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Locals help retain Border Battle title

Racers in the Men's Elite division take off from the starting gate at the third annual Border Battle Bike Races Sunday in the field at Whitetail Ridge Corporate Park. Nearly 700 riders took part in the event, which pits racers from the Wisconsin Off Road Series and the Minnesota State Championships Series against each other from bragging rights and a traveling trophy. Wisconsin edged Minnesota by one point to win the trophy for the third straight year. Bob Burrows photo1 / 2
Mud-covered mountain bikes lay scattered on the ground near the finish line at the Border Battle Bike Races Sunday, Aug 8, at Whitetail Ridge Corporate Park. Nearly 700 riders consumed 300 gallons of water, plus another 950 bottles of water and 60 watermelons, after racing in stifling heat and humidity. Bob Burrows photo2 / 2

Nearly 700 riders from Wisconsin and Minnesota took part in the third annual Border Battle Bike Races Sunday, Aug. 8 at Whitetail Ridge Corporate Park, and thanks to a number of River Falls participants, Wisconsin retained bragging rights and the traveling trophy that goes to the winning state.

The event features riders from the Wisconsin Off Road Series against Riders from the Minnesota State Championship Series in a full day of racing in categories ranging from beginner to elite. Wisconsin edged Minnesota by just one point to win the event for the third straight year.

Race organizer Adam Schmidt said a total of 680 riders competed in Sunday's sweltering heat and humidity.

"It was a great event; the hottest race day I have been a part of in 15 years," he said.

River Falls' riders did their part to help Wisconsin retain possession of the traveling trophy.

Chad Sova finished 18th in the 25-mile male Pro Elite race with a time of 1 hour, 57 minutes, 34.1 seconds, while Rick Cleary placed 41st in the 20-mile male open race with a time of 1:50:54.5.

Fred Johnson took second place in the male sport division, completing the 15-mile race in 1:13:56.1, while Eric Weidman was fifth in 1:15:57.5, and Kevin Thum finished 39th in 1:20:43.4. Thomas Baldini placed 69th in 1:23:51.4.

Jim Felling finished 87th in the same race with a time of 1:25:50.8, and Chris Brown was 116th in 1:28:23.3, while Jared Lafave placed 204th in 2:13:41.5.

Schmidt said despite the conditions, there were no heat-related injuries. He said participants went through 300 gallons of water, 950 individual bottles of water, 60 watermelons, five cases of Best Maid cookies and two cases of bananas.

"We are all looking forward to 2011 and another great rematch," he said. "The city of River Falls, and in particular Lanny Gleason's crew, are great to work with."

Schmidt said the city provided picnic tables, garbage barrels and barricades for the event.

"They also prepped the grounds by mowing and gave us use of the property," he added. "It's excellent to have a community support this event, and I hope it continues to bring money into the River Falls area."

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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