46).

The next race of the Series, the Trek Big Ring Classic will be held on May 31 at the popular 9-Mile Forest System outside Wausau, WI.  Visit http://wors.org for complete details.

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