Thursday at Cyclocross Nationals

By: Brandon Jan 10

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Thursday was our first day at Valmont, and Boulder greeted us with beautiful weather and a thawing course. Racers rode through the gnarly off camber sections trying to predict fast lines through the changing conditions.

photos by Nicholas Gajewski, Gavin Gould, Joshua Alexandre Haines, and Brandon Elliott

 

Midwest Regional Cyclocross Championship

By: Gavin Gould Jan 2

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Before we head out to Nationals, let's take a quick look at a recent race most of you probably didn't hear much about: the Midwest Regional CX Championships.

To be honest, the last several seasons that I've raced, I don't think I was even aware that there was a regional championship race. Likely I ignored it because it was further than I wanted to travel, and highly improbable that I'd do well. It's after a long season, and past my state's CX Championship. We're in the upper Midwest, it's the middle of December, and it's likely very cold with a bunch of snow on the ground.

Unfortunately, a lot of other racers seemed to feel that way too - despite the great set of folks putting on this race plus a sweet course at a really nice venue - attendance was around 250 racers. The temperature was in the teens and several inches of fresh snow had just dumped in the days leading up to the race, so I can't really blame people for sitting this one out and letting Chicago locals stack the fields.

On the podiums, it was a good mix of the Midwest; riders from Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan up on the steps.

Enjoy the photos, we'll see you at Nationals. Say hello if you see us around!

 

Illinois Cyclocross State Championship

By: Gavin Gould Dec 18

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Chicago is not a cycling Mecca. When you think of cycling culture in the US you’re drawn to the coasts, to the mountains of Colorado and Utah, and to some of the big name races that exist - along side the newly anointed Gran Fondos – scattered throughout the country.

Chicago is 4 hours from anything close to being described as a hill. But what Chicago lacks in topography, it makes up for with its lakefront parks and beaches that run along Lake Michigan.

The Illinois Cyclocross Championships convene every December along Montrose Harbor; this beachfront race is Chicago’s Koksijde but with a view of the skyline. Racers are subjected to frozen lines through the sand, icy off camber 180s, terse climbs, and course conditions that change as dramatically as the weather.

This year's weather was no different. Racers on Saturday woke up to beautiful sunshine but temperatures that would peak just barely out of the single digits. Sunday’s races were made dramatic by snowfall that blanketed sketchy sections of ice, sending race organizers to salt the offending corners.

Even with the prohibitive conditions, teams, sponsors, shops, and restaurants popped up their walled tents, or pulled up their trucks and turned on their propane heaters. Spectators flocked to the difficult sand sections with beverages and cameras in hand, ready for the action to come. The frozen course came to life with over 2,000 spectators and riders.

While Chicago may not yet immediately come to mind as a cycling destination, the city’s cycling and cyclocross scene is growing and has been for some time. What was once a single day event is now a two day ordeal. Chicago is poised to become the country's central hub for cycling.

Photos by Nicholas Gajewski and Gavin Gould, words by Nicholas Gajewski.

 

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