Tuesday CCC Updates

Photo: Kenny Labbe

Melas Frozen Basin – Photo: Kenny Labbe

  • Wow, this turned out to be a long post for a weekend without racing…
  • Well, that was a major bummer Melas CX Basin Racin’ was cancelled. This has been one crazy weather season between flooding rivers, record snow fall, etc. And despite what some people may believe, we know neither a larger group of volunteers, fatbikes, woolly mammoths, tauntauns, nor abominable snow men could have made the track ride-able much less race-able. With 10+ inches of wet, heavy snow and the timing of the storm ending just hours before nightfall we don’t see how any team could have made the race happen. Not to mention the parking lots were still being cleared Sunday morning at 10am, the park district did not clear the walking path at all, cars were getting stuck, and roads were slippery. Obviously a bit more extreme, but if Louisville had more people setting up the course could they have stopped the river from rising and flooding the CX Worlds course 3 years ago? Nope. As we mentioned on Saturday, safety for everyone involved is always our first consideration. The way we see it a race should be held if safe and feasible, not “the show must go on at all costs”.
  • Concerning “real” cross racing and what Belgians might have done… the only people in our series who can actually say what “real Belgian” CX racing is like are Brian Matter, David Lombardo, and Scott McLaughlin (once. a long time ago. he got pulled when lapped by Adri Van Der Poel). Everyone else only has an idea of what its like. Furthermore, in our opinion “real” CX racing isn’t about the weather but the course and competitors racing on it. We like watching the Namur race on our computer screens just as much as everyone else, but we’re not so sure we’d want to race that course in cold mud, and we certainly wouldn’t want a bunch of Cat 4/5’s and Juniors on such a course. At its heart the CCC is an amateur series and we have to do what’s right for the greatest number of riders, from the fastest Cat 1 down to the most novice Cat 4/5, from the 9 year old Junior to the 65+ FOG*.
  • Regarding Melas CX race entry and One Day license fee refunds… for those of you who don’t know, each race in the CCC is organized and promoted by a separate group, not the series… so we can’t just transfer your entry fees to another race (i.e. Montrose). That also means each race promoter has some very real sunk costs (think not-inexpensive park permits, USAC fees, porta-poties, tent rental, supplies, Grateful Dead cover bands, etc) to pay regardless if a freak case of bad luck means the event gets cancelled. That being said, we realize some of you may have spent every last penny on that pair of sweet carbon rims and are now on a budget and need a refund. So if you need/want a refund (less BikeReg service fees) please let us know by filling out this Google Form by Monday 11/30 at 6pm CT. Otherwise if we don’t hear from you all money collected through BikeReg, minus the race promoter’s sunk costs, will be given to the series donation causes of Big Marsh, West Town Bikes, & Blackstone Bicycle Works. Please email us at ChicagoCrossCup at gmail if you have any questions.
  • Now for the good stuff… Next up… TURKEY… and stuffing… and cranberry… and pumpkin pie! The CCC wishes everyone a great Thanksgiving holiday.
  • Then the weekend after that we’ll see everyone at the Illinois State Cyclo-cross Championships at Montrose Harbor hosted by Ten27 Cycles and Spidermonkey Cycling. As of right now all fields are open so register now if you want to race and not be on a waitlist.
  • After that, don’t forget about Afterglow and the CCC Awards Party.
  • Speaking of Overall Series Awards… due to only one race remaining in the series and only so many series points available, a few riders have already locked up their CCC overall categories. There is still plenty of racing to be had and some categories are separated by only 1 point. In any event, an early congratulations to the follow riders and we’ll see you at the CCC Awards Party:
  • Need a new bike or just looking for another to fill out the quiver? The Pony Shop is having a close out sale on four different Cannondale models. Call or email with questions: ponyshop.com
  • #PutARingOnIt to win at Big MarshSpidermonkey Cycling is challenging ALL Chicago Cyclocross teams to put your money where your heart is to build Big Marsh! Spidermonkey Cycling invites all teams to compete for donor rings and bragging rights – and an exclusive party at SRAM HQ – by raising the most money as a team by December 6‘s IL State Championships to build the park at Big Marsh. The contest starts TODAY. To enter, go to bigmarsh.causevox.com and register your CX team. Add your team members, then use your personalized fundraising page and e-mail tools to ask your fellow crossers, your friends, and your training partners to support the park with a donation. You can watch your progress and check in on other teams. Raise $500, and your team gets its own permanent donor chain ring installed on the donor wall at Big Marsh. Raise $1500, and your team receives a larger donor ring for display. Raise the most money of any team, and enjoy an exclusive team party at SRAM’s new headquarters! Rings are also available for individuals giving $500 or more. For more information, contact friends@bigmarsh.com. Get the hole shot – sign your team up at bigmarsh.causevox.com today!
  • And finally… Because we all need to remind ourselves from time to time that if we can’t laugh at ourselves than who can we laugh at? Thanks Greg! #SecretHandShake

*Fast Old Guys

2015 Melas CX-Basin Racin’ Preview

UPDATE: Due to the significant amount of heavy, wet snow the Chicagoland area received on Saturday and freezing temperatures forecast for all day Sunday… the Melas CX Basin Racin’ event is CANCELLED. Details are forthcoming so please check your inbox.

  • #MelasCX and more here. Preliminary staging will be posted here.
  • Chris Henning and Ted Berger (Northbrook Garner Bicycle Club and Flatlandia) take us racin’ through the basin.
  • Parking:  There is no parking at Melas ParkWe need to keep the lot clear for the locals using the dog park.
  • Parking will be at Multi Pack Solutions @1804 W. Central Rd., Mt. Prospect, IL which is behind (to the north of) Robert Bosch Tool Corporation.  Registration and S/F are adjacent to the Multi Pack lot.  There is a pedestrian gate to access Melas Park from the Multi Pack lot.  The Multi Pack lot is located to the West of the Melas Park entrance, just east of S. Arthur Ave.
  • Team Trailers.  Please e-mail Chris Henning if you’re planning on bringing out a trailer, he will try and coordinate a setup location for you.
  • Food truck: The Chicago Pizza Boss food truck will be onsite serving brick-oven pizzas.
  • Warm Ups:  Please stay off the ball fields while warming up and if you do use the walking paths please making sure to yield to any pedestrians / other park users.
  • Speaking of cars, no parking on the grass – anywhere.  There is plenty of parking available.  This includes team vehicles intending on dropping off team tent and compound equipment.
  • Park rules: Sorry, we don’t make them but we do have to follow them… no alcohol allowed. Please be respectful of the park.
  • Dog Park:  Unfortunately you must have a membership to get inside the fenced dog park which is available from either Mt. Prospect or Arlington Heights and unfortunately they don’t sell daily passes. Dog park membership
  • Breakdown: Please help tearing down the course after the Cat 4/5 race. 
  • Weather: It’s going to be chilly on Sunday, so please bundle up and bring appropriate clothing for before, during, and after your race(s)!
  • Cleaning up: The race does not have access to a hose. There is a self-serve car wash (Z Auto Wash) just west of the Bosch lot @ 820 S Arthur Ave, Arlington Heights, IL 60005 less than a half mile away.
  • No kids race this weekend.
  • Volunteering: Melas CX is still looking for a few volunteers spots to be filled. Volunteers race for free & lunch is provided. Please sign-up here.
  • The Course: Similar to last year. Same tough hill(s) getting out of the Basin. Please remember the course might change based on conditions encountered during setup.

Embrace the Slick

It’s looking like Melas is going to be a muddy and possibly snowy affair.  So first off our thoughts go out to the Northbrook Garner Bicycle Club and Flatlandia Cycling Team for as painless a course set-up process as possible.  When you see these people on Sunday give them a big thanks cause as much as you might not like racing in foul weather, promoting a race in it is about 100x worse.

Since we haven’t had a mud race in the Cup yet this year it’s important to get a day in this week to test your skills and equipment.  Weight distribution, line choice, speed, your angle relative to the ground and through the corners are all factors that add up to get you through the turns as quickly and efficiently as possible.



Weight distribution – keep your weight back more than usual at every point in the race and especially while turning.  The tread on your tires needs to dig into the ground or you won’t have traction when you need it.

Line choice – study the course as much as you can.  The worn track through the middle of the turn is not always the best.  Look for grass at the edges of the corners as an option to get more grip and give them a try before your race.  Look for little divots also that can act as berms. They’ll enable you to slide into them, change direction and power out.

Once you’re into the turn you have to go with the flow.  Don’t fight the direction your bike wants to take but rather make the best of it.

Speed – sometimes painfully slow is the least painful.  Check your speed prior to entering a turn because if you’re on the brakes during the turn there is a good chance you’re going to slide too much.  Don’t be afraid to take your inside foot out either.  It might take a fraction of a moment to pop it back in on the way out but you can carry more speed and touch your foot down when you start to slide.

Angle part 1 – the closer you are to a 90 degree angle relative to the ground the faster you’ll be able to get through a slippery corner.  It is the exact opposite of what you want to do on dry pavement.  It feels like riding a rail on a train track when done properly.

Angle part 2 – Start as wide as you can, cut across the apex of the corner and come out of it as wide as you can.  You are essentially straightening out the corner.  Go to YouTube and watch some MotoGP and downhill ski racing.  They have to get it right.

Equipment – Large, sharp and aggressively knobbied tires are the way to go.  The flatter and lower the surface the harder it is for those little guys to dig down into the mud and snow.

Disk brakes are a big advantage because they will engage much more quickly and effectively.  It means that you can go into turns and up to barriers at faster speeds and brake later than you can with traditional rim brakes.  Seconds per turn add up to minutes per race.

Patience is your friend.  Take it easy through the technical sections and then sit back on your wheel and kill it in the straights.  CX can be death by a thousand cuts so take your time and take advantage of the mistakes made by those around you.

See you Sunday.


Rob Kelley

Training Bible Cycling

Tuesday CCC Updates

Photo: SnowyMountain Photography

Photo: SnowyMountain Photography

  • What a great two days of racing at the Hilton Indian Lakes Resort hosted by the South Chicago Wheelmen. We saw plenty of great racing with different winners both days in nearly every category. We also saw more than a few series leader jerseys change hands. The racing was so hot that even our USAC midwest regional rep and USADA came out to see what all the buzz was aboutResults links are all here.
  • Next up the CCC travels closer back to the city for Melas CX Basin Racin’. The weather forecast is calling for possibly some precipitation but definitely colder temperatures. We haven’t really needed them yet, so make sure those space heaters are working and dress/pack appropriately.
  • Speaking of Melas CX, the race promoter is still in need of a little help. Volunteers race for free and get lunch. Sign up here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0b45aca6292-melas4 
  • Speaking of signing up, registration for everyone’s favorite post CCC series race, which is also a fundraiser for rad Chicago youth, and also held on a gold course… “Afterglow – A Cyclocross Race” hosted by the other CCC… The Chicago Cuttin’ Crew… is now open on BikeReg here. This is the last official Chicagoland CX race of the year and a great way to have some fun while doing good for the community.
  • Also speaking of signing up, tickets are now on sale on BikeReg for the 2015 CCC Series Awards Party at EJ’s Place in Skokie at noon on Sunday 12/20/2015. Please don’t call it a banquet, there are no black ties or doilies.
  • As the weather starts to turn The Pony Shop is beginning their Overhaul Special. Their special is a pro overhaul for 185.00, normally 250.00 and includes… strip the frame bare of all components, wash and wax the frame and fork, overhaul and or replace the bearings in the headset, bottom bracket, front and rear hub, and in the derailleur pulley wheels, soak all parts in our environmentally friendly ultrasonic parts washer, then reassemble your bike with new cables, housings, and handlebar tape.  This is roughly a six to eight hour job for the mechanics, which is why they choose to do this as a special only during the fall/winter when they have more uninterrupted time to work on your bike.  Parts are not included in the overhaul price. Please email or call the shop with any questions!
  • Speaking of sales… take a look at long time series sponsor Tipping Photography’s new online store.
  • And finally… for everyone worried about their CrossResults.com score and/or CCC points and/or the minutia of our staging protocol… if you weren’t there on Sunday afternoon to witness it first hand, we’d like to point out that Brian Matter’s plans to go mountain biking were cancelled so he decided to race CX, reg’d Day-Of, was staged dead last in the Cat 1/2/3 field, and then proceeded to ride steadily through the entire field to win the race by 11 seconds. While we’ll admit the start and first lap of a CX are very important, the cream always rises to the top.
Photo: SnowyMountain Photography

Photo: SnowyMountain Photography

2015 Indian Lakes Resort Preview

  • #ILRcx More venue/course info here.
  • Preliminary staging is posted here for Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s CCC points will affect Sunday’s staging.
  • The Hilton Indian Lakes Resort still has about two dozen rooms left for Saturday night, please call the front desk directly (630.529.0200) and ask for the race rate.
  • As per usual this time of year the forecast is for wind but temperatures should be quite pleasantSCW asks that everyone take down your tents, all the way, Saturday night. You may leave your tent(s) on premise overnight.
  • There should be a hose available to wash your bike(s), but not in the equipment pit. The hose is located next to the pro-shop just outside the door to registration.
  • Do not bring your bikes inside when coming to the registration room. Please leave them outside. Thanks!
  • Registration is inside, next to the pro shop and the Masters restaurant.
  • Remember to pick up your Sunday bib number on Sunday. You will have a different numbers both days for each race and you will NOT be scored on Sunday if you wear your number from Saturday.
  • No warming up on the fairways or west of the course. The other courses are still open to golfers… yeah, they think we are crazy too for riding our bikes in this type of weather.
  • Please stay off the putting greens at all times.
  • Bring your bathing suit for the pool and hot tub.
  • The Cave Bar will be open as well as an all you can eat buffet in the Masters restaurant.
  • Speaking of the Cave… there will be an informal party Saturday night. Come say hello!
  • The course: Classic ILR course run anti-clockwise. Approximation of this weekend’s course is below and may change slightly from Saturday to Sunday.

Get Your Mojo Back

Remember online Pre-Reg on BikeReg for BOTH DAYS of this weekend’s races closes TONIGHT. You must register separately for BOTH DAYS.

Mojo is a funny thing.  It is, as defined by who the heck knows via the internet, “a magic charm, talisman, or spell”.  It’s an ethereal entity that resides within your body and mind.  At this point in the season some are not feeling it, or about to lose it, and that is a direct result of a flawed training and racing program.

So get up off the couch, stop feeling sorry for yourself and……get back on the couch.  Signs of overtraining include irritability, listlessness, a lack of interest in riding your bike, muscle soreness, muscle fatigue, insomnia and loss of concentration.  It also increases the risk of sickness and injury.  At the least you’ll not have as much fun doing what you love, and at the worst you’ll bail on it completely.

Photo Courtesy of Corey Brink

A more exacting method of identification is to keep track of your Delta Heart Rate.  Take your Resting Heart Rate just after you open your eyes while still laying in bed in the morning.  Get up, walk around and do your thing for a minute or so and then take your heart rate again (Standing Heart Rate).  The difference between the two is the Delta.  Less than 10 is excellent, 10-20 is pretty good, 20+ is a sign that you need a day or two off and 30+ is cause for real concern.  We work with a professional marathon mountain bike racer who came to us with a Delta Heart Rate of about 35.  It took 3 weeks to bring it down to a reasonable level prior to his being able to begin training for the next season.

If you’re seeing signs of any of the above and haven’t layered recovery into your program don’t panic because it’s a very easy fix.  Take a recovery week, forget about cycling for a few days and allow yourself to re-charge:
Monday – off

Tuesday – off

Wednesday – easy 1-1.5 hour ride

Thursday – easy 1-1.5 hour ride

Friday – off

Saturday – easy 1-1.5 hour ride

Sunday – race or 1.5 hour ride with 30 minutes of tempo (zone 3 HR/pwr)

I’m not gonna lie, Sunday is going to feel like a punch to the gut if you decide to race at the end of a recovery week.  There is a physiological cost to a sedentary week.  It is as necessary as training hard though so take the leap and it will pay off during the last few races of this season.

Big thanks to the South Chicago Wheelmen!  Two races in a weekend is more than one club should subject themselves to.  See you at Indian Lakes.


Rob Kelley


Tuesday CCC Updates

Need a wheel? I know a guy. Photo: SnowyMountain Photography

  • We’re not sure how they did it, but Rob Curtis and the Psimet crew managed to find even more bumps to go along with the hills in Emricson Park for their Psi-clocross For Life event. The reversed course direction worked and the weather was fantastic. Results links are here.
  • Next up the CCC has its one and only double race weekend at the Hilton Indian Lakes Resort hosted by the South Chicago Wheelmen. Racing on a golf course at a resort with a bar, pool, and hot tub. Rooms are still available, so make a weekend out of it and meet us at The Cave Saturday night.
  • Remember onling pre-reg closes Wednesday for both days of the Indian Lakes Resort weekend, so don’t delay and reg now.
  • Speaking of pre-reg’ing… there are only 4 races left in the 2015 CCC series. The season is flying by, but there is still plenty of racing and fun to be had.
  • Speaking of fun, the CCC end of season awards party will again be at EJ’s Place in Skokie on Sunday 12/20/2015 in the early afternoon. More details to follow. Good people, good food, and good cheer… and more than a few door prizes.
  • And finally… the holidays are coming soon and we know you have plenty of places to spend your hard earned cash dollars. But if you aren’t giving to one of the several great local charities we’d ask you show some love to our series sponsors that help to make the CCC happened every season. Whether its bike parts, bike accessories, bike coaching, photos of you on bikes, environmental or IT services… there are plenty of great places to spend you money. The CCC greatly appreciates our series sponsors so please support them.

Yes, Andy cleared it! Photo: SnowMountain Photography