"Hoosier cyclers rode well at the 2007 Collegiate Road National Race in Lawrence, Kan., over the weekend of May 10-12.
At this year’s road national race, four Indiana teams — Indiana University, Purdue, DePauw and Notre Dame — competed in the team competition. The final standings for each team are decided by the combined team performances from the men’s and women’s road and criterium races, which is called the team omnium results.
In the Division I team omnium, IU finished 17th and Purdue 32nd.
In the Division II team omnium, DePauw finished eighth while Notre Dame finished 16th. DePauw and Notre Dame were the only Indiana teams to compete on the Division II level.
There were also several other male and female individual riders from Indiana who competed in the race. The top male finisher from the state was Phil Mooney from DePauw University, who finished fourth in the Division II men’s road race.
Mooney also finished seventh in the individual omnium results, which combines points from the road and criterium race. Other top finishers in the omnium were Notre Dame’s Matt Prygoski and Mike Lavery in ninth and 17th place, respectively, along with DePauw’s Ross McEntarfer in 29th place.
The top Hoosier in the men’s Division I omnium was Purdue’s Derek Laan, who finished 16th. Laan finished 15th and 24th in the road and criterium races, respectively. Marian College’s Jonathon Royal also competed in the road and criterium races with his highest finish coming on the road in 58th place. Marian College, a seven-time track national champion, did not compete in the team competitions.
On the women’s side, IU’s Pam Loebig was the top finisher among Hoosier women with a 19th place finish in the individual omnium. At the Division II women’s level, DePauw’s Michelle Couch and Lauren Guggina rounded out the top 30 in 21st and 25th place, respectively.
These teams that competed in the national race were all part of the Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference, and, according to USA Cycling Midwest Road Regional Coordinator Mike Hanley, it has been a strong year for Hoosier cyclers.
“It’s been a steady growth over the past six years or so [in the MWCCC],” Hanley said. “It’s a very active growth sector for cycling in general.”
As cycling grows in Indiana, DePauw head coach Kent Menzel said he can only hope someone notices.
“This is one of the great cycling states in the country ... The problem is that we’re all working so hard that we don’t have time to go after that publicity or PR,” Menzel said, who has coached at DePauw for 11 years. “You work and you ride and you hope people notice.”
Hanley said that while cycling might not be as common as more traditional sports, it is hard not to be a fan after understanding the sport.
“It’s a niche sport that most people don’t consider, and then, people see that it’s a lifestyle,” Hanley said. “There are a lot of thrills on two wheels and it’s sort of a cult thing.”