Lavesser and Karinen Win WORS Cup Regional Championships

Last weekend, the Wisconsin Off-Road Series held the Mid-Westerns most premier mountain bike race, WORS Cup, at the Alpine Valley Ski Resort. Racers competed in a cross country race, short track event, and an enduro race all striving to be the regional champion. Alpine Valley mountain bike trails snake up and down ski runs while weaving through the woods on fast single track with tight corners. Overall, Alpine Valley was transformed into a National caliber mountain bike course that brought in stiff competition not just from Wisconsin, but from all around the nation.

The WORS Cup Cross-country event presented by Trek started out with a brisk pace set by Cole House (Broken Spoke Racing). In the chase group was Wisconsin native Brian Matter(Linear Sport Racing/Trek), Samuel Elson, Issac Neff(Neff Cycle Service), Corey Stelljes(Neff Cycle Service) and Tristan Schouten(Threshold Sports Carbon Repair). The group seemed to catch House at the top of the start climb but House always found an extra gear for the singletrack coming down the ski runs. After 3 laps of cat and mouse, the group finally caught House and Karinen saw his opportunity. Karinen attacked the hill prior to the feed zone. House, thinking he had more time, let him go, assuming the chase group could help reel Karinen back in. Matter tried to counter Karinen’s move and slowly  the chase group broke into a string of riders all trying keep pace.  With one lap to go, Karinen stayed on the gas both physically and mentally, knowing it was not the time to suffer from a mistake. Credit to Karinen’s skills, no mistakes were made and no one would close the gap. Karinen never let up as he raced into the finish shoot, being crowned the Midwest regional Champion. Matter crossed the line in second, just 20 seconds off the lead. Elson finished right behind Matter for bronze while House filed in for fourth. Rounding out the top five, was Tristan Schouten.

In the Cat 1/Pro women’s Cross-country race, young sensation Emma Swartz(Team Wisconsin) took off with a bang despite Holly Lavesser(Neff Cycle Service), Leia Schneeberger(Broken Spoke Racing) and Anna Ganju(Collectivo Coffee Race Team) in hot pursuit. Swartz rode two laps solo off the front but it didn’t last much longer. Schneeberger was not going to give up until the race was over, especially once she could see glimpses of Swartz.  Schneeberger put in a big effort and caught Swartz at the top of the ski resort before descending back to the bottom. Just when Schneeberger started to feel comfortable, Lavesser caught Swartz and began to hunt for the lead. Schneeberger could see Lavesser closing in but tried to remain calm.  Lavesser, knowing it’s her home course, felt very strong on the climbs. She felt that a hill was the best place for her to make a move on Schneeberger and so she did. In the last lap of the race, Lavesser attacked on the final climb before the last decent. Lavesser had plenty of momentum and excitement to fly down the last section of singletrack in order to secure her first Elite win and to be named the Midwest Regional Champion! Just about a minute behind came Schneeberger for second. Swartz finished third while Ganju was fourth. Rounding out the top five was visiting Pro rider Meghan Korol(Industry Nine)from North Carolina.

In the Short track race presented by Schlossman Dodge City Chrysler Jeep, rider Leia Schneeberger(Broken Spoke Racing) had a little extra fire and drive for the race due to her silver medal in the previous cross country race. Schneeberger along with friend and competitor Anna Ganju(Collectivo Coffee Race Team) developed a tactical plan. They decided to work together until they had a big enough gap on the rest of the field to shake it out. Behind the two leaders, Kristina Navarro(Neff Cycle Service) alongside the Cat one Juniors were in route, chasing from behind. About half way through the 15 minute race, Navarro dropped off the juniors’ wheels as Katrina Hurst(Linear Sport/Trek) swapped places after closing in on the juniors. Meanwhile in the front, Schneeberger’s legs had an extra gear as she was able to ride away from Ganju. Schneeberger would go on to finish on the top step while Ganju finished second. Hurst, racing her first ever short track, worked together with the juniors to finish third overall. Behind Hurst finished Navarro in fourth and Wendy Boehm(Neff Cycle Service) in fifth respectively.

In the Men’s Short Track race presented by Schlossman Dodge City Chysler Jeep, many men wanted to control the front. At different times, Cole House(Broken Spoke Racing), Tristan Schouten(Threshold Sports Carbon Repair), Ben Schmutte(First Internet Bank), and Issac Neff(Neff Cycle Service) all spent time individually off the front. But the main rule of short track was evident last sunday: almost always, a solo rider off the front will be caught. With three laps to go, Brian Matter(Linear Sport/Trek) bridged the lead group. With two to go, Matter strategically placed himself right behind long time friend, Schouten as they approached the bell lap. Behind Schouten, was Corey Stelljes(Neff Cycle Service) and Schmutte all battling for podium places. On the last lap, Matter made a move on Schouten just before approaching the downhill switchbacks. Schouten tried to counter on the last straight away, but it wasn’t enough as Matter took the win, with Schouten just a second behind. The battles weren’t over as Stelljes just edged out Schmutte for third and fourth. Saturday’s winner, Pete Karinen(Broken Spoke Racing) rounded out the top five.

The KMC Enduro race is multiple timed descents mixed with uphill transports. Although the uphills are not timed, racers will start their descents in order of their uphill finish. Racers tackled on two different runs, and then the total of the two runs were added together to determine the Midwest Enduro champions. In the Women’s open field, racer Leia Schneeberger(Broken Spoke Racing) blew out the gates, smashing her competitors’ times by over ten seconds. In the second run, Holly Lavesser(Neff Cycle Service) felt the pressure to execute while Schneeberger could be more conservative on the downhill. Although Lavesser had the faster time on run #2, Schneeberger still had the best overall time to win the Enduro race. Lavesser finished second while Kera Linn finished third. In the Men’s Pro/Open field, Carlos Haeckel(Collectivo Coffee Race Team) smashed the field winning both runs to become the Midwest Enduro champion. Coming in second was Vincent Steger(High Gravity) with Pete Karinen(Broken Spoke Racing) in third.

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