Despite the rain throughout the weekend, the three-part race for DePauw’s Little 5 was able to run to near completion with the only exception being street sprints being cut short. Time trials and the main event, the criterium, ran unaffected by rain.
Seniors Cara Callahan and Aaron Mahoney took overall, or omnium, victories for their efforts in all three races. Senior Danielle Datillio and Junior Logan Miller took first place in the criterium on Saturday along with the teams from Alpha Phi and Beta Theta Pi taking home team honors.
The criterium race is the main event of the weekend as it is the longest of the three races and includes the entire field of racers. The men’s and women’s criterium races were in danger of being cancelled due to heavy rain and stormy conditions on Saturday. However, conditions improved, and the races were still held, but postponed from their original start times. The alumni race was cancelled.
The women’s criterium race consisted of a field of nineteen women from six different organizations on campus. Datillio, a member of the team from Kappa Alpha Theta, took home first place with a 43:40 final lap time.
“My strategy was to take the lead at the beginning to set the pace a little faster and hopefully spread the pack out,” Datillio said. “Then, I know I had to draft off people to save my legs for the final push.”
Datillio was in third place for most of the race, then made a move in the final lap to take the lead and finish seven seconds ahead of the nearest competition. The race came down to a lead pack of four racers including Datillio and omnium winner Callahan.
“I knew that I might not be able to win if I waited until the final straightaway to sprint, as short sprints are not my strength,” Datillio said. “I knew that I could sprint for a full lap, so once we got the third turn of the 29th lap, there was a gap and I just went for it.”
Callahan and her team member, senior Perrin Duncan, both fell back in the pack, but both riders caught up with the lead pack and vied for the criterium victory along with Datillio, until the final move. Duncan and Callahan finished second and third, respectively.
“It kind of happened naturally,” Callahan said. “I think we knew how to kind of play it. We just didn’t want to expend too much energy by pulling the entire time, so I know Julia took a lead for a time to kind of pull us all. We practice pull lines during practices and that helped a lot.”
The men’s criterium winner, Miller, had a different strategy that resulted in him lapping the entire field.
“It felt amazing, and I had no idea the race was going to unfold like that after just my second attack,” Miller said. “But I can't go without placing a great deal of the team's success on Sam [Short], Jack [Harbaugh], and Kaleb [Van Arsdale]. We raced as a team and they responded to my attack the best way possible, just as planned.”
Omnium winner, Mahoney, had a chance to catch Miller in the early going of the race, but ultimately fell behind and was hemmed in by the team attack of Beta Theta Pi. Miller won the race with a 39:02 final lap time and a lap ahead of the entire field.
“Attacking is always a team strategy in the cycling world, it seemed like the other teams weren't familiar with how to respond to it,” Miller said. “However, I didn't expect to keep group off for more than 15 laps, but that's when my teammates stepped in. We planned for a slightly different outcome, but plans can quickly change when you see how teams respond.”
The team omnium held a familiar result for Alpha Phi, as they have won the past three team omnium awards. In the men’s omnium, a new winner was crowned in the form of Beta taking the place of Delta Upsilon on top of the heap. Callahan commented on the house culture that has led to Alpha Phi’s success.
“It’s formed pretty organically, I think we have people that just want to do it,” Callahan said. “I mean, we have people like Morgan Weller who is a triathlete which comes naturally to her, and there are people like me who got involved just because I enjoy working out, wanted to try something new, wanted a new way to represent the house in any way I possibly could.”