Corey Stelljes of Madison realized a life-long dream when he won the 34th Chequamegon 40 in Cable on Saturday. Stelljes finished at 2:05:15. He was followed by Brian Matter of Sheboygan at 2:05:30, and Michael Olheiser of Huntsville, AL at 2:05:32.
“To win this has been the only thing I’ve wanted since I was young,” 35-year-old Stelljes said. “To me, it’s always been the only mountain bike race that existed and I always dreamed that someday I might win. I spent every ounce I had today and I’m extremely happy.”
Olheiser, who has secured a variety of impressive finishes through the years ranging from second to 11th, said he was happy with his finish. “I’m not surprised,” he said. “I’ve yet to win even though I come close. I feel happy with my finish though. It was an awesome, muddy race.”
Samuel Elson, who won the Short & Fat last year, moved over to the 40 this year and came in fourth.
In the women’s 40, Abby Krawczyk of Saint Paul crossed the line first at 2:27:32 riding on a borrowed bike, and completing only her second mountain bike race ever. Krawczyk rode second to Sara Kylander-Johnson (2006 champ) for most of the race, until Kylander-Johnson flatted at the 34-mile mark. Jill Cederholm of Saint Paul followed Krawczyk in second place at 2:31:30, and Corey Coogan Cisek came in third at 2:31:46.
“I’m happy I won, but not happy with how I won,” Krawczyk said. “SKJ (Kylander-Johnson) had the race until she flatted. I just got lucky.”
In the Short & Fat men’s race, Bjorn Larson of Duluth finished first at 51:52:07, followed by Calvin Sandberg of Prior Lake at 52:09:66, and Adam Altmann of Chippewa Falls at 52:12:34. In the women’s Short & Fat, Rebecca Ireland of Minneapolis won with a time of 1:00:46, followed by Hayward’s Kyra Jackson at 1:00:52 and Hanna Mork of Wausau at 1:01:12.
A total of 3,100 riders participated in the festival, including a sold-out field of 2,100 riders in the Chequamegon 40, which started on Main Street in Hayward and finished at Mt. Telemark. Another 1,000 riders started at the same time in downtown Cable and raced 16 miles in the Short & Fat, which also finished at Telemark.