Another off weekend for the local mtb racing scene… what am I gonna do this weekend? Sit around my pad, maybe get some good long rides in…. or road trip to the Land of Oz for some high caliber regional mtb racing. Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS) race #7 in Franklin, WI, on the south side of Milwaukee just happened to be this weekend. So on Thursday I loaded up the car and headed to the QC to visit my Mom, sister and 3 month old niece. It’s always a good time visiting the fam, it’s especially nice now that my little sis has a beautiful little daughter!
Scooter (sis) and Kennan (niece)
Friday morning I hit the road early for Madison. My plan was to get there early enough that I could get a nice, long endurance ride in on the some of the sweetest road riding in America. Arrived in Madison by late morning, unloaded the car and suited up for an awesome epic ride. Ended up doing part of the Ironman Madison bike course and some other miscellaneous roads and logged a total of 100 miles for the day with an average HR of around 150. What a ride! My legs felt great, the roads were incredible and there were a lot of great hills, some kicking up to as steep as 17%.
Saturday morning Terri and I hooked with a few of her tri friends for an easy active recovery ride of 90 minutes. Another great ride on some really sweet roads. All of the rural roads around Madison are paved / blacktop. Most of the rural roads around Madison are paved, unlike Iowa where most are gravel, very nice!
Sunday finally came and I loaded the car up with my race gear and hit the road. Stopped by Barriques for a very large cup of joe and a sweet roll as an appetizer for the main course, my usual box of Mueslix. Talked to my buddy, Gregasaurus, who’s the race director and he said that it started raining at around 6pm Saturday and finally stopped at around 6am this morning… great… another mud race.
I arrived at the course in time to watch the Citizen (beginners) race and their bikes were caked with peanut buttery mud. It was incredibly humid out, 147% humidity I think is what the radio said? It was overcast with little to no wind and very muggy. So the course remained pretty muddy throughout the day.
Back in the day, when I used to do all of the WORS races, I’d do a course recon on Saturday because it’s against the rules to pre-ride on Sunday, too many races going on throughout the day. Didn’t get a chance to recon this time, it’s all good though, I kinda remember a lot of it from racing there a few other times in the past. A lot of tight, twisty singletrack, perfect for the locals.
My plan for the day was to get a decent start, didn’t want to kill myself trying to get to the front as it was an uphill start and with 50 or 60 peeps in the elite field, along with the muddy conditions, I figured it was gonna be total chaos. Series director Don gave the command to start, “Gooooooo!” and we were off like a pack of wild banshees. I got clipped in right away and kinda took it easy as we rolled up the hill. Once at the top, I took a look around and saw that I was near the back. We hit the field section, which is about a mile long? The trail was full of deep mud puddles, just waiting to suck the wheels of unsuspecting mtb’rs in and cause a pileup. There were a few pile ups, but I was close enough to the back ‘o the pack that I could avoid it all.
Heavy D, one of my bro's from back in the day
I passed a few cats and made it to the singletrack unscathed. We started weaving through the tight and twisty singletrack that the Franklin course is known for and was surprised at what little effort it took to hang onto the wheel in front of me. As we transitioned from one section of singletrack to the next, I was able to pick off a few riders at a time in the open sections that separated the serpentine singletrack.
Workin' the peanut butter
I passed Scott Cole, one of my 40+ competitors and he said that I was sitting in 2nd place for the 40+ category. I kept the pressure on, my legs felt great and I was handling the muddy conditions surprisingly well. I was surprised at how quickly I was able to reel in racers that were in front of me on all of the technical, muddy sections. About midway through the race, I caught up to the leader of the 40+ race on one of the flat, open sections. As I passed him, I hit the throttle pretty hard in an attempt to blow by and maybe demoralize him a little, maybe dissuade him from trying to go with me. I heard him react and he was on my wheel until we hit the next section of singletrack. Once in the singletrack, I was able to gradually pull away. As the race progressed, I was able to pass quite a few others and in the end I managed to claw my way up to 14th overall and 1st in the 40+ elites.
The men's podium, Jesse Lalonde (1st) Marko Lalonde (2nd) and Brian Matter (3rd)
I was extremely happy with the result for quite a few reasons. I usually suck in the mud, but today, I felt like I was handling the conditions better than most. Because the course is in Milwaukee, there are a lot of peeps that have a huge advantage over the out of towners. Lastly, I had a pretty lousy start and had to expend a lot of energy working my way up. I didn’t really mind though, my main objective for the day was to get a good workout in, finish the race and not destroy my bike. Mission accomplished!
From what I can remember, my best ever WORS finish was 10th overall. I think I had a couple of 12th place finishes in there also, so this was definitely one of my best results on a tough course. I plan to head back up and do the season finale in Sheboygan on October 7. My goal is to finish within the top 10. If my form is still good I think that I’ve got a shot at it. It’s a good course for me and I’ve had a lot of good finishes there.
Next up is Psycowpath XC #5 at Lake Maskethine on Saturday. I have no idea where this place is, somewhere in northeast Nebraska. Looking at the map, it looks like it’s gonna be a pretty dreadful drive with little to no cell phone coverage. Thank God for iPods! On Sunday, Terri, myself and Kristy Feldman will be defending our team co-ed title at the Big Creek triathlon in good ole’ Des Moines. Should be a fun weekend!
Thanks for reading,