Summer has ended and so has most of the formal bike-racing season. 2012 has been a year with some memorable highs for the Subaru Trek Mountain Bike Team: two members making Olympic teams, gold at Pan-Am Games, World Cup top 10s, and two National Champions.
The finale of the Pro XCT six-race series was held in Wautoma, Wisconsin. Coming just a week after the Olympics, at least six Olympic athletes were on teams riding in the Pro XCT, adding to the excitement for participants and spectators.
First onto Mt. Morris were the women for a 20-mile, five-lap race. Heather Irmiger was running solo for the women’s team because Emily Batty was still nursing her broken collarbone. Despite a brush with a tree, Irmiger finished a solid fourth.
The men’s event was a 24-mile, six-lap event. A hard-fought race provided U-23 rider Russell Finsterwald with his first-ever elite podium with his fifth-place finish. In front of him was Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (JHK) with his fourth-place run. Sam Schultz finished 10th after leading the lead lap and feeling under the weather.
The next day the short track race was held. It is a shorter loop featuring smaller climbs, few descents, and a quicker pace.
For the women’s race, it was 18 minutes on course, plus three more laps. Heather hung out in the top three the entire time, letting the leaders do most of the legwork and waiting for the right time to make her move to the front and pull away. In the end, she was victorious.
For the men’s race, it was 20 minutes on course, plus three more laps. Headed into the first climb on the first lap, a clashing of the riders on the transition took out the Subaru Trek riders. Finsterwald came out with a bent wheel and couldn’t continue. JHK then had the entire field quite a way in front of him; but he was up to the challenge, finishing 17th out of 39. He even put on a show for the fans, doing on-demand wheelies.