The cold and wet weather will be given a stern order to Goooooooo! Sunday morning for the opening of the Wisconsin Off Road Racing Series in Iola.
When WORS Director Don Edberg gives that traditional command, the series will start its 20th season, adding to its stature as one of the largest state-based race series in the country and one of the longest-running in the world.
In 2010, an average of 714 riders participated in the 12 races across the state.
On Sunday, organizers are expecting close to 900 at the start line in the Iola Winter Sports Area in central Wisconsin.
Due to the wet conditions around the state, most of the mountain bike trails have been closed through the spring, and a good number of those riders will be getting their tires muddy for the first time in 2011.
The sandy soil in Iola reportedly drains well, and the course is predicted to be in good shape. The race-day forecast calls for sunshine and temperatures in the high 40s to low 50s.
Riders will be looking for a repeat of this sunny day in Iola. Photo by Heather Lau.
Strigel, from Madison, has been on a dominant run, winning three years in a row and four of the last five.
Schouten, from Sheboygan, will need to balance his chance to become the winning-est male racer in WORS history with his preparation for cyclo cross nationals in Madison.
As an early season test, the Iola Bump & Jump typically draws a strong field from the Midwest.
Claire Cannon, the WORS media coordinator provided a preview of the lineup.
Kim and Brian Eppen, racing for Mercy-Specialized out of Iowa City, often make the trip and have been accompanied in past by teammate Robin Williams. Kim Eppen is another repeat WORS Overall Champion, and Williams took 3rd place last year in the Ladies Series Overall.Lisa Krayer will be back with her Adventure 212 / Specialized teammates.
It will be Krayer’s first season racing as a Pro, and will be looking to match her impressive breakout season in 2010.
In the men’s race, 2010 BelGioiso Elite Series second-place finisher Darrin Braun (Adventure212 / Specialized) and third-place Nathan Guerra (Mr. Tree Racing / Powerbar) are expected to be near the front.
The men’s Elite field at Iola is often large and over 70 men were on the start line for last year’s contest.
WCA: While the off-road riders will have their first taste of competition, the roadies competing in the Wisconsin Cycling Association will be lining up for races number five and six in the Wisconsin Cup. Part of the La Crosse Fitness Festival, the doubleheader includes a time trial on Saturday and a criterium on Sunday.
Like WORS, the Wisport Series also opens its season this weekend.
The Pedal for Proceeds Race in Whitewater will start at 10 a.m. The Wisport series has given citizen riders an opportunity to race for more than 20 years.