Race Report: Reforestation Ramble

 This weekend's Reforestation Ramble, the second of three races in the new WORS Marathon Series, drew over 715 racers to the Brown County Reforestation Camp in Suamico, WI. Midway through this year's overall Subaru sponsored 2007 Wisconsin Off Road Series, the Ramble marked the first time since 2000 a WORS event has been held at the camp. The sun was out early and strong on Sunday morning, but the heat of the day was broken by intermittent cloud cover, and near ideal conditions prevailed during the fast, fun race over rolling double and single track. With almost 5 miles of double track and service road between the mass starts and the first section of single track trail, many WORS riders enjoyed the chance to mingle a bit in the passing lanes. The course was dotted with small hills, a few sandy corners and climbs, and some stump-jumping trail sections. The 11.5 mile lap length also gave riders plenty of opportunities for teamwork on wide open stretches.

Many young and first-time WORS riders came out for the Ramble. In the Hayes Disc Brakes Citizen Series, Youth racers, 12-year-olds Madeline Labecki of Milwaukee and Brett Poulton of Lake Forest IL, took top honors in their respective races.  Meanwhile, WORS series leaders continued to excel along with the change in racing format. In the Citizen races, Ann Holsen of Manitowoc continued her winning streak, once again taking top honors for the ladies with a time of 1:54:32 for two laps. James Schwindt of Fond du Lac led the Citizen Men with a time of 1:37:45. In the women's CycleOps Sport race, Andrea Matter of Sheboygan bested the field with a winning time of 2:34:40 for 3 laps, while Matt Zak of Rhinelander led the Men's field in 2:14:27. In the Cliff Bar Comp Series race Landon Lueck (Glyde Clothing/TREK) of Madison continued his own winning-streak with a time of 2:55:46 for 4 laps.



The length and speed of the course lent itself to some strong margins at the finish line, though none so wide as the 8 minute lead Sarah Kylander-Johnson (Trek/VW, 3:06:11) had on second-place finisher, and Chippewa Valley Firecracker overall winner, Anne Grabowski (Nature Valley/ PENNCYCLE, 3:14:18) in the BelGioioso Elite Women's race. There were also a few close struggles.  A mere 10th of a second separated first-place finisher Brian Matter (PCW/Trek, 2:47:08) and second place Marko Lalonde (Gary Fisher/BKB) in the Elite Men's race. The Ramble seemed to bring out the best in some racers of each category, and the overall podium registered several newcomers this week.  Elite racers Ryan Krayer (Moosejaw MTB) and Dallas Fowler (Stadium Bike), for example, placed in the overall top-5 for the first time.

WORS series racers I spoke with found the course fast, challenging and fun. The variety provided by the Marathon Series format sparked some unique opportunities for WORS racers, particularly as Citizen, Sport, Comp and Elite were on the track at the same time. Many seem to have taken the WORS motto of "help one another" to heart and put it to action at the Ramble, e.g. the rumor that a Citizen Youth Racer with a missing pedal got some help in the form of a tow from one of the passing Elites. The post-race talk also included some vigorous discussions of passing technique. The local event organizers worked hard to provide for racers and spectators both on and off the course at this first-ever event at a new venue. The raffle during the awards ceremony even included a logo hunt for local sponsor KI that resulted in one lucky racer walking away with a new Gary Fisher bike. If you stayed in the area, or patronized local businesses during the course of your visit to the Ramble, local race organizer would like to hear from you to help make next year's Ramble even better. Finally, as announced at the race, those interested in helping to ride in the trails at Mt. Morris, site of the upcoming Subaru Cup Stage Race at Nordic Mountain will have a chance this coming weekend, July 21 - 22. For further details, make sure to check the WORS message board.



More photos of the event can be found online. And, as always, be sure to check Extreme Photography.

See you in three weeks, August 5, at the Crystal Ridge Ski Area in Franklin WI, for the Alterra Coffee Bean Classic!

Article and photos by Claire Cannon.


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