Hayden Strong was in between a couple big bicycle racing series.

So he just decided to drop by the Washington Park Velodrome on Tuesday night and compete in the 38th Mayor’s Cup.


Not only did Strong compete, the 21-year-old New Zealander cruised to victory by racking up 102 points in the 75-lap points race. A junior-to-be a Marian University in Indianapolis, Strong — who came to the United States in 2017 — came up with a Kenosha native, won the race and drove back overnight Tuesday into Wednesday morning.

He’ll turn around and head back to Chicago on Friday.

“I’m kind of between big races right now,” Strong, who races for Texas Roadhouse, said in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “I just got back from Vancouver doing a 10-day series there, and I have four days off between a series in Chicago. I decided just to come out, because it was a nice day, and try my hand in it.

“I wasn’t feeling fantastic, but every time you hop on a bike you want to win. It was good local competition. Quite a few of the guys I had raced before at local velodromes.”

It’s been a busy summer for Strong, who in June was in Pennsylvania racing among national teams for Olympic qualifying points.

“You’ve got to make the most of the summer,” Strong said. “Back to the grind.”

The Mayor’s Cup is a grind, but the field always features strong riders.

Grafton’s Michael Lucas of Velocause Centraal finished second with 67 points, Chicago’s Daniel Breuer of XXX Racing was third with 64, Milwaukee’s Chad Hartley of Velocause Centraal placed fourth with 25 and Kenosha’s Rob Springer of Team Wheel & Sprocket finished fifth with seven.

Riders sprint every five laps, with five points going to first place, three to second, two to third and one to fourth.

Riders also get points for lapping the field, so deciding when to lap — which strong riders will inevitably do on a track like the velodrome — becomes a key moment in any points race.

According to Strong, it was Breuer who first made the break.

Strong didn’t want him to get away.

“Basically in a points race, you want to be consistent, so I was winning all the fast sprints,” Strong said. “Daniel Breuer, he’s a very strong racer, so he attacked to get a lap, so I had no choice but to chase after it. ... I was just staying on his wheel to make sure he didn’t get ahead of me.”

Eventually, Strong, Lucas and Breuer lapped the field multiple times, but it was Strong who just kept accruing the most points.

And in addition to his win, he enjoyed his first time racing at the velodrome.

“Nice,” Strong said when asked what he felt of the venue.

“The track was smooth. It was a lovely night, good local crowd.”