Slideshow: 2012 Indy Criterium
The .95-mile Indy Crit course, which traces a figure eight around University Park and through Monument Circle, challenged riders of all skill levels on a sweltering summer day.
Both beer and water flowed on tap Saturday at University Park as the Indy Criterium welcomed hundreds of cyclists - and hundreds of fans who clanged cow-bells to cheer them on. The .95 mile figure-eight course around University Park and through Monument Circle challenged riders of all skill levels on a sweltering summer day.
Gourmet food trucks lined the streets and a wine and beer garden kept festival-goers happy as races went off on the hour. From tandem racing to juniors to Women's Category 1/2/3 and Men's Category 3/4, the Indy Criterium was a well-rounded event showcasing a variety of skill-levels in the Indy cycling world. The main event, Men's Category 1/2/3, went off last at 5:30 pm.
Eager to start, the racers in the top event crowded the start line, rushing to find a strategic place in the field. Their eagerness resulted in a mass-disregard for the staging line. The sassy announcer of the days events, Rachel Fagerberg, teased them "How many of you is this your first rodeo?" And then in response to blank stares from the racers added, "Yeah, I thought so. The race won't be won or lost at the start line, boys." With ten minutes to go until the race, officials urged the men to take a warm-up lap.
At five minutes to go, Fagerberg called up early registrants to their places at the front of the line. And in a mad-dash, the rest of the cyclists queued up behind them. General rules and notifications were laid down: $1500 to the first 15 places in the races, 3 "prems" at various points throughout the race, free lap rules, pace car rules and EMT locations. The adrenaline rose across the field as the officials stepped out of the way, ready to sound the bell.
The next 75 minutes were a whirl of excitement with early break-aways from Chad Burdzilaukas of Texas Road House Cycling and Declan Doyle of Bissell/ABG/NUVO, and counter-attacks from Greg Strock of Texas Roadhouse and Kyle Perry of Team Upland Brewing/Sustainable Cycling. The bunched-up field of racers conserved their energy throughout the first half of the race, as attacks and counter-attacks pushed riders up and down the field.
With about 25 minutes to go, 17 riders made their move, widening the field between the money and the rest. Throughout the last dozen and a half laps, the money held on, as the front of the pack raced to ensure a top 15 finish.
It was the last $50 prem called that decided the race for Mac Brennen of Bissell/ABG/NUVO, who attacked out of the group. "I ended up having a huge gap. So I decided to just go with it. I just tried to keep it steady and maintain my effort," Brennen later said.
And maintain his effort he did, as he held a significant and steady led through the end of the race. His worked paid off, and he took first place in the big race of the day.
"This is a super big event," said Brennen as he stepped off the podium, drenched in sweat and champagne, "so its always good to win at the big events. And the field was really strong. And especially being in the hometown and NUVO, it was good to win in front of the sponsors and the hometown."
Chad Burdzilaukas, Texas Road House Cycling, took second, and Nikolai Brokovich, from Denmark, placed third.
Congrats to all who competed. Here is a list of other big winners throughout the day.
1st Men's Category 4/5 Race
1. Ed Dyer of UCSD, San Diego, California
2. Scott Baumer of Indiebike.com/Angie's List, Indianapolis
3. Edward Wimmer of Darkhorse Racing, Northern Kentucky
Women's Category 1/2/3 Race
1. Bri Clark of Racing for Riley, Indianapolis
2. Katie Arnold of Racing for Riley, Indianapolis
3. Emily Flanigan of TREK Bicycles, St. Louis, Missouri
2nd Men's Category 4/5 Race
1. Chris Dawson of Westfield, Ind.
2. Andrew Zens of Rhythm Racing, Chicago
3. Robert Annis of Nebo Ridge Racing, Indianapolis