The Wild Ride Buzzard Buster was held on trails at Levis Mound in June 2014. / Steve Meurett/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com
NEILLSVILLE — Endurance mountain bike racers descended on Levis Mound this past week for the reiteration of the classic Buzzard Buster mountain bike race. Although WEMS (Wisconsin Endurance Mountainbike Series) has held races at the Levis Mound trail for many years, the old school name made a comeback when the local trail building club (Neillsville Area Trail Association) and friends took over running the race. Levis Mound volunteers hope to use proceeds for funding the trail, purchasing equipment and supplies.
The WEMS series caters to riders who prefer long races-riding (sometimes suffering) for hours on the bike on some of the best trails in the state. Races use a long, medium and short race format in which riders choose 10- to 12-hour, 5- to 6-hour and 2- to 3-hour races ranging from 25 to 100-plus miles.
The series also tends to attract racers who desire smaller starting fields and a less dog eat dog race mentality. It's a long time to be in the saddle, so racers testing themselves tend to be a bit more laid back, yet serious about turning in the best possible times as possible.
This Buzzard Buster at Levis Mound edition featured a course that was 95% singletrack with two climbs to judge ridersí fitness. By dayís end, riders swore more climbs were popping up all over! Each lap measured in at 8.5 miles and in the longest race (10 hours) the winner covered over 100 tough miles.
Racers can ride solo, as duo teams or even on a single speed or fatbike. Top finishers in each category win cash and prizes and their placings go toward series standings throughout the race season. Door prizes, provided by local sponsors, are also handed out to lucky race entrants along with food and beverages for their enjoyment.
By all accounts, the event was a success. Long distance racers had a perfect day to tackle the trails, volunteers provided race services and funds raised for the trail system. Although tired and spent, riders still managed smiles afterward and plenty of stories of the challenges in riding an endurance event at Levis Mound.
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Steve Meurett lives, works and plays in West Central Wisconsin and spends about every free moment outdoors where his passions lie. His outdoor interests take him on and off trail, pursuing mountain biking and skinny skiing, photography and hunting, while keeping an eye on wild mushrooms and the next fruit for craft wine. Steve is the Trail Director at The Levis Mound Trail System and member of the Clark County Trails Advisory Committee. He resides, teaches and is a photographer in Neillsville. Steve can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.