Monday, December 13, 2010

CX Nationals/Riders Waving the Flag Across the Board

Even though the mountain bike season is distant memory with the trails being buried in beautiful snow, team members are waving the flag nicely across the country. The big news last weekend was the podium finishes by Eric Thompson at Cyclocross Nationals in Oregon. Eric's dad John recaps and also links to the press below.

Eric digging hard in the U23 race. ( photo)
In the U23 race he placed 4th and this was after he crashed on the last half lap of the race. It was unbelievable seeing him up there with the top U23 riders in the country, and he looked very comfortable doing it. At one point about three quarters of the way through the race he attacked Jerome Townsend and opened up nearly a 10 second gap! I thought he had 3rd place in the bag, but Jerome clawed his way back and the two of them rode together for the rest of the race until Eric's crash with a half lap to go. This was without a doubt a breakthrough race for Eric.
The collegiate race was even more exciting. Zach McDonald and Eric quickly separated themselves from the field and by the midway point probably had 30 to 40 seconds on everyone else. Again Eric looked very comfortable at the frenetic pace, but unfortunately at two laps to go, Eric snapped his derailleur off in a deep mud puddle and had to run a third of a lap to the pit where I had his second bike waiting. He chased hard to the roar of the crowd and finished in 5th place, the last podium spot. As a bonus he had a lengthy interview in front of the large crowd and helped his college team (Lees McRae College) win the overall national title. This was a weekend to remember!

Cyclingnews coverage
Cyclingdirt coverage
Article on Yahoo Sports

The ski season kicked off in the Midwest with the Wolverine Challenge in Ironwood, MI. The races are part of the qualifiers for Junior Olympic Nationals which will be held in Minneapolis in March of 2010. Jake Richards competed in the J1 division, finishing 9th in the skate race and 17th in the classic race among the top j1 skiers in the Midwest. Coverage on (Scroll down to Wolverine-JOQ)
Speed-skating isn't a sport that gets a lot of coverage in the Midwest which is interesting when you consider there are over 10,000 lakes in Minnesota. Obviously a lot of kids who skate, play hockey. Eric Oftedahl is part of a close knit group of speedskaters out of the Twin Cities who trains and races on the ovals in the metro and other cities in the Midwest. Eric is above showing great form and waving the flag about as good as you can get.

This past weekend at Maplelag we had a high school ski camp and Maplelag teamer Kyia Anderson and her husband Kris, helped out with ski clinics working with the Bloomington Jefferson team. Thanks guys!

Thanks to all team members for representing team Maplelag in various activities. Keep the wheels moving!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

State MN CX/ UCI Racing

Hard to think about bike racing when winter is full on here at Maplelag but a few results to note as of late.

Steve and Matt Wenzel along with Matt Engen, competed in the MN State CX Championships a few weekends ago. Conditions were truly epic with 8 inches of snow falling the day and during the races. Read Steve's report.

Eric Thompson continues to wave the flag in southeast united states, competing in UCI races and scoring important UCI points. John Thompson reports:
Eric had a great race today finishing 5th despite crashing over the handlebars after Marco LaLonde went down in front of him (someone crashed in front of Marco starting the chain reaction). Eric is OK. What's impressive is that Eric fell back to about 15th place after the crash but chased hard through the field and rejoined the leaders (Matter, Frattini, etc.) for the final sprint. With the 5th place finish he earned valuable UCI points for call up at U23 Nats in a few weeks.

Check out the article in Cycling News.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

North Carolina State CX Champion!

Team member Eric Thompson raced in the North Carolina State Championships and won the Pro/1/2 Class. Congrats Eric!!

Eric giving chase.
Check out the article in North Carolina Cycling News.

Eric and Sam Oftedahl picked up the poster on behalf of the Elite Class win in the MNMBS 1st Place honors. Great job again to all team members on a excellent season in the MNMBS!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall Riding

Even though the mountain bike race season is completed for the year, the riding has been incredible the month of October. The Laddies Loppet course is in excellent condition and has seen good rider traffic this Fall. All the leaves were blown off the course after the leaves came down and the ski trail segments cleared as well. We completed the new mountain bike singletrack trail by Twin Lakes and riding has been awesome. Check out the Maplelag website for more information about this trail.

Team member Denny Barry with friends Thad and Terry after a outing on the trails Friday afternoon. Incredible riding weather with sunshine, calm conditions and upper 50's.

Jake riding on the new Twin lakes singletrack.

Keep the wheels moving!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cross Season

The Cyclocross season is in full swing. A handful of team riders have been hitting the races with Sam Oftedahl posting a top 5 finish at the Wirth Classic last weekend.

(Sam floating through the mud with ease as riders struggled with the challenging, more mtb type course)

Team rider Lars Ellefson, out in Durango, CO gearing up for the ski season, raced in the Wells Bro cx race in Durango and filed a report:

A great day to be on the bike! Jack Hinkens and I headed up to Durango Mountain Resort at 9000ft to get our suffer on at the Wells Bros CX Race.
Todd had set up a sweet and challenging course with stairs, bridges, a good climb and some fast descents.
The mood was pretty layed back at the start which was nice, I still felt a little pressure since I looked so fast rocking my new Maplelag skinsuit!
Anyway, Jack took the holeshot and set a pretty good pace off the start.... I decided not to bury myself as i've found out this is not smart racing so high up! I was on my mountain bike and it was actually okay out there! there was a rough, rooty rocky section at the top of the climb and I could get through it a lot faster then on a cross bike! By the 3rd lap I had passed Dylan Stucki who had a flat and was running for a new wheel. And the by the 5th lap I had passed Andrew Llewellyn who also had flatted. I was suffering out there and 50 minutes seemed to drag on. There was pretty good crowd and Troy was announcing and getting everyone pumped. Flats were a major problem as about 2/3 through the race I went by Jack who was out with a bad luck flat. I was pretty much alone the last 3 laps and barely made it but finished on the lead lap. Todd was flying so I felt pretty good about not getting lapped. It was fun local race with some good competition and a great workout! Top three were Todd Wells, Matt Shriver, Brenden Schafer. I believe I endend up 6th in the A class. On the way down Jack and I had the idea to go jump cascade falls. Well it's been a month since we did it and it WAS SO COLD! I won't forget the look on Jack's face. Good recovery, and a good day.

Has been an incredible month of dry weather. Here at Maplelag we completed the new singletrack loop by Twin Lakes. The trail is open for riding and riders are welcome to help buff in the course. Get those Fall rides in before deer hunting and the snow flies!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Racing in Cloud Town-Singletrack Escape and PorkChop Challenge

Most of the team members wrapped up the mountain bike race season this past weekend hitting the final race in the MNMTB Series, the Singletrack Escape at the Jail Trail in St Cloud. The race was put on by the Mid Min Cycling Club under the strong leadership of Kris and Kyia Anderson, Maplelag supported athletes. Kyia retired this year and had a retirement party on Saturday that was attended by Jake.
The Elite class had its best showing ever on the year three riders in the top 10. Sam Oftedahl took the win and his brother Eric scored second. Jake Richards was 6th overall after running in the top three until the last lap. With the strong showing, the Elite class took top honors not only on the day but also the overall title after the 11 race series. Overall the entire time finished 5th. Congrats to all team members on a very fine season.

Denny Barry racing Sport.
Jeff Beck racing Sport at St Cloud.
Sunday was the Pork Chop challenged at Riverside Park in St. Cloud. Jake raced in Cat 3 and took the race after a back and forth battle with Merrill Lutsky.

Steve Wenzel was racing in Canada at the Swamp Donkey (check on the right side for recap from this race) and Matt Engen participated (along with Steve) in the Red River Bicycle festival at Johnson Park in Moorhead. The team supported the event.

Lots of great riding yet this fall. The new singletrack at Maplelag is nearly complete. Check back next week for the latest report.

Keep the wheels moving!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chequemegon Fat Tire Festival

The team was represented nicely at the Chequemegon Fat Tire Festival in Cable-Hayward-Telemark Wisconsin last weekend. Steve Wenzel and Denny Barry rolling down at the 40 start.

Sunday Funday was dominated by the Maplelag/Paramount team with a 2nd, 3rd and 4th finish in the Crit Cross Final and 1st place by Trent Warner in the Crit Consolation. The team also did well in the fun events displaying the true character of the team. Awesome stuff.

Jake Richards threepeating in the short and fat.
Steve Wenzel in the crit cross.
Trent Warner en route to a first place in the Crit Cross Consolation. Team members were the only ones to ride the stairs!
Casey Hildenbrandt on Sunday. Casey placed a solid 6th place finish in the short and fat and will be a contender next year for sure. Casey sent a nice note, recapping the weekend:
As we dropped dad off for the 40, I got dropped off at the start of my race. I hung out with the awesome Maplelag team and family before the start, and headed to the line. Matt Weik, saw an opening right behind the preferred starts, and got me a spot up there. I still had some work to do to get up to the front group. I went far outside and put my head down to get up there. After a while I was starting to feel good. Just as I started to feel better, we hit the Birkie trail and teammate Jake nailed it and launched a perfect attack. Pushed the rest of the race chasing down 2nd and 3rd, but didn't catch them with a mistake on a corner. Came in 6th on the day for my first short and fat. I was so glad Jake got the win. Congrats to him and everyone else who participated. I packed up and headed back to the hotel after dad finished with a top 60 after taking a nice digger and losing the chase group. We headed back for awards after we got to the hotel, and then sunday came around. I was interested to see what the crit cross would bring... It brought some awesome fun! Dad and I got to qualify together which was nice and pretty fun. Then Jake, Matt, and I headed over to do the hill climb..which worked as a good warm up for the crit cross. I came in 4th in the crit cross when it was said and done. Then it was over to do the rest of the sunday funday events. Jake killed the bunnyhop clearing 26", and also won the hill climb. Matt won the balance beam ride. I won the slow race with the bag of sand on the handlebar. An awesome weekend, right up there with the subaru cup! Definately will be heading up next year, with bigger and better goals.. Fun racing with everyone including Matt, Jake, Jack, Steve, Dad, and Hollywood. Shout out to Jay, the Richards and Wenzel family, and to everyone else for your support and encouragement. I couldn't ask for a better team! Maplelag is awesome!!!

Steve with Matt Engen after the 40 finish. Matt has done 23 consecutive 40s!! Matt and Jay rode on the Cheap team back in the 90's.
Matt Wenzel on Sunday. Matt pushed the pace in solid fashion on Sunday taking the third spot in Crit Cross.
Jens doing the hill climb on Sunday.

Denny Barry all smiles after competing in the 40 and states:

Fat tire 40 was a hoot - 3:04 last year fell to a 3:21 this year --I finished higher in standings this year but was looking to be sub 3 ...
the mud puddles made it interesting --some more so than others ....... but all GOOD !

Congrats again to all team members. Good luck at the Singletrack Escape in St Cloud the last MN series race of the year. Go get em!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New Mountain Bike Singletrack

The past couple of weeks we have been working on new singletrack over by Twin Lakes. We are just over halfway done. The plan is to have a 20-30 minute loop. The trail is open for riding and hopefully next Spring we will do a Spring Opener race and have one big loop using the existing Laddies Loppet course and the new singletrack for a point to point race lasting 1.5hrs to 2hrs. With ski trails to the west, the potential is to make a longer loop the for now we will keep it short and sweet and see how it goes.

New trail being built by Twin Lakes.
Beautiful scenery along the trails.
Oscar and Seregy from Russia have been helping on the trail.

Last weekend, a few of the team members hooked up for some pre-Chequemegon training and rode the new trails. The trail is starting to get ridden in nicely and set up. A lot of neat features and a nice addition to the trail system. The week after next we will have a couple of trail days if anyone is interested in helping complete the trail. Check back for times and dates. Good luck to all team members racing the mighty Chequemegon this weekend!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Laddies Loppet Mountain Bike Stage Race Weekend

An awesome weekend on the home course racing at the Laddies Loppet Stage race. Super proud of all our team members and my nephews racing waving the flag for the home team. The team won the overall among all other registered teams including a first place finish by the Elite and Sport teams. With one race left in the series, the team sits in fourth place in the omnium with a chance to move up to third after St. Cloud. Nice! The Elite class is holding down first place. Great job once again to everyone. Everyone raced their hearts out with a great attitude to boot. Awesome stuff.

Jens Richards in Kids Comp.
Nephew Grant Horsager in Kids Comp.
Nephew Reagan Garden in Kids Comp.
Wyatt Horner in Kids Comp.
Garrett Horsager in Kids Comp.
Wyatt Horner in Kids Comp.
Jack Richards singing the National Anthem before the start of Sunday's races. Jack rode with...
....cousin Ripley and nephew Ripley in Kids Comp. Nicely done Jackson.
Taylor Horner in Citizen.
Ethan Brekke racing in Citizen, wearing the first Maplelag team jersey from 1993, Team Zizibakawadaboo!!
Jeff Beck in Sport.
Tony Schmitz in Sport.
Denny Barry in Sport.
Jordan and Sport.
Andrea Horner in Sport.
Eric Lebow in Expert.
Corey Coogan Cisek in Expert.
Matt Horner in Comp.
Steve Wenzel in Comp.
Matt Engen in Comp.
Trent Warner in Expert.
Jeremy Dirk in Comp.
Matt Wenzel in Comp.
Jake Richards in Expert.
Sam Oftedahl in Expert.
Eric Oftedahl in Expert.

Keep the wheels moving!!