Monday, August 1, 2011

2nd Indy Criterium features new, figure-8 course

Day 2 of "The Great Catchup" takes us back to last month's running of the second Indy Criterium cycling competition in Downtown Indianapolis. I made it there in time for the last half of the final women's competition (category 1/2/3) and the full finale, the men's category 1/2/3.

Organizers retooled the course from last year's rectangular course, this year creating a figure-eight loop -- but still 0.9 miles -- that started cyclists on New York Street halfway between Meridian and Pennsylvania streets. From there, cyclists rode east and turned north -- the wrong way for vehicular traffic on normally one-way-south Pennsylvania Street -- then headed west onto Vermont Street, the next block up, turning south onto Meridian Street, then west onto New York (which made New York the cross point for the figure-eight), then turned south onto Illinois, traveling two blocks to Market, where riders turned east, angled along the brick-paved northwest quadrant of Monument Circle then headed north onto Meridian again before concluding the circuit by turning east (right) back onto New York.

John Grant of Louisville, and Indiana University alumnus, won the men's competition, finishing just ahead of Texas Roadhouse Cycling teammate Chad Burdzilauskas, Indianapolis. In the women's category 1/2/3 race, Jackie Kurth of Palm City, Fla., a junior member of the Marian University cycling team, finished first and Katie Weber of Monrovia, Ind., was runner-up.

To view a full gallery of images from my shoot at the 2011 Indy Crit, follow this link

Above: The women's category 1/2/3 competition was the only race of the day marred by rain. The precipitation started about halfway through the 45-minute race and lasted about 15 minutes.

Above: Jackie Kurth, Palm City, Fla., a Marian University cycling team member, crossed the finish line first for the women; Katie Weber, Monrovia, Ind., was second.

Above: Eventual men's category 1/2/3 winner John Grant heads a small group of leaders early in the race after a turn off Pennsylvania Street onto Vermont Street.

Not far behind the five-member group above were Bryan Boggs (left), Zionsville, Ind., a triathlete and former Indiana University swimmer who in August 2006 swam the English Channel -- on the wheel of John Schmitz, Bargersville, Ind. Boggs finished 20th; Schmitz outside the top 36.

Above: On a humid, 90-degree-plus day, it was not uncommon for athletes to refuel frequently, sometimes even having to temporarily dangle the bottles from their mouths to ensure a safe negotiation of a turn, as this rider does turning north onto Pennsylvania Street from New York Street.

Above: Grant rides fourth wheel, while runner-up and teammate Chad Burdzilauskas servers as trailer, as they turn east onto New York from Meridian Street.

Above: Boggs, one more time, the fierce exertion of pedaling evident in his calves.

Above: If you happened to look away for a quick moment just as the peloton came toward your vantage point along the course, you could easily miss the cruise-by ... and see this as you fixed your eyes back on the course.

Above: Chad Burdzilauskas raises an arm in victory for teammate John Grant (right) who is just a few feet from crossing the finish line on the last lap.

Above: On the post-race podium are men's 1/2/3 winner John Grant (center), flanked by teammate and runner-up Chad Burdzilauskas (left) and third-place finisher Eric Young of Bloomington, Ind. 

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