November 18, 2017 (Indianapolis, Ind.) – Neither cold, nor lightning, nor torrential rain would stay these athletes from the completion of the first day of the 2017 Major Taylor ‘Cross Cup at the Indy Cycloplex in Indianapolis. Epic weather was the story of the day.
After some heavy storms and strong winds, there were many rain delays in Indianapolis, which hosted a second year of UCI cyclocross events with points on the line for juniors and elite riders for USA Cycling’s Professional Cyclocross Calendar (ProCX). Riders scurried to their cars for cover midday and waited to hear word that the races would continue after severe storms ripped through central Indiana.
In the Elite Women Category 2 race, 16-year-old Katie Clouse (Alpha Bicycle Co.-Groove Subaru) of Littleton, Colo. took the holeshot and stayed in the front of the pack for the majority of the race. A gap was created early by the top three riders, with Clouse setting the pace with local-favorite Emma Swartz (Marian University Cycling Team) and Sunny Gilbert (Van Dessel Factory Team) of Ballwin, Mo.
It came down to the barriers near the finishing stretch. Gilbert had a clean mount while Clouse seemed to have missed a pedal. Gilbert rode onto the pavement to capture her second ProCX win of the year. Clouse was only one second back, for her third podium of the year. Swartz finished out the podium in third.
“Well, it was muddy, and there were some off cambers that were challenging and technical,” said Gilbert. “The pre-ride didn’t really do too much for me. The course changed so much after that torrential downpour. A lot of times I got off the bike without being forced to, but is was a lot of fun. Being able to change the lead back and forth with Katie, and really mix it up with her was a lot of fun.”
Gilbert said she has fun in these conditions, which may provide a little edge in the rain and mud. “You spend more time with your equipment, and thinking about what’s the tire pressure, what kind of tires (to use). In the end, you just get out there and ride the best you can,” said Gilbert about the rain and wind and more rain. “I enjoy these conditions, which makes me maybe a little of a gluton for punishment.”
The Junior 17-18 Men started minutes after the women, making for a chaotic race. Connecticut-native Lane Maher (Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team)m established his lead early and passed the entire women’s field for his third win of the ProCX season.
“The beginning was a little chaotic with the (weather) delays. At the start line I was definitely cold. The legs didn’t feel too great the first half lap,” said Maher, who sits third overall in the ProCX standings for Juniors 17-18.“About half way through the first lap I attacked and the legs opened up. I just kept pushing and got into my own rhythm. I perform better when it is a little colder and when the conditions are pretty heavy. So today was good. Once I got warmed up, I was going good.”
He was pushed from behind by Sam Noel (Cannondale P/B Cyclocrossworld Devo Team) of Shelburne, Vt. and Canadian Tyler Clark (Kms Cycling – Killington Mountain School). The two juniors fought for the final two spots on the podium, with Noel opening a small gap to secure second. Clark was third.
“From the start it was a bit weird, because of all the delays. This course was so muddy, you want a chance to pick your own line,” Hecht said. “I got the holeshot, luckily, and I was super happy about that. There were a few times throughout the race that I crashed. I was picking myself up quite often. I was definitely loosing concentration the last few laps, I think I was tired. And it was getting dark. Luckily I had a buffer to keep me (in front).”
About half way through the race it was evident that Eric Thompson (M Speed Wax) and Michael van den Ham (Garneau – Easton Cycling P/B Transitions)would battle for second place. The two men were back and forth all race, but Thompson was able to create a slight gap coming into the final stretch of pavement and secure eight seconds at the line over the newly-crowned Canadian National Champion, van den Ham.
Hecht was glad to get his third ProCX win in the books. “It was a great day,” he added. “The Alpha guys in the pit were helping to keep the Donnelly tires clear of mud. I was trying to pit as much as possible, so pretty much every half lap I was trying to come into the pit. A few times I didn’t. You just get a lighter bike out of it. So if you can shed a pound or two, that was definitely a huge help.”
Racing in Indianapolis, Ind. will return Sunday at the Indy Cycloplex for final day of the Major Taylor ‘Cross Cup. Cyclocross racers will again compete for points regionally in the Ohio Valley Cyclocross (OVCX) Series and nationally on the USA Cycling Professional Cyclocross (ProCX) calendar. Sunny skies will be welcome with temperatures expected in the mid 30’s. Spectators will enjoy a festival atmosphere with food trucks, beer tents, and more.
1. Lane Maher (USA) Hot Tubes Development Cycling 28:33
2. Sam Noel (USA) Cannondale P/B Cyclocrossworld 0:49
3. Tyler Clark (Can) KMS Cycling – Killington Mountain 1:04
4. Dylan Kerr (Can) Angry Johnny’S Evolution P/B Norco 1:22
5. Gregory Gunsalus (USA) Ap Junior Development P/B Corner 1:52
6. Colton Woods (Can) Trek Store Cc 3:21
7. Torin Bickmore (USA) Boulder Junior Cycling 3:32
8. Nathan Knowles (USA) All Spoked Up 3:39
9. Thomas Francisco (USA) Papa John’S Racing Team 3:47
10. Camden Brooks (USA) Hands-On Cycling P/B Guerciotti 3:52
1. Gage Hecht (USA) Alpha Bicycle Company – Groove 57:30
2. Eric Thompson (USA) M Speed Wax 0:41
3. Michael van den Ham (Can) Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions Lifecare 0:49
4. Travis Livermon (USA) Maxxis/Shimano 2:18
5. Allen Krughoff (USA) Krughoff Racing 2:18
6. Kevin Bradford-Parish (USA) Gillespie Eye Care/Setcoaching/ 3:24
7. Merwin Davis (USA) Cycle-Smart Inc. 4:02
8. Andrew Dillman (USA) Think Green 4:24
9. Caleb Swartz (USA) Marian University Cycling Team 4:44
10. Isaac Niles (Can) Garneau-Easton p/b Transitions Lifecare 6:20
12. Brody Sanderson (Can) Centurion Next Wave 7:30