What appeared to be a passing line of light showers turned into an all-day fun-in-the-mud drenching at the Zipp OVCX Series Race #2, St. Mary’s Child Center CX, in Indianapolis. Ryan Knapp (Pony Shop) proved untouchable from the whistle, finessed his bike through slick off camber hairpins and held a 20 second gap to the finish.
A similar show played out in the women’s elite race with Mackenzie Woodring (Foundry Cycles) pushing her gap out to over 2 minutes. The race was a fundraiser for the kids at St. Mary’s Child Center (SMCC) who provide a loving environment for at-risk pre-school aged children.
All the mud tricks came out of the box Sunday in Indianapolis as riders rode the line under the tape searching for disappearing elusive hard ground. With his tire pressure dialed super low, Knapp was king in the Men’s Elite Race shooting up the big off-camber tiered climb and seemingly parachuting down the other side to an early solo lead. Throughout the course, he used body English to coax the rear of his bike around the tight off camber corners.
Starting from the back, Drew Dillman (Sophisticated Living p/b Bob’s Red Mill) rode the barriers to claw his way to the chase group of Gavin Haley (Red Zone Cycling) and teammate Spencer Petrov in one lap. Dillman continued through the muck with only Haley able to follow.
According to Knapp, “The last few laps I just tried to ride the hill hard, be careful and minimize mistakes in the greasy corners.”
Meanwhile, veteran Andy Messer (Upland Brewing) caught Petrov with two to go. Young Petrov, remained calm saving his matches for a last lap surge to pull away and secure his 4th place position. Dillman eventually dispatched Haley and pressed out his gap to Haley to secure second.
After a disappointing mechanical in Bloomington two weeks prior, Woodring found her mojo in the mud. However, the holeshot and the clean left-hand line up the climb went to Michigan’s Kim Thomas (New Holland Brewery.) MacKenzie Green (BioWheels/Reece-Campbell Racing) was the first to bridge. Chloe Dygert (Midwest Devo) wasn’t far off the pace. Soon after, Green’s teammate Gerry Schulze followed Woodring’s wheel through and past the Thomas and Green duo gaining major ground in the 2nd lap.
Then the mud and grass found its way into Schulze’s gearing. She lost her rear shifting and consequently Woodring’s wheel. Schulze drifted back looking for a bike change and Woodring pushed out her solo gap to more than a minute. With the top 5 being stretched out the majority of the race, Dygert never settled. In the last lap, she tapped into her reserves and amazingly closed on Schulze bringing it down to a dramatic sprint out of the final soft corner. Determined as she was, Schulze couldn’t match Dygert’s power. As the two hit the pavement, Schulze’s head sunk as Dygert pulled past just meters from the finish to claim second. Thomas and Green held strong to secure fourth and fifth.