After attending the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge event at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, with Subaru Road Racing Team (read the journal entry "Welcome to Wisconsin -- Part One" here), my daughter, Madalyn, and I headed to Wautoma, Wisconsin, to see the Subaru Trek Mountain Bike Team competing in the Subaru Cup.
We readily found the pro area, where the Subaru Trek team tent was located, and we explored the loop through the trees that the racers would be riding for the Impreza Short Track races. After that we sat on a blanket and had lunch as we watched the amateurs race. After one rider fell, I explained that mountain-bike racing was just like auto racing, but bike riders have little for protection in an accident. Also, it's normal for experienced riders to fall off and scrape knees and elbows, just like kids do.
Madalyn shadowed me in the woods. As the women took to the course for their 18-plus-minute race, Madalyn decided to write down the Subaru Trek riders’ positions on each lap. They had gained another young fan.
Subaru teammates Emily Batty and Heather Irmiger moved to the front of the pack and stuck to the leader for most of the race, finishing third and fourth, respectively. In the previous day's cross-country race, Batty had finished second and Irmiger had grabbed another fourth-place finish.
As the men took to the course for their 21-plus-minute race, Madalyn began to chronicle the lap positions of the Subaru Trek men, too. But she quickly abandoned that to take photos and videos with my cell phone. Here is her best photo.
Subaru Trek riders Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Sam Schultz stayed in the front pack the whole race, leading at various times. The outcome: Horgan-Kobelski finished second, with Schultz in sixth and Russell Finsterwald in twenty-fifth. Each of these Subaru riders improved his performance from the previous day, when they placed eighth, fifteenth, and thirtieth, respectively, in the cross-country race. Last year, Schultz won the cross-country race at this event.
After the race, we spent some time with the Subaru Trek pro team. The riders explained how their bikes are set up differently for each rider and how they wear different shoes for racing a mountain bike. (We even saw that team member Sam Schultz has his name on his shoes.)
Our new friends on the team sent us home with a poster signed by all the Subaru Trek riders. We also took home signed bike numbers from Sam Schultz and Emily Batty.
View more images from the Subaru Cup here.
Read “Inside an Athlete's Mind,” featuring Sam Schultz, in Summer 2011 Drive here.
-- Melissa Carlson