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KORC mountain bike racers line up for a race on the Whitetail Ridge Trail, where the Border Battle will be held. <i>Submitted photo</i>

Bikers gear up for Border Battle

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sports Ellsworth, 54011
Pierce County Herald
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Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

Tyler Grenzow is biking hard and grooming the trail in preparation for the fourth annual Border Battle Aug. 21 presented by the River Falls Economic Development Corporation.

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The Border Battle is one in a series of state championship off-road bike races for Wisconsin and Minnesota. It takes place each August in River Falls.

The racers in the state championships are scored, and all of the Wisconsin competitors' points and all of the Minnesota competitors' points are totaled. The state with the most points wins a travelling trophy. That is why the race is called the Border Battle.

Grenzow has been competing in the state off-road series, so he said he began training indoors in February, and began biking outside as soon as it was warm enough.

Grenzow is excited for the Border Battle especially because he knows the Whitetail Ridge Trail, where the race takes place, so well.

"You know every corner, you know every lump, and every hill," said Grenzow. "It's always fun to have that home field advantage."

That advantage may come into play at the Border Battle.

Adam Schmidt of Muddy Paws Racing and Border Battle coordinator, said Wisconsin has won the Border Battle trophy the last three straight years. But that isn't the only race at the Border Battle.

There are races for every competitor at the Border Battle, said Schmidt. There's a professional race with a cash prize, and races for beginners to advanced racers. And a kiddie race that Schmidt said his own children like to take part in.

Parents can ride with children on their bikes (if kids are very young).

"If kids are in training wheels," said Schmidt, "usually parents just run alongside them."

Schmidt has worked with the Kinnickinnic Off-Road Cyclists (KORC) to prepare for the Border Battle each year.

KORC is a nonprofit organization that maintains the Whitetail Ridge bike trails on behalf of the city of River Falls.

Grenzow is a member of the organization, and said he and the rest of the group have worked on preparing the trail for the race, trimming trees, cutting away fallen trees, mowing grass, and putting up flags and tape to mark the trails.

Schmidt and KORC organize the event every year, but Schmidt said it wouldn't have been possible without some 40 volunteers.

Racers come from all over Minnesota and Wisconsin, said Schmidt. Some come early and stay in River Falls to get to know the trails they'll be biking on.

Official pre-riding doesn't begin until noon on the day before the race, but people come to town a week or two early and ride Whitetail Ridge's course to get to know it better.

After all the preparation, Schmidt said for him, the best moment is the beginning of a race.

"When you know there's two or three hundred people starting in a race," said Schmidt, "and of course, watching people finish and their excitement about completing a race like that."

The race isn't just for bikers, Schmidt said.

There's a foot race, and people travel to River Falls to watch the race, and Schmidt said all of River Falls is invited to come to the Whitetail Ridge business park and follow the signs toward the race area and watch the race too.

There will be Best Maid cookies for sale and catering by Perkins of River Falls all day long.

Registration for the Border Battle is open online at www.wors.org or Saturday, Aug. 20 from 3-7 p.m. at the racing site in Whitetail Ridge's industrial park, as well beginning 7:30 a.m. Aug. 21 the day of the event.

There is also a free learn to mountain bike race clinic on Aug. 20 from 3-5 p.m. at Whitetail Ridge's trail.

Volunteers help set up the trail, and organize the races, and they get a free lunch from Perkins and a free T-shirt. To volunteer, contact Schmidt at info@muddypawsbike.com.

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Gretta Stark
Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.
(715) 426-1048
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