Written By : Chris. Schotz
Photos By : Jordan Schotz
The rugged and challenging, underdown mountain bike trail system in Lincoln County was the chosen venue for the Snowbound in the Underdown – Race #6 in the 9:Zero:7 Wisconsin State Fat Bike Race Series. The solo race was run on a six mile ribbon of snowshoe trail, that led riders over tough hills, bogs, and one lake. The race course to Dog Lake was hard packed and fast, with a sugar surface that led to a lot of drifting and several snow angels. The longer loop to Mist Lake and the mile long bog hop past Ambush Island was impassable this weekend, but the Bumpy Bog approaching the race finish had been transformed into a fun pump track for racers to negotiate with ear to ear grins.
Justin Piontek finished the solo race in 40:53 followed by Scott and Shane Veldhuizen. Steve Engel was the top local finisher at 45:35. Experienced Underdown riders Jen Barden (48:35) and Beth Wagner (55:55) led the women’s field. All agreed that the course was tough, but really fun and unique. Plans are in the works to take the edge off some of the run-ups for next year and that should help the Underdown become one of the best snow-bike race courses in Wisconsin.
Six teams stuck around for the 3-hour relay on a tough 2-mile inner loop. Piontek’s team got off to an early lead until he broke a chain early in his second lap. A battle between 2 brothers and 3 locals soon developed. The race was even after 5 laps as the climbs began to deteriorate and the legs began to burn. The Velhuizens stretched their lead to a handful of minutes over the locals, as riders adjusted to the ruts that opened up on the switchback downhills. At times like that there are no pretty lines. It’s OK to lock it up and chuff up the snow base. It will melt in a month anyway. The rollers and turns were still exciting and fast as the brothers finished their 12th lap at 2:54, just 2 minutes ahead of the local boys.
Next year, will be even better!
For more Photos from Jordan, visit – www.seenbyjordan.com
Race Web-Page – http://thunderdown12.blogspot.com/
Series Web-Site – www.fat-bikeracing.com