Hixon Forest Epic – WORS

Dendel and Guerra Steal The Wins At The Hixon Forest Epic

By Hanna Mork

LaCrosse WI-

Last weekend the Wisconsin Off Road Series(WORS) made a stop in the western part of the state for the Hixon Forest Epic. The 10th race of the WORS season took place on a beautiful day in the bluffs of LaCrosse, drawing in over 400 finishers. The course was like no other, with a lead out to a long gravel road downhill, with racers reaching top speeds. Once competitors reached the bottom of the bluff, they began the approximately 15 minute switchback climb back to the top where it was a half mile road time trial to the singletrack. Once racers reached  the singletrack it was tight, fast, rocky and rooty as racers maneuvered their way through the woods.


The Belgioioso Pro and Elite men’s field was stacked with many of our top riders, making it an interesting and nail-bitter type of race, all the way down to the final sprint. It started out with the field making their way down the gravel decent without any crashes. Once they got into the groove of the climb, Corey Stelljes (Motorless Motion/Cannondale) had a strategy of attacking early on the first lap, which he did causing a gap to open up early. Nathan Guerra (Vision Cycling) wasn’t going to let him go early, so he surged to catch Stelljes’s wheel. Once the two were back together, they both took another stab at attacking, Guerra in the single and Stelljes on the climb, but neither would be able to shake one another. 


Once they entered the singletrack on the last lap, Guerra was able to put a little gap on Stelljes but crashed which gave Stelljes an opportunity. After coming out of  the singletrack it was a long, slight increase to the finish line. Stelljes was pushing the pace early, but when it came down to the line, Guerra took the win. Meanwhile, behind 1 and 2, there was a battle for the 3 remaining spots in the top 5. Brian Matter (KS / Energy Mosh), Tristan Schouten (Rolf Prima / Attitude Sports), and Cole House (Unattached) spent majority of their race riding in a pack together. No one decided to attack early, but left it for an intense finish. Cole house peeled off shortly before the line, leaving the sprint for 3 and 4 down to Schouten and Matter. Schouten came out on top by a tenth of a second with Matter finishing 4th and House respectively rounding out the top 5.


In the BelGioioso Pro and Elite women’s race there was a clear favorite: Cooper Dendel (Quick Stop Bike Shop). With the long gravel downhill and the fast singletrack, it was straight up her alley. Once Don said go, Lindsay Guerra(Vision Cycling) and Dendel checked out together setting a fast pace off the start to the gravel road. Dendel’s enduro skills set in as she was more comfortable descending down than Guerra where she lost her.


After that, it was mainly a solo effort to the finish for both Dendel and Guerra occasionally grabbing an Elite men’s wheel for a pull where Dendel eventually grabbed the top spot and Guerra finishing 2nd. Behind 1 and 2, were competitors Rachael Jensen(Team Wisconsin / KS Energy / Mosh), her first elite season, Sarah Agena(Hidden Bay/Cider Boys) and Heather Stelljes(Vander Kitten) battling it out for 3, 4, and 5. Jensen rode with the two Junior Elites for a half a lap until she slipped off, racing at her own pace, trying to stay in front of Stelljes. Stelljes was on the hunt but would not catch Jensen who secured 3rd place about 30 seconds ahead of Stelljes who finished 4th. Behind them finished Agena with a respective 5th place finish.


Join us in Sheboygan Wisconsin for our last WORS race of the season, Deb’s Most Amazing Outdoor Adventure. For more information visit http://wors.org/schedule/sheboygan/

Full Results From The Race Here


Matter Takes First Win of the Season While Dendel Remains Undefeated

Report by Hanna Mork
Rockdale WI-
In the third event for the 2015 Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS) presented by Trek, Cooper Dendel (Quick Stop Bike Shop) grabbed her third win of the season while Brian Matter (KS Energy/ MOSH) earned his first WORS victory of the year. Located at Camrock Park in Rockdale WI, the course is a favorite among WORS racers who love punchy climbs and rocky descents.  The start is a dash to the top, climbing for a half mile through the vendor area followed by lots of fast fun. Between sections of technical switchbacks, the course offers fast flowing single-track that runs through open fields of prairie grass. Plus, the infamous sprint to the finish which played a huge role for some racers this weekend.
 Abigail Strigel gets airborne. Photo By: Extreme Photography

Abigail Strigel gets airborne. Photo By: Extreme Photography

In the BelGioioso Cat 1/Pro Women’s event, Cooper Dendel (Quick Stop Bike Shop) proved once again that in 2015 she means business. Grabbing her third win, Dendel is on a hot streak. To her own admission, she loves the technical switchbacks that the Battle of Camrock has to offer. But it was not an easy win either. Dendel was followed closely by Abigail Strigel (Honey Stinger / Bontrager). Strigel made her 2015 WORS debut with a second place overall. Strigel was very excited to return back to WORS and had a goal of trying to stay with Dendel. This didn’t quite happen at this race, but Strigel wasn’t too far behind. At the start of the race, Lindsay Guerra (Vision Cycling) attacked the first hill and blew a lot of steam. But even after her hard push and her recovery time, she finished with a respectable 3rd place. Behind Guerra, finished Anna Ganju (Colectivo Coffee) in 4th place.
Tristan Schouten on the switchbacks. Photo By: Extreme Photography

Tristan Schouten on the switchbacks. Photo By: Extreme Photography

The BelGioioso Men’s Cat 1/Pro race showed the reigning WORS overall champion, Brian Matter (KS Energy/ MOSH), climbing to his first victory of the year. The pressure was on the entire 4 laps as different competitors fed off of each other to keep the pace high. After the first lap there was a lead pack of four: Tristan Schouten (Rolf Prima/ Attitude Sports) who led Corey Stelljes (Motorless Motion/ Cannondale), Matter, and Nathan Guerra (Vision Cycling). At the start of the second lap, Guerra took over and put a 25 second gap on the chase group. But with his lead came a price. The ever changing course did not leave many opportunities for water and he was not able to stay properly hydrated. Due to the lack of fluids and Matter being close behind, the final lap would prove to be his most challenging. Matter was able to close the gap and sit on Guerra’s wheel while waiting for the last climb.  The two sprinted to the finish which gave spectators the thrill they expect from a WORS event. The wheel to wheel action had fans excited and cheering for their favorite racer to win. Even though Guerra trailed closely behind Matter in the last single track climb,  Matter had the edge for the uphill sprint. As the two competitors battled it out, Guerra wasn’t able to get around Matter as he pulled off the sprint by 0.6 seconds. Matter won the Battle of Camrock, but Guerra still leads the overall points competition. Behind Matter and Guerra finished Stelljes with a 3rd place. An honorable mention also goes to Issac Neff (5nines/ Motorless Motion Bicycles) and Tristan Schouten, who grabbed 4th and 5th respectively.
Brian Matter taking the win. Photo By: Extreme Photography

Brian Matter taking the win. Photo By: Extreme Photography

WORS continues on June 14th, 2015 with the Red Eye Rendezvous in Wausau, WI. For more information visit http://wors.org/schedule/red-eye/