CINCINNATI, OHIO – The same storm that brought tornado warnings to cyclocross races in Wisconsin blew into Cincinnati this past Sunday afternoon for Gun Club Cross Zipp OVCX Series #4 (p/b Kenda, Enzo’s Cycling Products, DeFeet, and Campus Cyclery) making for a course carpeted in fresh leaves and a layer of slickness in both the Women’s and Men’s Elite Races. An experienced mountain biker, Teri Meek (Don Walker Cycles Racing), kept it upright over the mud soaked clay pigeons and spent shells and took the Women’s win while Robert Kendall (Papa John’s Racing) railed it from the sound of the shotgun to the last trip through the double sand pit and over the Hungry Hump Flyover p/b DeFeet. Next up, OVCX heads to Bloomington, Indiana, home of the Little 500, for BloomingCross Sunday, October 21st.
A tragic domino-effect crash at the start of the Cat 4 race (You Tube Video Here) sent one rider to the emergency room with a gash in his knee early in the day. Still, as the marching band drums pounded and texted heckles were broadcast through the speakers of the HeckleOnline.comHeckle Ghoul at the top of the switchback, the mood of the more than 500 registered racers remained upbeat till the winds whipped up and the rain moved in. Elite racers dug deep in their bags for rain jackets and second guessed tires and pressure.
While losing a few fast guys to USGP this week, the Elite Men’s field remained 53 strong and Robert Kendall (Papa John’s Racing) got it right from the shotgun, leaving a rash of washouts and mechanical issues in his wake. According to Luke Haley (Bob’s Red Mill), “I started the race and had a decent start sitting 6th wheel behind (teammate) Fred Rose. I didn’t want Rob to get away from me (but) right before we came out of the woods at the start, Fred wrecked in front of me and I lost about 10 spots.” Rose’s wheel was a taco. He pitted but would never see the front again.
Preferred lines changed throughout the race, forcing a number of sticky situations in tight corners (see photo sequence). Behind and out of the top 20 payout, some riders opted for hotdog hand-ups and big air on the flyover (see photo). Despite a few trips to the pit to adjust tire pressure on the changing course Haley shadowed Eric Anderson (Zipp Factory) while keeping Kendall within their sites the whole race, even closing within 5 seconds. Haley said, “We rode together for 2 laps and I was feeling really tired having burned a lot of matches pitting so much. I pulled to the side so he could take a turn but he just gave a grunt (and) I got back on the front. He ended up wrecking… around a big sweeper that was really slick. I attacked and got about a 10 second gap.” They finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.
No stranger to the OVCX podium this year, Kendall’s Papa John’s teammate Anna Jean Dallaire took the early lead in the Women’s Elite race threading her way quickly through the tail end of the Men’s Cat 3 Race which shared the course. Two laps in, a mechanical forced her to dismount. Now on foot, Dallaire headed to the pit and Teri Meek (Don Walker Cycles Racing) took the lead. “The third lap is always my weakness,” Meek confided while catching her breath after the race. “It was my kind of course. (The flyover was) a little scary but I made it over every time.” Behind, as the rain began, Erika Howard (Secret Cycling) and Mary Penta (VO2 Multisport) traded places. Penta did a great job to close the gap but it wasn’t enough. In the end, Howard eeked out a two second lead for the second step of the podium. Elite Men’s and Women’s results below. Full results at USA Cycling.
The OVCX Series is presented by Zipp, Papa John’s Pizza, RoadID, BikeReg and Capitol Bicycles.