Sunday, August 24, 2008

Red Hawks Persevere in First Race Outing

The Ripon cycling team traveled to River Falls, Wis., for the Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS) Border Battle and returned home with a second-place medal and some hard-earned race experience.

Christa Kussmann took second place in the 19-24 women’s age group in the citizen division. In her first race ever, Christa toughed out two laps on the nearly 5-mile course with a time just exceeding 1 hour and 30 minutes. The course at Whitetail Ridge was a technical and challenging course even for advanced racers. The fact that Christa endured to the finish is a testament to her spirit and determination.

Bryan Nell finished just 45 seconds behind the fourth-place finisher in the men’s 19-24 category for a solid fifth place. Bryan was the highest placing Ripon male in the citizen division at 56th overall with a time of 56 minutes and 43 seconds. Jonathan Paretsky finished in ninth place in the same age group with a time just eclipsing 1 hour, while Steven Siewert brought up the rear in 1 hour and 23 minutes.

None of these young men have raced on a mountain bike course, let alone one as challenging as the one at Whitetail Ridge. Steven just picked his bike up from the shop on Thursday. His pre-ride on Saturday was his first ever ride on a mountain bike trail. He took a few spills, but he did not quit.

Tiffany Seering competed in the sport category. Based on her excellent showing in the citizen category at Crystal Ridge, I elected to test Tiffany in the sport class. An upset stomach and the agonizing back pain caused by an unfortunate crash sabotaged her sport debut. Still, like her teammates, she persevered. She finished three laps in 1 hour and 35 minutes — good enough for 27th place overall.

As a precaution, on-site paramedics took Tiffany to the hospital following her race. There was some concern that she may have seriously injured her lower back, but the doctor suspects it is only a sprain. She’s a former rugby player and a tough girl. It is amazing that she was able to finish the race.

Cameron Arndt experienced his own setbacks in the men’s sport Clydesdale division. Cameron broke his chain and had a flat tire, but like his teammates did not call it a day. The senior from Madison, Wis., repaired both and recorded a time just short of 2 hours to cross the line in last place.

We had three racers finish last in their divisions, but the fact that they finished at all is inspiring. This was their first big test against some stiff competition. They showed guts and enthusiasm, and they all came away with smiles on their faces.

The team also came away with some much needed race experience that should benefit them this weekend when we head to Columbia, Mo., for our first intercollegiate race. Ripon will compete against teams from other colleges and universities in the seven-state Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 30-31 in races hosted by the University of Missouri-Columbia.

1 comment:

Bonn Jon said...

Go hawks :)
go perserverence...
what doesn't kill us only makes us stranger.

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