This last weekend held quite a few events that split riders from the area. Ride Across Wisconsin nabbed quite a few who braved the long distance for a chance to take a rest stop cookie photo with The Jens. Downstate we had the State Criterium Championships held in Bloomington. A bit of controversy there as reports have been coming out regarding tacks thrown on to the course in time for the cat 4 race. Good first hand writeup here. Other issues regarding a lack of reg data and therefore manual scoring seem to also have plagued the event. As of right now no results have been posted but to my knowledge people were awarded championship jerseys…we just don’t know who at this point.
Bit of editorial license here – the thumbtack issue is really messed up. It’s just as bad as threatening to kill riders with a car as far as I’m concerned. Both can end in death for the rider. It’s not vandalism. This is assault. I know we all wish we had a target to focus our feelings and responses on but we don’t. Cover your 6 and watchout for each other out there. Especially in a crit…now.
This weekend also marked the official start of the cyclocross season here in Chicago. That sound you just head was a multitude of eyes rolling regarding that fact. HEY! It is what it is. moving on….
Tons of racers showed up and the cross family got re-acquainted after a few months of not seeing each other. The course ran the opposite direction this year and for the most part the racing went as expected. The new roulette option this year seemed to go well providing entertainment to all and raising roughly $1.4k for West Town Bikes in the process. Jostein Alvestad/EMC2 and Eric Drummer/Velosmith ended up being the duo that took the victory. Juniors racing went off without a hitch until the last minute later 45 minute after results were posted protest DURING the podium presentation. Father Avi Neurohr caught the general feelings of the moment. Aside from that there seemed to be a great deal of positive feedback on the event and Kevin Cochoran had the following to share:
– There were some very promising trends in pre-registration. I was very pleased to see an increase in the number of teams pre-reg’d for the women’s open (36 this year vs. 27 last year), and we had to increase the field limit for the juniors to accommodate the high demand (25 -> 40; we pre-reg’d 38 teams). The coed race filled in under 36 hours, a new record. The 1/2/3 race was down slightly. Clearly excitement for CX season is building.
– Based on the pre-reg numbers and the results that have been posted, my impression is that overall attendance was up, but I haven’t done a final count yet.
– It wouldn’t be RelayCX if it wasn’t a million degrees outside.
– There were some new elements to this year’s race that I think worked really well:
– The new Relay Roulette format was as chaotic as we expected, but everyone took it in stride and it turned into a great race. 100% of registration fees, individual donations, and donations from Clif Bar and Turin, On the Route, and Comrade bike shops ($1400 total) were donated to West Town Bikes. Mike Young, the director of West Town, said that that would double the number of races the kids would be able to attend this year. The Chicago CX community gives me a big warm fuzzy. I think we’ll see Relay Roulette next year, but made better based on our experience this year.
– We updated our in-house registration engine to accommodate the relay team format, and it worked great. Using our custom engine saves on registration costs, which allowed us to keep everyone’s reg fees the same as last year and significantly increase the juniors field while keeping it free for juniors to race. This is a system we’ll keep improving for future.
– There were hula girls. This needs to happen again next year.
– My overall impression is that things went really well. The course was good and fun, given the limited options provided by Jackson Park, but guys were nearly or actually throwing up after each lap, so mission accomplished on the difficulty front. It seemed to me that everyone enjoyed themselves, which I absolutely love to see. Watching parents coaching their kids on how to race…it is just so fun to see the future of Chicago’s amazing racing community take their first steps. One 10 year old junior won a pair of really nice Shimano pedals, and his face just LIT UP. He’ll be racing on those pedals for years to come.
– As always, I’d like to give a HUGE thanks to all of our prize sponsors and to everyone who came out and raced. RelayCX really is a different kind of race and it’s great to see everyone having such a good time. But no resting on laurels; I’ve already started chewing on some ideas to make it better next year.