Kaitlin Antonneau’s passion for cycling began at an early age.
Her parents, Barb and Jon, would take Kaitlin and her sister, Emily, to Kenosha Velodrome as young cyclists.
“I started going there when I was age 6,” Kaitlin Antonneau said. “For four summers, on every Monday night, we would race our bikes there. It would be a two-lap race and we’d do it twice each time.
“It was so much fun. We loved it.”
The stakes are infinitely higher these days, but her competitiveness continues to grow.
Antonneau, a graduate of Horlick High School, has established herself as one of the best collegiate cyclists the last three seasons at Marian University, a cycling powerhouse in Indianapolis.
Antonneau has captured three straight USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championship overall titles, the latest coming May 5 at Ogden, Utah. The event attracted more than 400 riders from 100 colleges around the country.
Antonneau took first in the omnium with 295 points, edging her teammate Coryn Rivera, who had 289. Kaitlin won the road race on the second and final day in 3:02.01 after narrowly losing to Rivera by .01 in the criterium.
“I was really excited to win it,” Antonneau said. “I was nervous going into it. I knew there were a handful of really strong girls and I knew my teammate (Rivera) was one to watch.”
While Antonneau had plenty of reasons to three-peat, there was added incentive.
“My mom came to watch the race and that was cool,” Antonneau said. “I wanted to do well for her.”
Adding to the stress of preparing and competing in the National Championship, Antonneau faced final exams at Marian, where she has a 3.0 grade point average as an exercise physiology major.
“It’s amazing what Kaitie has achieved,” Marian coach Dean Peterson said. “Balancing her cycling and schoolwork isn’t easy. But what makes Kaitie unique and different is her ability to tunnel vision on her goalShe is able to clearly identify what she wants to achieve. An achievement pathway is very clear to her.”
Petersen is quick to note that Antonneau is anything but selfish.
“Kaitie is such an outstanding person and teammate,” said Peterson, whose Knights won their 22nd national championship at Ogden. “She’s caring and isn’t self-consumed. Even when she’s preparing herself, she’s preparing others. She tries to help them be the best they can be, too.”
Peterson contends Antonneau’s best lies ahead, saying she’ll attain greater success once she is in position to focus on her riding as a professional.
Antonneau agrees. She already has a compiled a game plan for her cycling future.
She covets winning a fourth national collegiate overall championship and competing for the United States Olympic team.
“Yeah, they (the Olympics) are definitely in the back of my mind,”
Antonneau said. “I definitely want to go as far as I can in this sport.
“I still have quite a few years left with it and I’m still having a lot of fun.”