Mountain Bike Racing Doesn?t Get Much Better

This weekend marked the northern-most journey of WORS 2004 with the running of race #7, the Marshfield Clinic Sports Medicine Phillips Dirtfighter Classic in Phillips, WI. Nestled in beautiful Price County and staged at the Price County Fairgrounds, the Dirtfighter is renown for tremendous community support, ample free camping (many sites along the water), and a great post race meal catered by the Phillips Caf?. Add to all of that the best weather of the summer and a fast, fun, and beautifully laid out course and all we can say to those unable or unwilling to make the drive to this event is ?you really missed it!?

The WORS Citizen Youth race started off the day?s events with 27 excited, young competitors, ranging in age from 8 to 12 years old. The fastest times on the 5 mile course for the 8-10 year olds went to Jessica House (Oneida, WI) for the girls, and Nathan Labecki (Milwaukee, WI) for the boys. In the older age group, it was Arin Lemke (Cedarburg, WI) who led the girls while Zeb Rybar (Apple Valley, MN) won for the boys.

The USA Cycling Citizen Series race started at 10 a.m. with competitors racing two laps of the Dirtfighter course, excluding a loop of technical singletrack reserved for Sport and above. The approximate mileage for the Citizen race was 11.5 miles, including the lead out and return to the fairgrounds. It was Christine Korbein (Baraboo, WI) who led the Citizen women, with a time of 52:59. Matthew Lanser (Green Bay, WI) recorded a 47:11 as fast time for the men, while Brian Smith (Janesville, WI) finished with the lead for the Clydesdales at 56:40.

An 11:30 start to the Saris Sport Series race put racers to the test with approximately 15.5 miles of racing including three laps of all the Dirtfighter course had to offer. The fast course gave the Singlespeed category competitors a little more of a disadvantage when compared to the rest of the field, with the fast time coming in at 1:20:04, posted by Craig Marotz (Larsen, WI), with the top five singlespeeders all finishing within three minutes of each other. The Sport men?s fastest time went to Hans Hare (Eagle River, WI) with 1:06:30, while Lori Violetta (Marquette, MI) took first overall for the women with 1:26:40. For the Sport Clydesdales, it was Scott Sumner?s (Sheboygan, WI) time of 1:22:32 that took the top spot.

In the Clif Bar Comp Series race, Jan Rybar?s (Apple Valley, MN) first place finish, with a time of 1:28:50 brought him one place shy of the Clif Bar Comp Leader?s Jersey. The absence of the current jersey holder, Josh Kay, allowed Chris Solan (Gurnee, IL) to claim the jersey going into the next event. Teammates Andy Peters and Ryan Krayer, both riding for Moosejaw Brewery & Pizza, took second and third at 1:52 and 2:33 back, respectively.

The Bel Gioioso Elite Series saw another amazing performance by Doug Swanson (Trek/VW) who captured the top spot on the podium with his time of 1:33:16 for five laps. Swanson?s speed allowed only two comp competitors to make it to the finish line ahead of him. Only 52 down on Swanson was his chief Midwest rival, Jeff Hall (Salsa Cycles), who was followed by Sheboygan teammates Tristan Schouten (PCW Cycling) at 2:34 back and Brian Matter (PCW Cycling) at 6:54 back. Brian Narrum (Trek) picked up the five spot with a time of 1:40:42.

On the women?s side, in her first time to the top of the WORS podium for this year, Ann Grabowski (Penn Cycle/Nature Valley) edged out current series leader Sara Kylander-Johnson (Trek Midwest Regional Team) for the win by a little over a minute with a time of 1:36:03. The final three spots on the podium went to Jenna Zander (NicoletBike.com), Susan Juedes (Bike Hub), and Kim Eppen (unattached), all finishing within a minute of each other.

The Marshfield Clinic Sports Medicine Phillips Dirtfighter Classic also marked the half way point in WORS 2004. The competition for both individual and team titles is really starting to heat up. Points will be at a premium as all work to establish their placing and get on the podium at the October 30th WORS 2004 Awards Banquet at Devil?s Head Resort.

A big thank you goes out to event director John Hendricks, his great volunteer staff, and the entire community of Phillips, WI for the wonderful welcoming atmosphere characteristic of this race. Next up is WORS #8, the Buzzard Buster in Hatfield, Wisconsin. This unique marathon-style event is a one loop race with some of the best singletrack in the Midwest. This event also features a mass start with the Elite class racers leading off at 10:00 am. Other classes start at 5 minute intervals behind the Elites, so remind all your friends about the 10:00 am start. See you in two weeks!
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