by Joe Bellante
INDIANAPOLIS – With a biting wind and temperatures that didn’t make it past the mid 20s, wins by Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld) and Andrew Dillman (Marian University) capped off a frozen day of Zipp OVCX Series racing presented by Mathew’s Bicycles and Sun King Brewing at the home of Marian University and the Major Taylor Velodrome.
While the bright sunshine made for a slick top layer thaw in the early races, the course tacked up just in time for the elite races in the park surrounding the velodrome. It was a two-headed monster, with half the course on a mucky, lower, flat grassy area and the other on a treacherously steep and challenging, off-camber, tree-filled hillside high above the stadium bleachers. With two steep climbs and switch-backed descents, stretching the field out early was key to winning
She was gone from the start. Through the boggy flats, Antonneau, flying the collegiate colors of Marian University, strung it out and snapped the rubber band as she lead the group through the paved start/finish area in front of the velodrome. Antonneau continue d to pad her lead until she crossed the finish line for the win. Behind, Chloe Dygert (Midwest Devo) and Coryn Rivera (Marian University) scrummed for the last two steps of the podium. “I was so excited to get to race with the Marian girls. Kaitie took off and destroyed the field,” said Dygert post-race. “On my second lap, I was losing Coryn and my chain fell off on the hill.” While Rivera staged a good late race comeback to challenge, Dygert used her impressive kick to seal up second place.
The boys from Marian University put on a show in their backyard venue. Drew Dillman and Josh Johnson, Marian University teammates, gave the OVCX Elite Men a one-two punch that no one could answer. “It’s always a pleasure hosting and racing on the home ‘cross course at the Indy Cycloplex,” said Johnson. Dillman added another perk, “to be able to sleep in your own bed and change in your room before a race without having to pack up the car.”
With a holeshot prime, Dillman wasted no time. Like Antonneau he drilled it into the first turn. When the group hit the pavement heading toward the steep hillside and tighter terrain, Dillman gapped the group for good. Behind, and tearing up the first steep climb off the pavement, teammate Johnson had his hands full with a loose group featuring Eric Anderson (Zipp Factory Team), Lindenwood Cycling teammates Casey Hildebrandt and Luke Haley and the Bob’s Red Mill/Sophisticated Living duo of Ian McShane and Spencer Petrov.
“I … had a lead on the pack at first but then pulled my pedal and Petrov got by me,” said Dillman after the race. “Spencer Petrov and Ian McShane led for the first few turns and I was impressed to see them fighting right there with me.”
As soon as he saw Dillman with a sizeable gap, Johnson set to work splitting up the chase. “I ended up creating a gap from the group of five to six, and rode chasing solo in second the remainder of the race,” said Johnson after the race. Anderson, meanwhile, took advantage of attacks and lulls between the Lindenwood and Bob’s Red Mill teammates to eventually get clear of Hildebrandt for third with two laps to go.
After a break for Thanksgiving, Zipp OVCX Series racing returns Sunday , December 8 for the Commonwealth Eye Surgery/Cranksworks Promotion Cross Race in Lexington, Kwntucky.
In its 10th anniversary season, the Zipp OVCX Series, including the MudFund Derby City Cup and Cincy3 UCI weekends and a date of Cross After Dark, will continue its focus on maximizing the growth of regional cyclocross through great courses, competitive fields, and good times. Find the complete schedule and registration links online at OVCX.com.
OVCX Indianapolis, Major Taylor Velodrome Photo Gallery: