The elite women's start. © Kent Baumgardt

The elite women’s start. © Kent Baumgardt

by Joe Bellante

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – Over crisp freshly fallen leaves as big as personal pizzas, Ryan Knapp (Pony Shop) and Teri Meek (Don Walker Cycles Racing) notched sunny Sunday wins at BloomingCross, OVCX Series Race #5.  While Knapp threaded his way from the back, Meek pounced on an untimely mechanical from Katie Arnold (Bob’s Red Mill) to take her win, the second in a row.  Along with the cash payout, both will enjoy potential front row call-ups for next week’s first test of the World Championship course in Louisville, OVCX #6 Papa John’s Storm Eva Bandman Halloween Cross.

Erik Hamilton and Ryan Knapp duel for the lead © KentBaumgardt

Erik Hamilton and Ryan Knapp duel for the lead © KentBaumgardt

“Having not raced an OVCX yet this season,” Ryan Knapp explained, “I had to start in the back which had me a little worried.  The fields have been pretty strong this season and I knew that guys like Gunner Dygert (Bissell-ABG-Nuvo), Erik Hamilton (Tokyo Joes/Whole Foods) and Adam York (Cleveland Clinic Sports Health Cycling p/b Felt) would be the ones to keep an eye on.”  They were.  After a lap through the twists and turns and sand, Knapp picked his way to the front and pulled even with the leaders at the uphill barriers.  He quickly managed to goose a gap through a series of tight twisty corners.  “(I) decided to just test the waters and see if I could grow the gap a bit.”  He did, adding, “It looked like the riders behind started racing each other and stopped chasing me.  From that point, I was able to concentrate on taking good lines and being as efficient as possible.”  Knapp took the win, ahead of York and Hamilton respectively.  It was an impressive ride for junior Dygert in his elite race debut, finishing eighth and less than two minutes behind the seasoned Knapp.

Winner Teri Meek is confident in the sand © Kent Baumgardt

Winner Teri Meek is confident in the sand © Kent Baumgardt

In the Women’s Elite Race, Arnold took to the front first.  However a mechanical forced a run to the pit leaving the door open to Meek and Erika Howard (Secret Cycling) to finish first and second.  Eventual third place finisher Bridget Donovan-Billiter (BioWheels/Reece-Campbell Racing) said, “When I saw Katie Arnold running her bike to the pit I knew it was go time and a chance for me to take one of those elusive top three overall spots.  It also helped that the barriers were tall with a long run-up. I certainly had the height advantage there.”  Despite the technical prowess of Meek, Howard and Donovan-Billiter, Arnold kept her head in the game and closed within four or five seconds of the podium.  Full results at USA Cycling.

ZIPP OVCX ATHLETES OF THE WEEK

OVCX extends congratulations to Bridget Donovan-Billiter (BioWheels/Reece-Campbell Racing) and Gavin Haley (Red Zone Cycling) as this week’s ZIPP OVCX Athletes-of-the-Week.  After many top 10 wave finishes, Haley battled new U19 racer Luke Beemer (Midwest Devo) for 4 laps before accelerating away for a 7 second win.  Donovan-Billiter used a last lap surge to put some distance on Arnold, Nicole Borem (Don Walker) and teammate Gerry Schulze to secure the third position on the elite podium. Both will have a set of Zipp Firecrest 303 tubular wheels at their disposal next week in Louisville.

The OVCX Series is presented by Zipp, Papa John’s Pizza, RoadID, BikeReg and Capitol Bicycles.

BioWheels-Reece Campbell racing teammates Bridget Donvovan Billiter and eventual 6th place Gerry Schulze Chase in the sand. © Kent Baumgadt

BioWheels-Reece Campbell racing teammates Bridget Donvovan Billiter and eventual 6th place Gerry Schulze Chase in the sand. © Kent Baumgadt