WORS Cup Pro XCT Report

McConnell and Woodruff Take The PRO XCT Wins in Wisconsin

Report by: Hanna Mork

Portage, WI-

The Wisconsin Off Road Series hosted the Pro Cross Country Tour last weekend at Cascade Mountain in Portage, WI. Mother Nature made sure the heat and humidity was high for the WORS Cup Pro XCT race presented by Trek. The course was of the modern World Cup model, approximately 3.1 miles in length per lap. It wound itself several times to provide spectators with convenient access and numerous viewing points. The pro women had 5 laps of punching climbs and tight corners while the men had 6.

Saturday started out with the pro women racing in the beating sun. Our recently named National Champion Chloe Woodruff (Stans No Tubes/Niner) was able to put in an early lead among the rest of the field with Rebecca Henderson (Trek Factory Racing) trying to chase her down. Closely behind Henderson was Evelyn Dong (Sho-Air/Cannondale) but after a mechanical Dong was not able to catch Henderson but managed to keep her third place position. After Woodruff developed a gap, she steadily continued to open it, securing her second ever UCI win. After 5 demanding laps, Henderson finished second with Dong finishing 3rd. Just a minute behind Dong finished Larrisa Conners (RidebikerAlliance) and behind her finishing a respective 5th place was Peta Mullens (Sram Yeti Racing).

After a fast and hot start for the pro men, Stephen Ettinger (Sho-Air/Cannondale) and Daniel McConnell (Trek Factory Racing) began to pull away from the field. The two competitors were able to work together for the first two laps but then things began to change. According to Ettinger, he wasn’t descending very well which gave McConnell a chance to pull away roughly halfway through the race. McConnell was able to put 2 minutes and 45 seconds between Ettinger and the rest of the field to secure his win with Ettinger finishing second. Behind them, was Hector Fernando Riveros (Raliegh Clement) finishing a respective third place. Together for most of the race was Benjamin Sonntag (Team Clif Bar) and Cameron Ivory (Bike Team Solothurn Switzerland) but in the end, Sonntag put 14 seconds between them to finish 4th with Ivory 5th.

The fun continued on Sunday with the pro men and women Short Track presented by Bontrager. The pro women were off first with a tight group of four. Peta Mullens (SRAM Yeti Racing), Larrisa Conners (RidebikerAlliance), Rebecca Henderson (Trek Factory Racing), and Shayna Powells (Liv Co-Factory) were close together until Mullens made her attack. On the third lap of ten, Mullens made her way to the front of the pack and by the fourth lap she developed a small gap. From there on out, she continued to steadily open her gap to steal her first international win of the season. Conners finished just under 30 seconds behind Mullens for second, while Powells grabbed third. Local WORS Pro, Cooper Dende l(Quick Stop Bike Shop) took an impressive fourth while Henderson dropped back to round out the top five.
Mother nature did not let up with the heat for the pro men. A big pack of lead men were together from the start with a couple big names. Current Short Track National Champion Russell Finsterwald (SRAM/ Troy Lee Designs), Dan McConnell (Trek Factory Racing), and WORS’ own Brian Matte r(KS/Energy Mosh), Cole House, Tristan Schouten (Wolf Prima/Attitude Sports), and Nathan Guerra (Vision Cycling) were just a few in the lead pack. Matter, Finsterwald and House mainly set the tempo of the race each taking turns leading laps but when it came down to the end neither one of them took the title. After the bell rang for the final lap, Matter and House made a couple big moves but it wasn’t enough to keep off McConnell who surged up the last hill to take the win. House and Finsterwald sprinted to the line for second and third place respectively.  Chris Hamilton (Torq Nutrition) finished fourth with Matter rounding out the top five.

Boston Rebellion – Pro XCT

Anthony, Wells Take Wins At Boston Rebellion


Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing) and Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing) took the pro events at the Boston Rebellion, held on Saturday at Adams Farm in Walpole, Mass. The race saw the successful return of UCI mountain bike racing to the state of Massachusetts after a lengthy absence. The Adams Farm course treated racers to classic New England trails, with riders either loving or hating the rocks and roots.

Crystal Anthony crosses the line for her first Pro XCT win - Photo by Dave McElwaine

Crystal Anthony crosses the line for her first Pro XCT win – Photo by Dave McElwaine

Women’s Pro Race

Anthony was one rider who absolutely flew over the natural hazards, having ridden the course multiple times over the prior weeks. After a good start, she settled in behind Luna Pro Team’s Magdalie Rochette upon entering the woods and then attacked at the top of the power line section midway through the lap. From there, she built a large lead which she held on to take the eventual win by twenty three seconds over Ellen Noble (Competitive Cyclist). Megan Chinburg came in third over three minutes back, followed by Rochette and Karen Potter (Pivot/MTBRaceNews.com).

“I’m psyched to see the ProXCT come to my home state,” said Crystal. “It was a great course and the pre-riding I did all week helped because today was all about when to conserve energy and when to put on the gas. It also helped once I was fatigued to know the best lines and all those little gains add up.”

XC National Champion Todd Wells glides through the rocks at Boston Rebellion - Photo by Dave McElwaine

XC National Champion Todd Wells glides through the rocks at Boston Rebellion – Photo by Dave McElwaine

Men’s Pro Race 

The men’s race followed a similar format, as Todd Wells got an early lead on the first lap and rode away solo for the win.

“There were three of us initially and then I managed to get a gap and go off by myself,” said Wells. “It’s always nice to be up front and set your own pace but it can also be tricky to keep your concentration. Seeing Dan (Timmerman) coming up gave me some motivation. It’s nice to get a win coming into nat’s. Mom and Dad live not too far from here so to have them in the feed zone cheering me on was great too.”

Of note was the performance of Dan Timmerman (Riverside Racing), who started last and passed everyone except Wells to finish in a remarkable second place. “Dead last call up,” said Timmerman stoically after the race. “I passed as many as I could immediately and then in the woods it was anywhere I could, even if I ended up running out of it. It became a matter of just getting around people as fast as I could.”

Another notable result came from New Hampshire’s Tom Sampson (Vittoria/Yeti Cycles), who beat Chris Baddick in a tight sprint for third. ATA Cycles’ Billy Melone rounded out the podium in fifth place.

Racing concludes on Sunday with the final round of the Kenda Cup East series, and the Elite/Pro Short Track races.


Boston Rebellion Men’s Elite/Pro Results (top 10):

Rank First Name Last Name Team Time
1 Todd Wells Specialized Factory Racing 1:35.51
2 Dan Timmerman Riverside Racing 1:36.40
3 Tom Sampson Vittoria/Yeti Cycles 1:37.46
4 Chris Baddick 1:37.46
5 William Melone ATA Cycles 1:38.29
6 Cameron Dodge 1:38.53
7 Benjamin Sontag Clif Bar 1:38.53
8 Cole Oberman RareDiseaseCycling.org 1:38.59
9 Ryan Woodall Top Gear Bicycles / Felt / Industry Nine 1:39.27
10 Jeremy Powers Aspire Racing 1:40.48


Boston Rebellion Women’s Elite/Pro Results (top 10):

Rank First Name Last Name Team Time
1 Crystal Anthony Riverside Racing 1:20.06
2 Ellen Noble Competitive Cyclist 1:20.29
3 Megan Chinburg 1:23.48
4 Maghalie Rochette Team Luna Pro 1:24.38
5 Karen Potter Pivot/MTBracenews.com 1:25.37
6 Bryna Blanchard Windham Mountain Outfitters 1:25.54
7 Kimberly Quinlan Bicycle Express Racing 1:27.50
8 Amy Horstmeyer Twin Six/Team Green 1:46.36
9 Olivia Harkness
10 Catherina Harnden

Interview with Rare Disease Cycling’s Cole Oberman

Cole Oberman may be a relative new comer to the American mountain biking scene, but just two years in the Rare Disease Cycling racer has already made a big impact. Tenth at last year’s National Championships, and podiums in the Short Track at the early season US Cup races in Fontana and Bonelli have confirmed that Oberman will be one to watch in the coming years.

Oberman was kind enough to take some time this spring to check in with MTBRacenews.com about how he got into racing, his breakout year last season, and his goals for this summer.

For those folks who live outside the mid-Atlantic and are maybe just getting to know you, can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got into mountain biking?

Oh I’m just your typical snotty teenaged punk turned professional bike racer, ha ha. I grew up riding and racing mountain bikes in Central Pennsylvania and base myself out of Philadelphia now. My father is a cyclist so Ive been riding bikes in some form for literally my entire life. I’ve been racing professional for four years now and am trying my best to carry the torch for Easy Coast mountain biking. We’ve got the best riding and scene but surprisingly few pros so I’m just trying to show the rest of the country whats up!

Congratulations on your short track podium at the PRO XCT in Fontana. Was your plan to come into those early season races in California on top form?

Thanks! Yeah, it was incredible to come out and land on the short track podium two weeks in a row (2nd at Bonelli, 5th at Fontana). That was a real eye opener for me because if it had happened once, it could have been lucky timing. Twice means I made it happen and that was a huge confidence booster.

The plan was to come into the season absolutely flying and I feel like I managed to pull that off. I took a light cross season and really started training again before the fall was over. I did a huge amount of work this winter with the intention of coming into the spring US Cup races on top form. I’ve still got some tweaks to make on my fitness but my XC results are getting better every race and so I’m  optimistic that I’ll be able to reach the podium with some consistency later this season. All you can do is ask to see progression and I’m getting that, so I’m stoked!

Kathy Thoma

Kathy Thoma

What are your big goals for the rest of 2015?

My big goals for after the spring US Cup races are to have consistent World Cup results, stand on the podium at XC and STXC nationals and compete at MTB World Championships in the fall. Obviously this is all easier said than done but I’ve got great support from my team and coaches and am confident I can get there. I started working with Jeremiah Bishop and Mike Shultz at the end of last season. We figured out some of my major limiters and made some serious progress over the winter. It was awesome to come out this spring and immediately land on the podium. I guess that says a lot on its own.

Anyone who follows NUE racing and the endurance scene knows about Rare Disease Cycling, but in the past the team has had less of a presence on the XC circuit. Is that something the team is looking to change?

Without a doubt. The team has consistently had great results on the endurance side of things, we’ve won everything from the NUE Series overall (x8) to The Transylvania Epic to The Brasil Ride stage race. RDC certainly isn’t going away from endurance racing but with the re-emergence of a high profile XC series in the US the vision is definitely to have more of a 50/50 focus on endurance vs. XC. The purpose of the team at its base is to raise awareness and ultimately direct research money for rare genetic diseases (often called the Orphan Diseases). From an exposure point of view, it just makes sense for the team to be at the US Cup.

It seems like your 10th place finish at Cross Country Nationals last summer was a breakthrough ride for you. Do you see it that way? What were your goals heading into that race?

Yeah, totally. I think even more so than my win at Transylvania, my finish at Nationals was a moment where I thought to myself that my performance was beginning to meet my expectations and potential. Top-10 was the goal heading into that race and I was super happy to meet that. Bear Creek is pretty local to me and all the fans and friends (they’re hooligans really) out there just made it so easy to pin it the whole race. That day is certainly one of my most memorable on the bike.

When did you decide, ok, I want to make it as a pro mountain biker? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do? Or did it just click one day?

My path to becoming a professional has followed a different pattern than most of my peers. I grew up riding mountain bikes and racing single speed for fun but was never involved in a development program or anything structured. I always admired the pros but it wasn’t until I was 18-19 that I decided it was something I wanted to pursue for myself. I raced amateur for two years before turning professional. It became obvious pretty quickly that I was lucky enough to have the genetic aptitude to be able to pursue being an elite racer with some seriousness.

So in a lot of ways I’m a little late to the party and have a lot to prove. At the same time, looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any differently. I race my bicycle because I love it and I’ve never felt any outside pressure to make it happen. I have the best friends, family, supporters and sponsors which makes it easy to keep pressing onward, even when it feels like I’m fighting an uphill battle.

What’s your favorite part of bike racing? What motivates you to keep at it and put in the work in training day in and day out?

I grew up in a blue collar family and so hard work is in my blood. The mantra: “If you’re going to do something, do it right” has been permanently burned into my brain and I apply that to training. My job might be non-traditional and fun but I don’t half ass it, ever. When it’s go time, it’s full gas.

Beyond that, I ride my bike to stay sane and would do so daily whether I was racing or not. I snap out a bit when I don’t have a positive physical outlet. Cycling is an intimate part of who I am, and so the training and motivation comes pretty easy.

My favorite part of racing is actually probably less the racing and more the people you meet and the experiences you share with those people. One of my best memories of last season was from after the Missoula ProXCT. There was a whole crew of us riding back from the venue, post race. We just happened to stumble on some awesome single track. So we were full of endorphins from the race, there’s a badass sunset, and were just shredding hero dirt back down into town. Total, childish, shit-eating grin the whole way home. It was pure bliss and something I never would have experienced if the race hadn’t brought me there. For me, those smaller shared experiences are as meaningful as the racing itself.

Piecing together a race season is always a challenge – especially when you’re trying to compete nationally. What are some tricks you’ve learned over the years to make it happen?

I think for me the struggle has always been more on staying mentally focused. I just try to be patient and positive. Everyone struggles at different points in the season but good form always comes back around. When your form is bad you work hard to fix it, when it’s good you lay it all out on the course and smash! Either way I get to ride my bike everyday, travel a ton, and meet so many great people. It’s hard not to stay stoked on that!

Johnny Mueller / Sho Air Cycling Group

Johnny Mueller / Sho Air Cycling Group

We’ve seen you light it up at some big endurance races races recently too, like last year’s Transylvannia Epic. Is that something you’re looking to continue doing, or all you all in on the XC side of things?

For this year I am all in on the XC side of things and my fitness reflects that. Right now if my race effort goes much over 2.5 hours, I’m basically useless, ha ha. However, I really love stage races and marathons and my fitness is adaptable to it when I focus on endurance. We’ll see how next season’s schedule shapes up, I would love to include more races like Transylvania or the Epic Rides Series (Whiskey Off-Road / Grand Junction) if it makes sense.

What are your favorite things to do when you’re not riding your bike?

DIY/Punk music is my second passion and so I try to make it to a few shows and go record hunting when there’s time. Otherwise I live a pretty simple life; relax at the cafe, make food with friends and just enjoy the city. I spend half the year on the road and so when I’m home, I try my best to take it slow and catch up with friends/family.