Chicago Cross

By: Jason Alvarado Nov 22

Share |

By nature, the world of cyclocross carries an inherent sense of local pride. From Belgium to Portland, New England to Boulder, no matter what scene you may find yourself in, rest assured that someone will tell you why it is better than anywhere else. While I would not dare risk chastisement or ridicule by saying that Midwest cross is the best, I have to admit that it is definitely coming on strong.

Case in point, I present to you, the Chicago Cyclocross Cup. What began in 2004 as an effort by representatives from a small handful of local teams to bring cross back to the Windy City has now blossomed into a beastly series of 12 races scattered throughout the Chicagoland area. With registration numbers nearing 700 at some events, the CCC has experienced exponential growth since its inception, greatly exceeding all expectations.

True to its grassroots beginnings, at the heart of the CCC exists a dedication to the new racer. Rest assured that Elite fields rightfully receive PRO treatment, along with the bulk of the day’s prize money, but it is the beginner fields that draw the most attention. Scheduled at the end of the race day, in order to attract the largest number of spectators, the Category 4 fields have exploded to such an extent that the field has been split into two separate divisions, and yet both sell out consistently. It is within the Cat 4A and 4B races that the art of the hand up is perfected, and where even the newest cross virgin can witness the fun, welcoming nature of the sport.

A recent stop on the series visited the Hilton Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale, Illinois. After three years of hosting a double weekend of racing, I have yet to figure out why a private golf course would ever allow a cyclocross race to roll through, but it seems like quite the gift horse to me, so who am I to raise the question? At first glance the well-groomed, pristine nature of a golf resort might not appear to be the most ideal venue for a cross race, yet the course features include a wealth of wind, sand, mud, and undulations that keep even the most experienced crossers on their toes. Off the racecourse amenities include the true resort benefits of onsite lodging, restaurant and bar, and even a very Paris-Roubaix-esque perk in the form of post-race shower facilities (minus the stone stalls, and plaques with plaques engraved with names such as Merckx and De Vlaeminck, but I digress…).

Thanks to the efforts of series director and NE transplant, Jason Knauff (Gran Prix of Gloucester Registration and Results Director), along with his team of supporters, the Indian Lakes Resort will also play host to the New Year’s Resolution. A new addition to the UCI calendar (C2), organizers are hoping the NYR serves as a tune-up for those seeking glory at the Cyclocross National Championships the following weekend just up the road in Madison, WI. I know, I know, January in Madison might not seem like the most optimal setting for much of anything, much less running around in paper-thin spandex. Yet, with a UCI C2 near Chicago, followed by Nationals in Madison, Masters Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville, KY the following weekend, and in one year’s time (January, 2013) the UCI World Cyclocross Championships in the same location, the Midwest sure sounds like a hotbed to me.



© Copyright 2013 - Embrocation Cycling, INC