Fantastic Racing at the Bump & Jump

As WORS 2004 sponsored by Subaru, Diven by What?s Inside, winds down it would seem that the best may have been saved for last. The weather and the courses in the last couple of races have been some of the best of the year.

The Iola Bump & Jump, race number eleven in WORS 2004, was blessed with the kind of race weather that I wish we could bottle and bring to every WORS event. Staged at the Iola Winter Sports Area just outside of the small central Wisconsin community of Iola and staffed primarily by Iola Winter Sports Club members, the strong Scandinavian heritage of this part of Wisconsin gives this event the feel of a group of great friends competing in someone?s backyard. We should all be so lucky as to have such a backyard. Sandy pine forested singletrack, power climbs, and intermittent fast open ski trail are the trademarks of this course while the ?bowl? section of the course brings it an intimacy like no other in all of WORS.

Not only great for mountain biking, this venue also provided the perfect course for the final race of the 2004 WORS Trail Run Series. Forty runners lead off the day?s racing with Atonia Leal from Greendale and Dennis Raymark of Menomonee Falls recording fast times for the 2.5 mile short course and Dot Memanhan of Jackson and John Kann from Rice Lake finishing on top in the 5 mile race.

Although the great weather on Saturday produced a large turn out of mountain bike racers to pre-ride, the real racing was started with at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday as WORS 8-12 year old Citizen Youth competitors took to the Bump & Jump course. Nine year old Jessica House led the way for the girls with a time of 33.17 for the five mile lap while ten year old Myles Beach turned in top boys? time of 28.58. While the youths were finishing up, the first wave of the USA Cycling Citizen series race left the start chute at 10:00 a.m. Citizen competitors raced two laps of the Bump and Jump course with fast times being turned in by Roland Rieflin (Oconto Falls, WI) and Antonia Leal, fresh from her short course run victory, crossing the line at 47:40 and 55:38 respectively.

Racing continued with the 11:30 start of the Saris Sport Series portion of the Iola Bump & Jump. Sport, Singlespeed, and Sport Clydesdale competitors raced three laps and when the dust settled and times were posted the best times belonged to Marquete, Michigan?s Lori Violetta with a 1:18:41 and Depere, Wisconsin?s Joe Greatins with a 1:07:48.

WORS and Hayes Disc Brakes continue their commitment to introducing new young riders to off road bicycle racing with the running of the Hayes Disc Brake Youth race for riders twelve and under at 1:00 and the day?s racing concluded with the Clif Bar Comp series race and BelGioioso Elite series races. Comps raced for four laps and demonstrated their advanced skills and speed as the median time for the group was over 2 minutes per lap faster than that of the Sport men. Clif Bar Comp series overall leader, 16 year Jonathan Kay (Hayes on Track Race Team) of Shell Lake, Wisconsin looked very much on track to make the jump to the Elite class as he turned top time of 1:22:47. A little over 2:30 back, David Stahl (Team Wisconsin) and Jan Rybar (unattached) finished in second and third place respectively. In the Elite men?s race Salsa Cycle?s pro, Jeff Hall, powered away from second place Brain Matter (PCW Cycling) in the third of five laps and rode onto victory with a margin of 2:55 while singlespeeder, Jesse Lalonde (Kenwood/Gunnar) moved past the Elite series overall leader coming into Iola, A.J. Etmayer, Jr. (Team Pedal Moraine) and held him off in the singletrack to finish third. Brian Eppen (Atlas Cycling) completed the top five. For the women, Kim Eppen (unattached) notched her third consecutive WORS victory, moving into second place in the overall standings as she held off Jenna Zander ( Teammates Rebecca Cleveland (The Bike Hub) and Susan Juedes (The Bike Hub) finished third and fourth as a mechanical dropped series overall leader, Sara Kylander-Johnson (Trek Midwest/Ski Hut) to fifth.

Race director, Phil Johnsrud and the Iola Winter Sports Club continue to provide WORS competitors with a first class mountain bike race and deserve gratitude and congratulations from all in attendance. Next up, the WORS 2004 finale: the Wigwam/Ultimax MTB Challenge in Sheboygan, Wisconsin on October 10th. With its AMBC (the American Mountain Bike Challenge) designation, the WORS #12 will afford NORBA annual members an opportunity to qualify for the 2005 United States National Championships. Although always great venue for racing and cheering on your favorite racer, Sheboygan will have the strongest Elite men?s field of this year?s WORS as a $1500 first prize is up for grabs. See you in Sheboygan.
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