October 10, 2005
Well-traveled rider wins on home course
National standout Schouten dominates Expert Class race
By Adam Thompson
Sheboygan Press staff
Thanks to his trusty ride, Tristan Schouten has seen the world.
The 22-year-old Sheboygan native, one of the top young cyclists in the nation, has competed throughout the U.S. and beyond.
In two weeks Schouten heads to Boston for a two-day Cyclecross event. Next month he travels to Michigan for another race before calling it a busy summer season.
Of course, therein lies one of the chief reasons Schouten wanted to win the Expert Class race during Sunday’s Wigwam/Ultimax Mountain Bike Challenge, held at Quarryview Park.
“I have to pay bills from racing all season,” said Schouten.
Add to it that this race is on Schouten’s hometown course, and that’s all the motivation he needed.
Schouten hit lapped competition on the fourth of the five-lap race and cruised to the $1,700 first prize.
Early on it appeared the Expert race would come down to four competitors, and it did.
Schouten, along with Sheboygan’s Brian Matter, and Jeff Hall and Doug Swanson, both of Minnesota, got out front fast. But eventually, Schouten distanced himself and won the event going away.
Swanson, who won the Expert race last year, finished second, followed by Hall and Matter.
By taking third, Hall won the overall points championship in the Wisconsin Off Road Series. The Sheboygan event is the 12th and final race in the series. Hall won six of the nine races he entered.
Matter, who won the points title last year and finished second in 2003, finishes second in the championship.
“It was hard. Definitely hard,” said Matter of Sunday’s 25-mile race. “Tristan won because he had the most motivation out here today. And he was able to capitalize on ‘The Equalizer.’ ”
The aptly named ‘Equalizer’ is essentially a cliff that riders must climb or, in most cases, get off their bike and walk.
The slope is so steep riders actually are awarded a $5 bill at the top if they can make it without dismounting.
Race organizer Rob Boldt said of the nearly 1,000 riders and thousands of laps raced, ‘The Equalizer’ was conquered fewer than 30 times all day. Schouten accounted for five of those.
“You need a ladder,” said Boldt of the imposing climb.
“On ‘The Equalizer’ I got huge gaps on everyone, about 40 feet each time,” said Schouten. “It’s just a balancing act. You have to keep the back wheel down. I’ve got good tires, a good bike.”
As soon as Schouten emerged from the trees and into the final straightaway, he raised both hands in jubilation and crossed the finish line, wearing a big smile.
Schouten, who made sure to thank his sponsors, Wigwam, Trek Volkswagen and Tom’s of Wisconsin, and Fat Kats for running the race, has enjoyed his season as it draws to a close.
“I did a lot of racing, and I’ve been a lot more consistent than last year,” said Schouten.
While the big bulk of the prize money will go toward bills, he did admit he will set aside a little bit for something else.
“I’ll probably buy something for my girlfriend,” he said.
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