Sunday was the first stop of the Wisconsin Off-road Series (WORS) held in Iola, WI. I have always wanted to make it to Iola for this race, but since it is a bit of a haul to get up there I have always found a reason to stay home. This year, however, with a couple of teammates racing and a place to stay the night before it was time put the excuses away and hit some early season dirt.The other great thing about making the trip was getting to see friends that don't get a chance to see during the winter months. We were like bears coming out of hibernation, greeting the other bears and woodland creatures.
After arriving at the course, we had enough time to check out the trails before the sport race went off, and found near perfect conditions with nice grippy singletrack, tough climbs, and some fast downhills. The first half of the course consisted of tough steep climbs and fire roads while the second half was flowing singletrack and some technical downhills.
All warmed up it was now time to sit at the startline for 15 minutes before the comp race went off. Then 10 seconds and the WORS countdown to "GOOOOoooo!!!" and we are off. Up the starting climb people were battling for position, dust in the face and elbows to the gut. The race started with a couple of up/down sections into a fast downhill past the start/finish area, and into the ski jump bowl where most of the crowd had gathered to cheer. Past the fans and into the woods. At this poin I made an effort to get by as many riders before the tight singletrack in the second half of the lap. I have to say this was a shock to the system, and most of the first lap really hurt, but at some point I recovered and settled into my race pace. Unfortunately I didn't feel like I was going going that great, and while I was passing riders from the earlier waves, I was also getting caught by the leaders of the later waves. I would try and hold their wheels, but after a half mile or so they would open up a gap and that would be the last time I would see them. This would be the pattern for the rest of the race as I rolled into the finish after 20 hard miles with a really sore back.
The first race was done, and I was cooked. I really had no clue how I did, and upon seeing the results I found myself really disappointed. I was way down in the Comp class, and fourteen minutes behind the leader, however with my first race issues, the WORS crew was also working out the kinks. The results were revised and I was moved up to 8th in my age group and top half of the overall rankings. Looking back I was pretty happy considering this year I am making the jump for Sport to Comp. I know there is a ton of room for improvement and I will be looking to get some great results as the racing continues. I can't wait!!