|And power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth|
If earlier this year I flirted with mountain biking, then today I’m in full stalker mode. I’ve got pictures of it on paper and on my computer, I know who its friends are, I know where it hangs out, and now I know its schedule.
Last night the Wisconsin Endurance Mountain Bike Series—known as “WEMS” instead of “WEMBS” because silent Bs are dumb—announced its 2011 dates. The Wisconsin Off Road Series—known as “WORS” because nothing else would make sense—published its 2011 schedule back on November 9. Now that all of the race dates are available, it’s time to make some plans.
I want racing to become a bigger part of my cycling experience, on-road and off-road. In Wisconsin we’re very fortunate to have two mountain bike series and two road series: Wisport and the WCA’s Wisconsin Cup. But I haven’t yet felt the urge to commit to one of these in pursuit of season-long series points. I would rather pick and choose from them and from the handful of competitive events that don’t fall into these series.
The road schedules aren’t out yet. Of the mountain bike events, these look good to me:
05/28 12 Hours of the Northern Kettles @ Greenbush (WEMS)
06/12 Big Ring Classic @ Wausau (WORS)
06/18 Muir South Kettle Classic @ La Grange (WEMS)
07/24 Alterra Coffee Bean Classic @ Franklin (WORS)
08/07 Battle of Camrock @ Rockdale (WORS)
10/09 Wigwam MTB Challenge @ Sheboygan (WORS)
Sponsored by West Bend-based Team Pedal Moraine, 12 Hours of the Northern Kettles should be a good introduction to mountain bike racing. Because the venue is close to home, I’ll have opportunities to ride the trails in the weeks leading up to the race. There had been some discussion of a WEMS race at New Fane too, but that proposed event didn’t make it onto the final schedule. A race at New Fane would have been a no-brainer for me, as those trails are just 11 miles from home and I will visit them frequently to practice the technical riding skills that currently I don’t possess. Development of those skills will determine where I go with mountain bike racing after May 28.
Unless there are some surprises on the Wisport and WCA schedules, my road racing season won’t really begin until July. I’d like to return to the Wisport race at Omro, a race I’ve done three times in the past. And I’d still like to take a shot at the Ride Across Indiana and Anthem Race the Lake.
As always, we’ll see how much I can afford to do when the time comes. First, there’s the not-insubstantial matter of outfitting myself for mountain biking. And all of these events come with other costs: racing licenses and registrations, state park and trail passes, travel expenses, etc. Right now I like the way the cycling budget looks for 2011, but I’m one major home/auto repair away from being on the sidelines. Best not to think about that …