2010 Series Leader Abigail Strigel (Trek Stores of Madison) and WORS newcomer
Barry Wicks (Kona) won the fourth race of the Wisconsin Off Road Series, the
Sunburst Showdown in Kewaskum, WI.
who recently moved to Evanston, IL, can now be considered a local at the
Wisconsin Off Road Series won the WORS Crystal Lake Classic earlier this season. As Wicks lined up with the other WORS
BelGioioso Elite Series men at Sunburst, there was one questions on everyone’s
mind; whether all six and a half feet of Wicks’ lanky frame could be made to
fit beneath a thick, low-hanging branch on the back half of the course. By mid-race, WORS photographers had the
branch staked-out in hopes of catching the tight squeeze on film, but Wicks
proved just a little too quick.
wondered who would give Wicks a run for his money. Past WORS Overall Men’s BelGioioso winner Tristan Schouten
(Mafia Racing) stepped up, attacking on the climbs and trading pulls with Wicks
throughout the 5-lap race. On the
5th and final lap, Schouten led out of the last section of singletrack, but
Wicks was just a little too quick. In a critical open section, the Kona rider
powered ahead to gain the high ground, and a narrow ledge and lapped traffic
before the finish negated the chance for a sprint. Wicks finished in 1:35:17, and Schouten rolled in three
seconds later. Darrin Braun, who
lost contact with the leaders after an attack by Schouten on lap three, waged a
solo chase for the last 2 laps and finished 1:32 back, for third. Fourth place went to Nathan Guerra (Mr.
Tree Racing) at 3:11, and Brian Matter took 5th at 5:13 back.
the women’s race, Abby Strigel was challenged throughout the 4-lap race by Lisa
Krayer (Adventure 212 / Specialized).
Krayer is having her best year to date, and has raced to second place
behind the defending Champ in nearly every event of the 2010 Series. In the contest for the Overall, Krayer
is currently chasing Strigel by less than 50 points. Still, Strigel is accustomed to crossing the line with a
comfortable margin on the rest of the field. At Sunburst, Strigel and Krayer traded pulls and banter
throughout the race, and it was Krayer who led out of the final section of
singletrack. Similar to the men’s
race, the decisive attack came at a critical power section, and Strigel had the
legs. She won in 1:34:55, with
Krayer following just 5 seconds back.
made an attack, and I thought, ‘Gosh, if you can stay on her wheel and
out-sprint her, you’ll have your first win!’,” recalled Krayer. "A second
later, I was like ‘Oh - that’s not going to happen.’ She just went.”
made me work really hard,” said Strigel after the close finish. "At the start, being
the superstar that she is, Lisa just took off. I think I worked harder during this race than I have all
year. It was really tough, but it
was really fun.”
women said they are looking forward to the upcoming Subaru Cup, presented by
Trek, where Strigel will race the Pro XCT and Krayer, who races as a Cat 1,
will contest for the Midwest Regional Championships title.
year Pro Meghan Korol (Mafia Racing) finished behind Strigel and Krayer at 3:20
back for third, while Robin Williams (Mercy-Specialized; 5:52) and Claire
Cannon (Trek Stores of Madison; 8:43), finished in 4th and 5th,
rounded out the women’s podium.
is a deceptively simple track with a reputation among WORS Elite racers as one
of the most demanding courses on the circuit. Singletrack climbs pitch sharply uphill and open, grassy
sections conceal tight corners.
There is little opportunity to rest, and Sunburst favors riders with the
fitness and power to tough out a short, intense battle. This year, there were additional
challenges. Rain during the week
before the event left the track slick in the woods and sticky in the open. In addition, the upcoming WORS Subaru
Cup, presented by Trek, on June 26 and 27th had many WORS racers "training
was hard,” said Wick after his win. "The course is pretty deceiving. The first lap you’re thinking it’s not
so bad, but by the fourth or fifth time around it’s starting to wear you out a
did a slightly harder workout than I normally would have done the day before
this race, thanks to my awesome coach, Craig Manthe,” said Strigel. "He said today was going to be tough,
and it was.”
knew from the race last year that [Sunburst] is really one of the hardest races
on the circuit,” said WORS Racer Brian Matter (Gear Grinder / Trek). The 2009 WORS BelGioioso Overall
Champion, Matter has the type of "street-cred” at WORS that comes from winning
the WORS Overall more than any other male racer in WORS history. Last year, ahead of his win at the
Chequamegon 40, Matter was in excellent form at Sunburst and put the screws to
the rest of the WORS field with a dominating win. This year, with his training focus on cyclocross later in
the season, Matter was unable to contest when the attacks came, and finished in
is relentless,” said Matter. "Climb after climb after climb. I had a big training week this
week. So, when Barry and Tristan
went hard over the top of the climb [during the second lap], and it felt like
somebody was pulling my brakes, I lost contact. And that was it.”
always a little bummed when I can't be part of a good battle,” Matter wrote
later. "I know that Barry showing
up to a WORS race is a good opportunity to race against another fast guy.
Tristan and Barry were battling it out and I could only watch from six
Braun held on a little longer, then lost contact on the same climb during the following
lap, when Schouten attacked. In
2009, Braun’s success as a first-year Cat 1 was almost unprecedented in the men’s
series when he finished fourth in the Overall standings. After an upgrade to Pro for 2010, Braun’s
been a consistent contender and, at the Trek Big Ring Classic, jumped onto the
2nd step of the WORS BelGioioso Elite podium for the first time. It’s clear he’s got his eye on the top
step. After finishing third at
Sunburst, Braun couldn’t help but sound a bit disappointed.
guess I had a little higher expectation for myself today,” said Braun. "I’m
happy considering the crowd. The
pace was OK for the first lap or two, I think, and then Tristan [Schouten]
wanted to take over control. We
climbed up that first section and Tristan got around Wicks and just put the
hammer down. That’s where I got
too, is looking forward to racing at the Subaru Cup Pro XCT at Mt. Morris this
year, that course was just the best for me because of the climbing,” said
Braun. "This year, it will be a
different story because there will be a hundred guys just as good as I am. I don’t expect a front-row call up, so
we’ll probably have to do a lot of passing. I’m going to try to stick with some people I know like [past
Subaru Cup winners] Tristan and Matter.
We’ll see what happens. It
should be fun.”
Bontrager COMP Series Cat 2 men were led by Patryk Limanowicz who completed
four laps in 1:27:48. The CycleOps
Sport Women’s race was led by Anna Ganju in 1:22:35 for three laps.
next race of the WORS Series, the Subaru Cup, presented by Trek, will be held
at Nordic Mountain outside Wautoma, WI on June 26th and 27th. For details, see