Swartz and Karinen Race to the Top

Eau Claire,WI   The thirteenth year of the Red Flint Firecracker was the coldest to date, with temperatures hovering just about 50 degrees and mother nature made sure to throw in some rain too! Despite the weather, WORS alongside CORBA made it a weekend to remember with a pre-race spaghetti feed, endless s’mores and of course the infamous Firecracker socks! On the racing side, new boardwalk was added by the creek crossing, the whoops were hard-packed and the rocks were more exposed to keep it interesting, fun and challenging!   The start of the Red Flint Firecracker is unlike any other as it is a flat, long lead-out rather than a lung-busting hill. This meant that the Pro/Elite Women’s race took much longer to shake out and made racers work smarter bringing out the best tactical skills they have. Off the lead-out, racers remained fairly together, until overall series leader Leia Schneeberger(Broken Spoke Racing) attacked wanting to enter the whoops first. Emma Swartz(Team Wisconsin), playing a tactical card, sat on Schneeberger’s wheel following her line throughout the whole first lap. Schneeberger definitely had the experience at Lowe’s Creek as she was last year’s winner but as for Swartz, she hasn’t raced at here since 2012, so it was crucial for her to sit back until she was ready. Swartz and Schneeberger battled at the front until Swartz attacked on the road section starting lap two. Schneeberger did everything she could to counter, but the legs just didn’t have it. Schneeberger told herself that she wasn’t a quitter and anything is possible in a mountain bike race. After she burnt a couple matches, she closed the gap early in the last lap, but it didn’t last long. Right as she bridged, the clouds burst, dumping rain on the racers and the course. With Swartz’s strong cross background, she was a steady steed and she slowly hammered through the mud, opening a minute gap to take the lead and eventually the win. Schneeberger finished in second, but with smiles and a sense of accomplishment. Behind the leaders, Minnesota Native Corey Coogan Cisek(The Fixx Studio) had a fairly solo ride, but with her background in cross as well, she felt very confident in the mud as she rode into third place. Finally Holly Lavesser(Neff Cycle Service) and Anna Ganju(Colectivo Coffee) rounded out the top 5 coming in fourth and fifth respectively.   The Start of the BelGioioso Pro/Elite Men’s race began very slow. No one wanted to pull the approximately mile long lead out, but once racers approached the single track, Cole House(Broken Spoke Racing) wanted the lead. He pushed the pace, immediately opening up a minute lead but later fell victim to a derailleur mechanical. Behind House, Ben Schmutee(First Internet Bank), Ben Senkerik(Team Extreme) and Pete Karinen(Broken Spoke Racing) were riding close behind but a small gap was between all three. Schmutee suffered a mechanical early on as well resulting in a DNF. After hearing rumors that House and Schmutee pulled out, Karinen found himself in the lead and wasn’t going to give it up. After four brutal, solo laps in the mud and rain, Karien redeemed himself from last weekend’s DNF with a win. Senkerik finished in second place, his best finish to date just a minute and a half off the mark. Behind Karinen and Senkerik, young rider Ethan Jedlicka(ASU Devo) started picking riders off and he rode from just outside the top ten all the way to third place, his best finish at just the young age of seventeen. Behind Jedlicka, Casey Griesemer(Neff Cycle Service) had his first top five of the year finishing in fourth. Rounding out the top five was Ray Nelson racing for Treadhead Cycling.   For more results, visit http://wors.org/results/ For info on the next WORS race, visit http://worscup.com/
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