Friday, June 13, 2014


Won't be needing this!

Something out of the ordinary is on my schedule four weeks from today: a Friday bike race. July 11 will be the first day of the 3-day WORS Cup in Portage. I plan to compete in the short track cross country (STXC) race at 5:50 p.m.—an unusual race at an unusual time. I expect a small turnout on what for most people will be a normal workday. For me it will be a vacation day and I will arrive early enough to preview not just the STXC course, but also the long course for the cross country race on Sunday, July 13.

If I’m not mistaken, the WORS Cup STXC race will be the only sanctioned STXC race in Wisconsin this year. The format is not for everyone. STXC is basically a mountain bike criterium on a grass and dirt course. Riders complete multiple laps in a spectator-friendly environment that has little in common with the lonely miles of wooded singletrack that make up a traditional cross country race. STXC is a close cousin of cyclocross, without the dismounts.

And it looks like the WORS Cup will be my next race: I will not go to Wausau this weekend.

To prepare for the WORS Cup, I will add some shorter but more intense workouts to my training plan. Sometimes those workouts will take the form of time trials, but there also may be opportunities to train specifically for STXC. Royal Oaks Park has been a good venue for cyclocross practice, and in the weeks to come I might see if it’s suitable for STXC. Loop 1 at New Fane—though just half a mile around—is another option. And then there’s Pleasant Valley Park, where a mix of turf trails and singletrack could be the right combination. In fact …

For 2015 I am looking into the possibility of a STXC race or even a series of races at Pleasant Valley. These would be properly permitted and insured events held by the Ozaukee County Mountain Bikers. Right now it’s just an idea I am discussing with a couple of the guys but I already have sketched out a course that is similar to the cyclocross practice course I considered last summer.

I wish every WORS weekend included STXC. I would be tempted to do only the STXC races—what great preparation for the cyclocross season! But if STXC comes to Pleasant Valley in 2015, don’t look for it on the WORS calendar. Racing at Pleasant Valley would be on a smaller scale … probably something just for the locals, and that’s OK.

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