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


House and Schneeberger Dominate at Treadfest

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.
Tristan Schouten (Rolf Prima/Attitdue Sports) Doesn’t let the leaders escape

Tristan Schouten (Rolf Prima/Attitdue Sports) Doesn’t let the leaders escape

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.
Cole House (Broken Spoke) Leads Matter through the rocks

Cole House (Broken Spoke) Leads Matter through the rocks

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.
Leia Schneeberger (Vision Cycling) Shows no fear

Leia Schneeberger (Vision Cycling) Shows no fear

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.
Lindsay Guerra (Vision Cycling) Flies over the Loft and Shove Bridge

Lindsay Guerra (Vision Cycling) Flies over the Loft and Shove Bridge

WORS has two more races left on the calendar with the next event being a new one on the roster. The Hinson Forest Epic will take place on September 27th in LaCrosse, WI. For more info visit WORS.org

Reforestation Ramble – WORS

Tight Race For Both Men and Women At the Reforestation Ramble
Suamico, WI

The Trek sponsored Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS) returned from a two week break with back to back race weekends. Last week, in Waukesha Wisconsin, Leia Schneeberger (Vision Cycling) dominated the course for the Women’s race while Cole House (Unnattached) tried to chase down Nathan Guerra (Vision Cycling) but fell short with second. This week House came back for the win while Schneeberger and Cooper Dendel(Quick Stop Bike Shop) rode the course together wire to wire.

Just outside of Green Bay, the “Reforestation Ramble” in Suamico has traditionally been a prep race for riders competing in the Chequamegon 40. With similar terrain and a longer distance than most WORS races, it gives competitors a chance to test out their endurance at high speeds. More double track and flatter than most WORS events, the Reforestation Ramble offers longer laps in a marathon format of racing that pushed athletes to their limits.

Pro mountain biker, Cole House (Unattached) came back aggressive after last weeks loss. On House’s home course, he pushed hard for an early lead after the first section of singletrack.  The chase came from current WORS overall points leader, Nathan Guerra (Vision Cycling) and Ben Senkerik (Team Extreme) who worked together to try to reel in House. Shortly after the two pros caught House, Senkerik suffered a mechanical which dropped him off the lead group. Soon caught by Joe Maloney, Pete Karinen and Justin Piontek, the four rode together to once again reel in the leaders. Maloney stuck on the lead pack’s wheel while Karinen, Piontek and Senkerik dropped back. The main battle was in front between competitors Guerra and House. Both said that it was apparent they weren’t going to work together and the race wasn’t as fast as they could have made it, often sitting up in the double track. But after 3 laps of going back and forth, Guerra had the lead going into the last section of singletrack. By House’s surprise, Guerra didn’t attack after they got to the ski trail which gave House the opportunity to take the lead. House took the win with Guerra 6 seconds back. Maloney finished third and after a crash and mechanical, Senkerik took the fourth step. Shortly behind fourth, finished Karinen after dropping Piontek who finished a respective sixth.

Last years overall winner, Cooper Dendel (Quick Stop Bike Shop) has proven herself many times over this season but so has Leia Schneeberger(Vision Cycling), our current series leader. The two ladies had an electric battle riding together the entire race. Behind the lead competitors were Lindsay Guerra (Vision Cycling) who rode almost entirely a solo race and Sarah Agena (Hidden Bay/Cider Boys) and Rachel Jensen (Team Wisconsin/KS Energy/Mosh) who worked together with an elite junior throughout the race. Dendel and Schneeberger rode close to 36 miles working together, but Schneeberger admitted Dendel was doing most of the work. Despite pulling for much of the day, Dendel still had enough left in the tank to edge Schneeberger at the line.  Although riding alone for much of the day,  Guerra managed to pull off an impressive third.  Agena finished fourth after shedding Jensen on the second lap who rounded out the top 5.

WORS will continue on September 6th with the 10th race of the series, Treadfest held in Lake Geneva WI. For more information visithttp://wors.org/schedule/treadfest/.

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.

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/