Chippewa Valley Firecracker

Clear blue skies and sunshine greeted over 750 racers in Eau Claire at this year's Chippewa Valley Firecracker, presented by Charter Communications. The Firecracker was race number five of the Subaru sponsored 2007 Wisconsin Off Road Series. Dry conditions made for a fast race through rolling single track, and WORS riders churned up plenty of dust along a mile-plus stretch of service road on their way to the shade. The long lead out and overall course length added an extra element of variety for series riders. Racers I spoke to particularly enjoyed the downhill, burmed switchbacks. The course sported a few rocks and tight corners, two creek crossings, and some steep singletrack descents. For those favoring the big ring, wide open doubletrack and the service road allowed plenty of opportunities to put the hammer down.

The day was especially sunny for singlespeed riders, who threatened to overrun the men's podium this week. In the men's CycleOps Sport race, the top four overall finishers rode singlespeed, as did the 1st and 3rd place overall finishers in the BelGioioso Elite men's race. If singlespeed racers threatened to overrun the men's podium, racers from neighboring states actually did so during the women's awards. In the Hayes Disc Brakes Citizen Series race, Elizabeth Shedd of Minneapolis took top honors, while in the Sport race, the top three spots went to Martha O'Connor-Leigh of Dubuque IA, Kelly Skillicorn of Winona MN and Lori Belz of Stillwater MN. The top four spots went to Minnesotans in the BelGioioso Elite women's race, led by Kyia Melenkovich of St Cloud.

The Hayes Disc Brakes Citizen Series Race took racers on two fast laps over the 12-mile course, with close finishes in many races. The 1st place overall Citizen women
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