Report by Todd Nutter
The Wisconsin summer is over and racers from the Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS) came out for their final event of the 2013 season this past weekend. The Wigwam Challenge in Sheboygan, WI has been the closing race for several years of WORS and it gives riders one last chance to earn points, goof off or just see their friends before the winter. A favorite of many, the Wigwam Challenge offers an array of terrain including roots, slick quarry rock, sand and mud.
As many racers are shifting gears from cross country to cyclocross racing, the Wigwam Challenge still draws a respectable field of racers in the Belgioioso Elite Men’s race. Local Pro racer, Brian Matter(RACC/Trek/Gear Grinder) came out for one last chance to earn series points. Even after racing cyclocross the day before, Matter performed with his typical awe-inspiring speed. Of course, the race was not his alone as Cole House (Cashcall Cycling Team/616) came out to show what he was capable of doing. Joseph Maloney (KS Energy Services/Team Wisconsin) came to conclude his best season to date with another punch on his “frequent podium card.” House attacked at the start to grab the hole shot premium and continued to push hard throughout the race commenting that he “never felt real good” but was just riding his own race. Maloney tried to outrun House for the hole shot but had to settle for 2nd. Maloney then hung on the wheel of Matter fairly comfortably for much of the race. As Matter pulled away from Maloney, he took the lead away from House and had a few bike lengths on him for a lap or two until a slip on a root slowed him down. House saw his opportunity and took the lead back. Matter chased him down into the sprint finish but in the end House took the win for his 3rd year in a row. Matter grabbed the 2nd place points while Maloney took 3rd place for the second time in his Pro career.
The Women’s Elite field came up to the line with series leader Abigail Strigel (Honey Stinger/ Bontrager) standing next to Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers Race Club). Woodruff had come up from Prescott, AZ to host a women’s race clinic the day before (sponsored by Sheboygan Bicycle Company) and stayed to race with the fastest women in WORS. Cooper Dendel (Border Grill p/b Quick Stop) also showed up to complete her 8th WORS race and therefore earn enough points for overall series placement. Woodruff took the lead from the start giving Strigel a much wanted competitor to chase down. Woodruff used her skills and speed to buy time on each lap, eventually winning with a three minute gap. Strigel’s hard effort bought her a similar three minute gap over third place, Cooper Dendel. Dendel’s finish took her from 9th place overall in the series all the way up to 2nd while Strigel could not be passed in points as she has had the top spot locked up for a few races already.
The 2013 WORS season will wrap up with a formal awards banquet on October 19th, 2013. The series will return again in May 4, 2014 with the Iola Bump and Jump in Iola, WI. For more information please visit www.wors.org