The Indiana State Criterium Championships took place this past weekend in Bloomington, and the NUVO/Cultural Trail Cycling Team took top honors.
According to the new state champ Aaron Hubbell, "Our team plan was simple: win the goddamn race."
It wasn't an easy task for Hubbell and his NUVO teammates, however. "The small field of 30 had incredible depth," Hubbell explains. "Local pro Jake Rytlewski, Jason Smith and Jason Fowler from Zipp, former pro Todd Cornelius and Bloomington-based badasses John Myers, Ryan Knapp, Isaac Neff, and Brett Stewart -- any one of these guys could have proved to be a handful."
The annual downtown Bloomington criterium always delivers great action for the large crowd that turns out to cheer on the cyclists. For Central Indiana locals, Bloomington natives and current and former Little 500 athletes, this race has a street cred that transcends a prize list: the single largest factor in determining racer turnout in the Pro-Am category. Yet this year the designation of the Indiana State Criterium Championship made Bloomington even more irresistible to area cyclists.
"The course is exactly what a criterium should be," Hubbell explains. "Six corners in less than a mile, so unlike those boring state park races. The crowds are knowledgeable, raised on watching Little 500. And the spectators are enthusiastic, as they move between Nick's, Kilroy's and the other bars on the strip."
The NUVO Cultural Trail team feels a sense of ownership of this race, having won the state title twice in the last five years. "We have several Little 500 winners from the Cutters on the team. We have IU alums. In our pre-race meeting I asserted that we were going to win this race or fail colossally trying -- no second places," was the plan according to Hubbell.
"Personally, the first 45 minutes of the race were a blur. Constant attacks and aggression kept the field perpetually strung out at speeds between 28 and 35 miles per hour. The team rode impeccably by instigating many moves and following the few we did not start," he continues. "Our desire to win drove us, as did the knowledge that as the largest team in the race we had a responsibility to be the prime aggressors."
With the season well underway, NUVO/Cultural Trail cyclists have several remaining races, including the Mass Ave Criterium on Aug. 15, sponsored by NUVO. With Hubbell fresh off his state championship, expect an excellent race between him and his friend and rival Chad Burdzilauskas from Kenda, who won the Mass Ave race last year.
Indiana State Criterium Championships: final results
1. Aaron Hubbell, NUVO/Cultural Trail
2. Jason Fowler, Zipp Factory
3. Erik Hamilton, NUVO/Cultural Trail
4. Ryan Knapp, Panther/RGF
5. Ben Weaver, NUVO/Cultural Trail
6. Declan Doyle, NUVO/Cultural Trail
7. Jacob Rytlewski, Kenda P/B Spinergy
8. John Meyers, ABD Cycling
9. David Jordan, Triangle Velo
10. Karim Abdelkader, Mob Squad