Thursday, June 1, 2017

Venue Change For The WORS Cup

Yesterday the Wisconsin Off-Road Series announced a venue change for its signature event, the WORS Cup. Originally scheduled for Cascade Mountain in Portage, the 3-day event now will be held at Alpine Valley near Elkhorn. This is a big deal. A decade ago, Alpine Valley was part of the WORS family. Then it dropped off the radar for a while. But within the last few years, new trails at the resort have attracted a lot of riders and a lot of praise. Racing returned in 2015 with an 18-hour Wisconsin Endurance Mountain Bike Series event. UW-Whitewater hosted a collegiate race weekend at Alpine Valley last September. Now WORS is back, and I expect great things.

Cascade Mountain wasn’t a bad location. It was close to Madison and its proximity to I-94 made it an easy destination for racers from Milwaukee, Chicago, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. But I think Alpine Valley has bigger potential. It’s much more fun to ride there. And even though the WORS Cup doubles as the USA Cycling Midwest Regional Championships, its competitors are mostly a Milwaukee-Madison-Chicago crowd. Compared to Cascade Mountain, Alpine Valley is closer to more population.

And closer to me! Traveling from home to attend the pre-ride on Friday, July 7, I will save about 30 minutes. Those are precious minutes for a guy who has to work overnight. On Saturday the 8th, the time savings will really add up. When my work day ends in Brookfield at 7 a.m., I will be just 31 miles from Alpine Valley. With 4 hours at my disposal before the race begins, I can stop somewhere for breakfast, reach the race venue without stress, and warm up as much as I want. If I had to be at Cascade Mountain by 11 a.m., then I would be facing a 97-mile drive. That would be achievable, of course, but a bigger expenditure of effort on something that doesn’t contribute to my race performance. Even on Sunday, the least time-crunched day, the venue change helps me. The STXC race begins early: 9 a.m. Because it’s at Alpine Valley and not at Cascade Mountain, I can sleep for an extra half hour.

The venue change also helps me because I already have raced at Alpine Valley this season. I didn’t get an especially good result in the WEMS race on May 13, but I built some confidence on the trails. At Cascade Mountain I would have been starting from scratch on unfamiliar ground. Yesterday’s announcement was nothing but good news for me!

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