Race Report: Wigwam/Ultimax MTB Challenge

Last weekend's Wigwam/Ultimax MTB Challenge in Sheboygan, WI brought over 750 racers to the season finale of this year's Subaru-sponsored Wisconsin Off Road Series.

A combination of rain earlier in the week and dry, warm weather on race day kept dust and mud at bay and left the track in prime condition. The Sheboygan course is deservedly well-loved by series veterans and a delight for first-time riders. Course redesigns for this years' event added to the fun while retaining popular features, including flowing singletrack, technical descents, a creek crossing, and the steepest hill in all of WORS - "The Equalizer".

Expert riders Holly "Paula's daughter" Liske (left) and Ron "rode it on a singlespeed" Stawicki (right) are greeted at the top of "The Equalizer", WORS' steepest climb, with $5 courtesy of FAT KATS. Photo credits: Rusty

WORS' fantastic sponsor participation once again made race day in Sheboygan especially fun. Before and after racing, riders lined up to collect Wigwam/Ulitmax cycling socks in a vendor area that also featured the Muddy Cup Cafe, Joe Bikeler's Bike Shop, Massage by Sylvia, Clif Bar and Trek Bicycle Works, plus local concessions. During the race, a sprint premium offered by Bicycle Works of Sheboygan Falls greeted each wave of racers 400 meters from the start, and rewarded spectators with some impressive sprints during the lead-out climb. Local organizers FAT KATS were at the top of the Equalizer with water, welcome encouragement, and a 5-dollar prize to every racer who successfully ascended to the top without needing to dismount.

In the Hayes Disc Brakes Citizen Series, the Citizen Youth racers took off in pursuit of the $20, $10 and $5 sprint premiums at 9:30 AM. After one lap of the course, racers Alyson Davis of Genoa City, WI (20:37), and Samuel Martz of Kewaskum, WI (17:59), were the first to cross the finish line in their respective races. Citizen racer Moriah Griesbach of Rockford, IL led the Citizen ladies with a time of 55:54 for two laps, followed by Sheboygan's own Roxanne Rogers (56:17). Matthew Amman of Milwaukee once again led the Citizen men with a time of 44:32, closely followed by David Bender of Belvidere IL (45:14).

In the women's CycleOps Sport race, Paula Liske of Medford, WI once again topped the field with a winning time of 1:26:33 for 3 laps of the Sport Course. She was followed by Michelle Peariso of Amherst Junction, WI at 1:27:35. Anthony DiPiazza of Kaukauna, WI had the best overall time among the Sport men, crossing the line at 1:12:16, nearly 3 minutes ahead of second place finisher Jason Roelse of Sheboygan (1:15:02).

More than a few closely-contested battles played out at Sheboygan. In the Cliff Bar Comp Series, singlespeed racers Casey Masterson (1:40:25) and James Lalonde (1:40:26) of Milwaukee, WI took first and second place, respectively, finishing within a second of one another after 4 laps. In the BelGioioso Elite race, Sara Kylander-Johnson (Trek/VW, 1:41:42) and Jenna Zander (Bear Naked/Cannondale, 1:41:52) rode together through 4 laps of the course, with Kylander-Johnson pulling away for the win just ahead of the finish. Kylander-Johnson also won the sprint premium for the women, while Cole House took the early lead, and the $20, for the expert men. In the men's Elite race, overall series leader Jesse Lalonde (Gary Fisher 29/BKB) withdrew with a flat and Doug Swanson (Trek/VW) edged the win (1:52:04) after Brian Matter (PCW/Trek, 1:52:07), who led through the the fifth lap, was momentarily slowed by cramping in his legs.

The awards ceremony and raffle provided plenty of after-race opportunities for fun for racers, friends, family and spectators alike. Many thanks to all who helped to make this event a fitting end to a great season of WORS racing. See you on Saturday, October 20, at Sentry World (601 N. Michigan Ave Stevens Point, WI 54481), for the Annual WORS awards banquet!

More photos of the event can be found online. And, as always, make sure to check out Extreme Photography to place your orders before the upcoming banquet event!

Article by Claire Cannon.

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