Sunny Gilbert (Van Dessel Factory Racing) was dominant at the Major Taylor Cross Cup in Indianapolis this past weekend. After multiple thunderstorm delays, the Elite Women took to the mud on Saturday for an abbreviated 30-minute race, where a clean remount in the final lap gave Gilbert the gap she needed. The win was Gilbert’s second UCI victory of the season, with her first coming on Day 2 at Jingle Cross.
After crashing on a descent Saturday, Gilbert went into Sunday with the plan to ride a clean race. “Yesterday I was sort of forced off the bike, by providence or God, I don’t know what, today it was about riding like I know I can ride that technical stuff.” she said. “It was really about laying down power when you could and staying upright when you couldn’t.”
Early in Sunday’s race, Gilbert dismounted and literally ran away from the field in the deep mud of the lakebed. “We hit that first corner and I was in the lead, then someone ran past me, and I thought well that’s a good idea. It just seemed to work.” she said. “I think everybody had their own plan going into this race, and I think everybody’s plan changed. Certainly mine did.”
Gilbert maintained her gap and rode a clean race to take her second consecutive win and third of the season. “I never really let up,” she told Cyclocross Magazine. “I just tried to keep it clean on that last lap. On the last lap, I figured I was pretty much in it to win it, I just kept it clean and kept riding. I was feeling really good.”
Riding a clean race didn’t distract Gilbert from having a good time, however. She found the rolling back section of the course to be fast with good lines. “Oh God it was so fun!” she said. “There were a few more lines today, and you could really rail that without brakes. I really opened it up on the back side.”
Cyclocross Magazine caught up with Gilbert after the race to hear all about mud, running, and her plans to eat a lot of European cheese.