and Matter win 2012 WORS season opener in Iola.
Strigel (HoneyStinger / Bontrager) and Brian Matter (GearGrinder / Trek) won
the first race of the Wisconsin Off Road Series, in Iola, WI on Sunday.
Heavy rains left the usually sandy course water-logged and muddy, giving
extra incentive for a fast leadout over Iola's start climbs into the first
sections of singletrack. In the women's race, Strigel was already alone
and working her way through the tail end of the men's Elite field before she hit
"I was going to stick with everyone, and see how it went,
but I felt OK and just decided to go," said Strigel. "Sometimes it's
harder in singletrack when there are more people around and it's that muddy. So
I thought it would be easier if I just got away. And I ran into a lot of
Elite men. There was a lot of running. But, that was OK because I just ran
straight through the puddles that other people were trying to go around."
At the front of the men's race, the field was spread out early by Strigel's
teammate Matt Shriver, who set a blistering pace over the initial climbs.
"I can start pretty hard and definitely went a little too far into the
red today," said Shriver. "I like to get out in front and not have to
bump bars with anybody or get gapped out at the front because there's always a
selection. If you're too far back, you're going to miss the group so it's nice
to get out front and stay out of trouble."
The mud at Iola derailed his
game plan as the entire field hit an extremely steep climb out of the ski jump
bowl, and everyone was forced to dismount and run through the mud. Brian
Matter, Mark Lalonde (T6/Lalonde Brothers) and Issac Neff (Williamson Bike
Works) moved into the lead. Also making the initial selection were Shriver,
Nathan Guerra (Wheel & Sprocket / Vision) and Kevin McConnell
(Mercy-Specialized). By the middle of the second lap, Matter and Lalonde
had opened a 30-second gap, and then Matter then broke away for a solo effort.
"I just kind of wanted to go to the front," said Matter.
"I just let the skills take over and started having fun. Too much fun,
maybe, because I burped a tire in the second lap and had to be careful after
Matter was riding a Trek Top Fuel as usual, but not his own bike.
In fact, he borrowed his wife Andrea's bike for the race at Iola.
riding the boss's bike," joked Matter. "I had to change my tires
Friday because they were worn from Arizona, and on race day I was a little
nervous about them holding pressure. So, I figured this bike was ready to go,
and the small size was good for handling skills."
Matter cruised in for
the win at 1:35:36. Behind him, Shriver was chasing hard and overtook
Lalonde for 2nd in 1:36:29. Lalonde (1:36:59), who took third in his
return to WORS after a break from competition of nearly two years, held off
relative newcomer Isaac Neff (1:37:52). Nathan Guerra (1:38:17) rounded
out the podium in fifth place by edging out Mike Phillips (1:38:26) in the
women's race, Strigel was untouchable at 1:29:52. Adventure 212 teammates
Lisa Krayer (1:33:37), Diana McFadden (1:35:07), Michelle Peariso (1:37:23) and
Sarah Agena-Wright (1:38:10) rounded out the women's podium in 2nd through 5th
Despite the downpour, the Iola Bump & Jump was well-attended by
WORS Series racers. WORS has declared 2012 "The Year of the
Junior" in support of youth competition in the Upper Midwest, and welcomed
a large starting field of younger racers of all ability levels at Iola. A
new women’s Open was also well attended, with some competitors new to the
Series riding well within the Elite field. The Series will race again in
two weeks outside Rhinelander at the Crystal Lake Classic, where Brian Matter,
a coach with MomentumEndurance LLC, will be leading a special Expert level
Learn to Race Clinic.