by Ken Getchell
The Ohio State Championships were held in Columbus this past weekend on a course that featured equal parts power and equal parts skill. However, the presence of strong winds on race day made the power sections more significant, as three sections of lengthy straightaway went straight into a headwind. The park was extremely spectator-friendly, with most watchers perched up on the finish line hill looking down on the entire course.
In what would be a convergence of three Midwestern series (Zipp OVCX, Cap City, and Lake Effect), a group of 40 elite men tore off the line in pursuit of Ohio State titles, Zipp OVCX points and prize money. The beginning laps looked like it was going to be a tight finish. A group of six separated from the pack including old school hard men Phil Noble (Biowheels) and Jonathan Card (Saturn Toledo), OVCX leader Ryan Knapp (bikereg.com), and mountain man Gerry Pflug (Speedgoat). After a crash by Kennedy in a tight corner put him off the back of the group, Knapp and Card accelerated off the front. As the winds died down some in the second half of the race, more riders took the risk of going off solo. Knapp was the obvious aggressor, and tried many times to pull off the solo win but only Card could match his power. The last 30 minutes turned into a two man race between Knapp and Card, with Mike Mihalik (Beaver Valley Velo) busting out of the early group and dangling behind.
As the two leaders started the bell lap, it was obvious to the assembled spectators that a battle royale was brewing. They entered the finishing straight and the crowd grew silent. Knapp started the sprint from second wheel and seemed to have better of the veteran Card – until his pedal unclipped. Card was able to sprint up the hill for a well deserved gold medal. Knapp settled for second, with Mike Mihalik rounding out the podium in third.
In the womens race it was Nicole Borem (DRT Consulting) taking the top spot over a well-dressed Christy Blakely (BMW) and youngster Michelle Morris (One Call Now), who battled back from sixth place to take State Championship honors as the top Ohio rider.
Other notable results:
- Seventeen year old Anthony Marut (Lake Effect) took top honors in the Category 3/4 race over a very stacked field.
- Indiana native Sam Morrison won the 17-18 juniors race
- Sam Dobrozsi won two Ohio state championships in both the Junior Boys 15-16 and the Junior Men 17-18.
- Hannah Mossman overcame a strong field to win the Junior Girls 13-14 field
- Will Mandrola survived the long ride from Kentucky to take the Juniors 10-12 win.
- Laura Stahl (Team Awesome) dominated the 3/4 womens for her gold medal.
- Gerry Pflug won the elite masters race and then lined up for the Elite 1/2/3 race and got 4th, clearly the hard man of the day!
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