Rome Around, the Rain and the Pain

Mother Nature continues to test the fortitude of WORS racers as well above average rainfall eventually took its toll on one of the most water absorbent courses in all of WORS. The Rome Around course, usually noted as favoring the agile and speedy, turned into a test of strength and endurance as the 1/2? of rain that fell during the USA Cycling Citizen?s Series portion of the race took the trail past its saturation point and soon had the majority of the trail covered with 3? of brown slime.

Prior to the rain, the second of this year?s WORS Trail Run Series events put 49 runners out on the course. The Rome Around Long Course competitors ran the Citizen mountain bike course of approximately 5.2 miles with the Short Course cutoff yielding a course length of just over 3 miles. Runners returned relatively clean keeping up the optimism for the mountain bike race to follow. Fast times for the Long Course were turned in by John Brandt (Waukesha, WI) and Rosy Walsh (Rhinelander, WI) with times of 34:43 and 40:01 respectively. Short course competitors were lead by Caleb Sandvold?s (Oconomowoc, WI) 23:38 and Antonia Leal?s (Greendale, WI) 27:14.

WORS Citizen Youth mountain bike race followed the trail run with 8-12 year old competitors hitting the trails for a one lap competition. A field of 31 competitors got on the course at 9:30 just as the morning rain began. For the girls Jessica House (Oneida, WI) and Arin Lemke (Cedarburg, WI) turned in the best times for the 8-10 and 11-12 year olds. On the boys side, 10 year old Nathan Labecki (Milwaukee, WI) and 12 year old Theodore Peters (Hartford, WI) were fastest in their age categories. The USA Cycling Citizen?s Series race began at 10 with the rain well under way. As course conditions steadily eroded the course, the median time for competitors completing their two laps was one hour and thirty-five minutes, almost twice that of 2003. Antonia Leal (Greendale, WI) turned in a 1:25:50 and Mathew Lanser (Green Bay, WI) a time of 1:07:00 to set fast times for the women and men respectively. Citizen Clydesdales were led by Brian J. Smith?s (Janesville, WI) time of 1:27:18. Race officials were forced to delay the start of the Saris Sports Series race by ten minutes to allow the course to clear of Citizen traffic and made the decision to shorten the rest of the days races by one lap to compensate for the speed robbing course conditions. Although the rain subsiding at some point during the Sport race very little drying occurred and Sport times showed only a two minute improvement on average over those of the Citizens. When the mud stopped churning and the times were posted, Lori Violetta?s (Marquette, MI) time of 1:28:17 and Brian Knutson?s (Plainfield, IL) 1:12:01 emerged as the fastest Sport times of the day for the women and men respectively. Lucas Daniels (Ironwood, MI) set the pace for the Singlespeed category with his time of 1:11:44 while Dan Van Dallwyk (Kaukauna, WI) turned in fast time for Sport Clydesdales with a time of 1:23:54. The only competitors of the day to escape the mud were those entered in the Hayes Disc Brake Youth Race for kids twelve and under as it was held on a mowed path in the staging area that remained relatively dry.

The Clif Bar Comp and Bel Gioioso Elite races of WORS #3 went off on time at 1:30. The Elite men?s field of seventy-three blasted off the start line giving the impression that the speed was back but as the leaders, Jeff Hall (Salsa Cycles) and Tristan Schouten (PCW Cycling), started out on their second of four laps in just under 30 minutes with a two minute lead on the field it was evident that even the best of WORS racers would have to put out a maximum effort to complete their race in under two hours. Schouten hung on, however, he was unable to close the gap as Hall won by just over a minute. The two did increase their time up on the rest of the field by over six minutes as teammates Robert McVean (Ski Hut) and Mike Bushey (Ski Hut) came across six seconds apart for third and fourth. Brain Eppen (Atlas Cycling) finished fifth well ahead of a chase group of six riders. Last year?s women?s overall champion, Sara Kylander-Johnson (Trek Midwest Regional Team) continued her dominance of this year?s series as she remained undefeated, although Susan Juedes (Bike Hub) challenged her at several points throughout the race as the two pulled away from the rest of the field of twenty. Anne Grabowski (Penn Cycle/Nature Valley), neo-elite Kim Eppen (unattached) and Rebecca Cleveland (Bike Hub) completed the top five. In the Comp race 16 year old Jonathan Kay (Hayes Ontrack Race Team) continued to defend his Clif Bar Comp overall leader?s jersey with a fourth place overall finish. Carlos Hackel (unattached) turned in fast time of the day with Bill Nigh (Team Pedal Moraine) and Nathan Moenck (UWSP) in second and third.

Thanks to all who came out and persevered the conditions. Sue and Tim Tenpas, along with a great group of volunteers, continue to drive the quality of this event and deserve a huge thank you from WORS and its riders. Let?s all hope for dryer weather as we head into Race #4 of WORS 2004 sponsored by Subaru, Driven by What?s Inside. See you at the Alterra Coffee Bean Classic in Franklin, WI on June 13th.
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