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Richards racing to the top

Detroit Lakes' 15-year-old Jake Richards won the 16-mile point-to-point race at the nation's largest mountain bike event, called the Chequemegon Fat Tire Festival, held last weekend at Telemark Resort near Cable, Wis.

Richards, a freshman from Callaway, placed first among 845 riders.

The other event, a 40-mile point-to-point race, was won by runner-up world champion cyclocross rider, Jonathon Page of Northfield, N.H., and featured nearly 1,800 riders.

This summer, Richards competed in the Minnesota State Championships series, moving up to the Expert class -- the top level in the state -- near the end of the season at his home course at Maplelag Resort.

He placed in the top 10 among Pro and Semi-Pro racers, which was a National Calendar event race and one of the qualifiers for the 2009 U.S. Mountain Bike Championships, which will be held at Sol Vista Resort in Colorado.

Richards also competed in two races in the Wisconsin Off Road Series, a race in South Dakota and two national events, including the U.S. National Championships at Mt Snow, Vt.

Richards was fifth in that event among the top 15-16 year olds in the country, who had to qualify at select races in order to compete.