WORS presented by Trek began its 25th season in Iola, WI on Sunday, May 15th. The 2016 season opener, titled “The Iola Bump & Jump”, brought together old friends that the grim winter separated. Racers came into the WORS opener not knowing what to expect. It can give racers the satisfaction that their off season training paid off, or leave racers wishing they rode more through the winter months. Despite their readiness, WORS racers were eager to visit the pain cave. Pushing the race back two weeks into May unlike the previous years gave the course an opportunity to dry up making it an extremely fast course full of fast descents, harsh hills and flowy singletrack.
The lineup at the start of the BelGioioso Elite Men’s race was filled full with big names like Cole House (Door County Brewing Co/Intelligentsia Coffee), Nathan Guerra (Vision Cycling/P/B Ryder 930), Corey Stelljes (Motorless Motion/Cannondale) Justin Piontek (Adventure 212/Specialized) and Peter Karinen(Unattached). Off the line, House and Guerra attacked the hills hard opening up a gap on Stelljes and the rest of the field. Stelljes after a start mishap put in a hard effort to bridge up to the leaders. On the second lap, House was able to build a lead. Guerra not too worried felt that they could catch him again on the hills. Sometimes the story doesn’t always go to plan as House was able to keep the gap open and only grew it through the single track for an impressive win. Guerra continued to chase but would never catch House for a second place finish. Behind these two were Stelljes and Piontek. After suffering from a slow leak in his front tire, Stelljes had to pull over and add some air but didn’t lose too much time to ride into third place. Behind Stelljes finished Piontek and Karinen for fourth and fifth place respectively.
In the BelGioioso Elite Women’s race, there was a larger group than normal, including last year’s reigning champion, Leia Schneeberger(Broken Spoke Racing). Off the line Schneeberger took off destroying the start hill opening a big gap. It wasn’t too big for Lindsay Kriete (Holllander Benelux Racing) who caught her shortly into the first lap taking the lead. Kriete would never be passed again from any other ladies as she would take the win by over a minute. Schneeberger stayed steady behind Kriete to ride into second. Off in the distance was Rachael Jensen(KS Energy Services / MOSH) and Lindsey Guerra(Vision Cycling/P/B Ryder 930) who switched positions a couple times, but never really rode together. In the end Guerra topped Rachel with a third place finish. Jamie Ertl(Unattached) finished fourth and Rachael Jensen finished 5th overall respectively.
The WORS series will continue with the next event on June 5, 2016 with the “Battle Of CamRock” at CamRock Park in Rockdale WI. For more information visit http://wors.org/schedule/camrock/.
Photo by Kari Scheppman