- Wow, that was a tough weekend all around. Thanks to the South Chicago Wheelmen for persevering through the weather and still hosting a great double weekend at Pheasant Run Resort. Congrats to everyone who braved the elements and mud to race and spectate. Links to all the results you’re looking for are here.
- Speaking of results, congrats to Tim Strelecki (Masters 35+) and Marcus van Mieghem (Junior Boys 9-14) who both locked up their respective overall titles this weekend. Only 2 races remain and many categories are only separated by a few points so its still anyone’s game! The Men and Women Cat 3’s and Cat 4’s are the closest will likely be decided at Montrose.
- Next up the CCC travels to Wheeling Heritage Park for the 10th stop of the series. Please, please do NOT go to Melas Park or you’ll be riding around the bottom of the basin all by yourself. Online pre-reg closes Thursday evening. Look for the course preview at the normal time on Thursday morning.
- Also with another venue and date change, Afterglow hosted by the Chicago Cuttin’ Crew is moving to Sunday December 17th and back to Douglas Park. This is a great way to wind down after the season and benefits the great programs of West Town Bikes and Blackstone Bicycle Works. Look for more details soon or swing by the pink Cuttin’ Crew tent and make some new friends.
- Sunday December 17th will also be the date of the CCC Awards Party at EJ’s Place in Skokie. Please stop calling it a banquet. Details and tickets will be available soon. Come celebrate with us!
- If you’re not traveling at Thanksgiving remember Friends of Big Marsh is hosting the second annual Black Friday CX Race @ Big Marsh Park Friday November 24th. Donate a bag of non-perishable food items, and receive priority staging. All proceeds from the event will go towards future development of the park. Check out the Facebook event page for details & updates.
- And if that’s not enough CX for you next weekend, Region Racing is hosting Region Riot Cross just over the IN border on Sunday November 26th. Details and online pre-reg are on USAC here.
- And finally… riding through all the mud, rain, sand, grass, and who knows what else this past weekend wreaks absolute havoc on your bike, so make sure to take your ride to your favorite Local Bike Shop ASAP to get it cleaned and tuned up. There’s nothing worse than a bad result due to an avoidable mechanical, so take care of your bike and it will take care of you. Your LBS wants to help you and work on your bike. Many shops like our series sponsors The Pony Shop, Spin Doctors, Main St Bikes, and VeloFix are even running tune up specials to get us all through the end of the year, so take advantage of it.
- Hey everyone, its September… so series CX racing is right around the corner. As of right now pre-reg for all CCC series events is open on BikeReg. Remember to have your USAC annual license number in your rider profile or you will be automatically charged $15 for a One Day license. Also, if you are trying to reg for a category you aren’t allowed to race in you’ll need to write in a reason before pre-reg’ing.
- If you’re reading this on the Internet and not through an RSS reader, you’ve probably noticed the CCC site has a new look. We have lots of fantastic photographers and figured since everyone is riding carbon bikes with disc brakes, one-by drivetrains, and electronic shifting that it was time for a site upgrade as well. Let us know what you think in the comments below. Don’t worry, you can still leave all the comments you want and all the historical content is still available. At the very bottom of the page either click the ‘Older posts’ link, use the ‘Search’ box, or use the ‘Archives’ drop down.
- Calling all sponsors, if you want to be a 2015 CCC Series Sponsor we need to know by 5pm today, at least if you want your logo or name on the t-shirts. Contact us at [email protected]
- Speaking of sponsors, we had a few companies officially join the CCC family this year.
– Ultimate Pro Bikes is a full service shop located in Countryside, nearby Palos Forest Preserve where most of us have spent at least a few hours climbing hills or shredding trails.
- And for those of you keeping track at home, nearly all of last year’s sponsors have returned in one form or another.
- And finally… for all you
slackerpatient riders who have been holding off to purchase or renew your USAC annual license, USAC has a special offer for the 2015 and 2016 season. So now you really have no excuse not to own an annual license.
– Wow what an exciting weekend… and the weather was crazy too! Thanks to promoters Ted Schweitzer and Jeff Provisor, Verdigris-Villiage Cyclesport, Main St. Bicycles, North Branch Cycling and all the volunteers who made Psycho Cross and Carpentersville a success. Saturday was mostly rain but warm(ish) temperatures with some wood chips and slick mud thrown in for good measure. Oh yeah, the flyover too. If you weren’t there on Sunday we had rain, then clouds, then lots of rain, then some farm animals (including llamas), then sun, then a tornado warning (that cut the Cat 1/2/3 race to just 2 laps after 20 minutes), then rain & wind, then clouds, then a whole lot of rain. So yes, it was an exciting weekend. The Carpentersville race even got some press in the Daily Herald.
– Next Sunday the CCC travels to Barlet, IL for stop 6 of the series at ABD Sunrise Park
– As if the weather wasn’t enough we saw multiple Overall Series Standings lead changes this weekend. The 40+ lead went from Newt Cole to Mike Scalise to Michael Heagney. Eric Drummer just barely held on to the 30+ lead. Liz So and Katie Tomarelli extended their leads in the Women 1/2/3 and Women 3 respectively while Danny Warner and John Craychee put vice grips on their 50+ and 60+ leads. Peter Chrapkowski padded his Single Speed lead and Mike Conroy won on Saturday to take the Cat 3 lead and held on to it on Sunday. Katie Mann took over the lead in the Women 4 with a win on Sunday. Maxx Hall continues his domination of the Junior 15-18 category while teammate Gina Johnson leads the Girls 15-18. In Junior 10-14‘s even after a tough Sunday in the mud Juan Gonzalez continues to lead while Danielle Krebs leads the Girls 10-14 category. In the Cat 1/2/3‘s Scott McLaughlin took back the lead from Brian Conant with a win on Saturday only to lose it back to Conant in Sunday’s abbreviated Carpentersville race. And finally, in the Cat 4A‘s Verdigris-Village CX’s
teammates Ken Krebs and BBVP’s Michael Bucholtz continue to battle for the overall lead with Krebs holding on to a slim lead. It should go without saying that while the riders mentioned above are leading the standings we know each of you are pouring your heart and souls into every race, sprinting for your placing whether it is 1st or 91st… and for that we congratulate everyone!
– After a weekend of atrocious weather that will surely gunk up your gears and seize up your cables we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our fantastic Series Sponsor bicycle shops who can and will keep your bikes rolling for the rest of the series…
Iron Cycles – It goes without saying that the 2012 title sponsor Iron Cycles knows a thing or two about cyclocross bikes. Stop by, bring in your bike for some TLC, and check out the bike wash room.
Main Street Bicycles – We wouldn’t be surprised if a few of you just left your mud caked bikes on the front door of Main Street Bicycles on the way home from Carpentersville on Sunday. Jeff and guys are just a pedal stroke away from the Fox River Trail system connecting the entire Fox Valley trail system.
The Pony Shop – Widely regarded as one of the best CX bike shops in the country, Lou and the guys at The Pony Shop have been a part of the Chicago cycling community since 1969. The Pony Shop believes in, rides, wins on, and uses the same products they sell to you.
PSIMET – Not a bicycle shop per se, but Rob Curtis builds wheels with the best of them and does not make compromises.
Spin Doctor Cyclewerks – Since 1996 Spin Doctor Cyclewerks has been offering fine bicycles, quality accessories, and expert repairs to the greater Bartlett cycling community. Owner Greg Anderson also knows how to shred the gnar in the 50+ race.
Higher Gear – Higher Gear is a full-service bike shop with two locations just north of Chicago. Ride into higher gear with us!
Velosmith Bicycle Studio – Also on the North Shore, Velosmith works with cyclists of all types who seek comfort, power, speed, and performance from their bike. Their clients love them because they help them raise the bar on their cycling experience by achieving optimal riding comfort and performance. Fancy carbon helps too!
Beverly Bike and Ski – Located on Chicago’s South side, Beverly Bike and Ski offers bike (and ski) sales and services since 1921.
– And finally… Congratulations Felix.
– Just a quick update for this Tuesday, which is kind of like Friday due to the holiday tomorrow, but is still just Tuesday since we all have to go back to work on Thursday, which is kind of like Monday, but then its actually is Friday… oh bother, let’s get to it.
– Due to another large event schedule at the park, the first race of the 2012 CCC season at Jackson Park has been moved to SATURDAY September 15th. Mark your calendars and don’t show up on Sunday.
– Patriot CX is happening again this year on Saturday September 8th.
– Since several of you asked… Yes, every race in the series counts towards your (and your team’s) overall score… and Yes, we will again be staging by CCC points (which do expire at the end of the season) and CrossResults.com points (which never expire and roll over from one season to the next). At Jackson Park we will likely use some sort of random component for the front row of 8.
– Local junior phenom David Lombardo was profiled in his local paper.
– And finally… Happy 4th of July!
– Well you’ve asked for it for years and this past weekend you finally got some real CX weather worthy of those long sleeve skinsuits. Thankfully it wasn’t too cold, but the rains came and went and came again… and then it rained some more. Even through all of muckity muck over 680 of you toed the line to start the CCC series. The CCC has never concentrated specifically on increasing CCC rider counts, but even we were amazed by how many of you came out to race, heckle, and have fun… especially in the rain.
– Thanks again to xXx Racing for hosting such a great event and specifically race promoters Brian Parker and Blayne Greiner and their right hand man and CX Relay promoter Alan Treuthart. Hosting such a big race is tough enough much less in the soaking rain, and all of xXx pulled together to make the first stop of the CCC a great success.
– Some of you loved her, most of you not so much… but we ‘d like to say a very special thank you to Victoria Seliger for helping us pick numbers for the top 10 call ups all day long in the rain.
– Next up in two weeks is CCC stop #2 Hopkins Park in beautiful Dekalb, IL. All categories are still open, but the Cat 4A’s and B’s are starting to fill up. See below for more exciting details about this year’s race that just can’t wait until next Thursday’s course preview.
$45 CX-specific clean includes:
– Chain and cassette removed and cleaned (customer may need a new quick link depending on chain, slight upcharge)
– Bottom bracket and headset bearings cleaned whenever possible (sealed bottom brackets are limited somewhat)
– Clean/true wheels
– Clean frame
– 48-hour turnaround time or less
This is essentially Iron Cycles’ “Paceline” tuneup for 40% off with added removal of the chain and cassette for cleaning purposes. Rider must have raced a CCC race in the last week. Iron Cycles will take your bike in on Monday or Tuesday and get it primed for the next weekend’s racing, or your favorite CX practice on Wednesday.
– Speaking of series sponsors extending discounts to CCC racers. MNO Sport Chiropractic is offering a $50 account credit to any/all CCC riders who schedule and bring in their race number. The account credit can be used toward chiropractic services regardless if the patient has insurance or not. The credit is only redeemable once regardless of how many races you participate in. MNO is also offering a one-time $10 discount towards an hour massage for CCC racers and staff. Mention this deal when calling to schedule your appointment.
– The next race in the CCC series is Hopkins Park hosted by North Central Cyclery, Half Acre Cycling, and Robots Powered by Love. In addition to the full CCC schedule of races Hopkins Park will again be the venue for the OUILSSSCXC immediately after the Cat 4B race. This race is NOT USAC sanctioned but will be loads of fun. See details here. As an added bonus the men’s and women’s SS winners earn a complimentary entry into the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championship weekend being held November 18-20 in San Francisco, CA. In addition to their entry, the OUILSSSCXC organizers are providing round-trip airfare to the winners, all inclusive! See more details here.
– The trio of Hopkins Park promoters are also upping the ante with payouts in a fun way. The prize for top men and women Cat 3’s in the Cat 1/2/3 races will sort out like this:
– Speaking of race announcements, late last week we received an email from our friends up North extending a welcome to this weekend’s USGP in Madison, WI. Apparently word of the CCC’s brand of fun is spreading far and wide. From the USGP Planet Bike Cup Regional Director Renee Callaway:
The USGP’s Planet Bike Cup would like to invite all the Chicago Cross Cup racers and fans to cross over the Cheddar Curtain and head to Sun Prairie, Wisconsin to race, spectate, heckle and generally bring your brand of merriment to the event. The USGP brings together many of the world’s top racers with US riders like Tim Johnson, Jeremy Powers, Georgia Gould, Kaitie Antonneau, and Jonathan Page racing against Europeans like Bart Wellens, Christian Huele and Caroline Mani. Watching the best in the world duke it out here in the Midwest is a great way to get the season going as is racing on the same course as the pros! The USGP Race Directors know Chicagoland racers bring their own style of fun to cyclocross and we think nothing could make the weekend better than having Wisconsin, Chicago, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota all together in Sun Priaire showing the rest of the country that the upper Midwest isn’t flyover country. Instead this is where you’ll find great cycloross scenes with their own fun loving style of cross racing. Bring your buses, your spam, pancake and bacon hand-ups and make this a USGP everyone will remember. For more info check out http://www.usgpcyclocross.com/races/planet-bike-cup.html or www.madcross.org.
– Also up North… My Wife, Inc. and Crank Daddy’s Bicycle Works in Milwaukee are promoting the WCA Cyclocross Series kick-off race – Cross the Domes the day before Hopkins Park. MWI is again offering IL riders an $8.00 discount off of reg fees when they pre-reg. Use discount code “ITR” for: Illinois Toll Rebate.
– And finally… after this crazy past weekend we figured we could have told you about people falling off their bikes… or just leaving them behind… or movies about bikes… or how excited we were to see Flannel Mike back in action… or all the hand-ups we didn’t see… or how ecstatic we were to see 5 rows deep of Women Cat 4’s… and the same number of juniors… or record numbers of Cat 1/2/3 women… and Cat 3’s… and Masters… or that The Hemme revealed his newest Blue Steel.
But unless you were on the start line of the Cat 4 Women you probably didn’t hear that Vanessa Buccella (Iron Cycles) won the 2011 series T-Shirt design contest and Katie Mann (Tati) designed the series socks. Congratulations to both ladies! It now up to the rest of your to
cheer heckle these ladies and all of their fellow Cat 4 women competitors as they race throughout the season. Both shirts and socks are currently on pre-sale on our Store Page. Shirts will be available at Hopkins Park and socks will be available at ABD Sunrise Park. Shirts will only be on pre-sale through next week and when they are sold out… they’re sold out. So if you want a shirt you need to order it now!
– We are still accepting Series Sponsorships, but we have to send the tshirts to print, so any any further series sponsors will not show up on soft goods or flyers. We are however still working on sponsors for the New Years Resolution. Contact us if you’re interested.
– UVEX – Although CX season here in Chicagoland tends to be dry that, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect your eyes and melon. UVEX comes on board this year as a series sponsor to do both. UVEX, Protecting people.
Higher Gear – Opened in 1993 Higher Gear has always reached out to both families and enthusiasts. They strive to make visiting Higher Gear an enjoyable experience. They don’t care what your cycling credentials are, they’re just interested in finding the right bike for you to meet your goals.
Jewell Event Catering – ‘Cross racers are always hungry. A leader in Chicago Catering Jewell has proudly served top business leaders, royalty and every U.S. President for the last 30 years. No matter how small or large your event, know that it will be handled by the best. We wonder if Jewell ever served up a bacon wrapped Twizzler stuffed Twinkie to Bill Clinton.
Micheal Heagney Professional Real Estate Services: Koenig & Stray – Got a house to sell… or looking for a nice one to purchase. Mike’s your guy (and a darn fast bike racer as well).
Dan Wellisch: Hebalife Independent Distributor – Changing people’s lives by providing the best nutrition and weight-management products in the world.
– Now that we have all that out of the way (our series would not happen without all of our generous sponsors)… let’s get down to racing!
– Looks and sounds like everyone had a great time at Patriot CX. We hope the event grows over time and is a great addition to the Chicagoland cyclocross calendar.
– The Half Acre Cycling women’s and trans clinic sounds like it went well too. We can’t wait to see all of the ladies racing throughout the season.
– Jackson Park starts up the CCC series this coming Sunday in… you guessed it… Jackson Park, Chicago, IL. JP is one of the original CCC races (from way back in 2004), is hosted by xXx Racing, and is always a show. With >487 pre-reg’d riders, including sold out Cat 4A and 4B fields, not to mention one of the largest Cat 3 fields we’ve ever seen, this year looks to be no different. As always check back here on the CCC site Thursday morning for the usual course preview.
– Speaking of Jackson Park, West Town Bikes will be bringing several racers, and more than a few spectators/hecklers out for our first race. Aside from spreading the word of getting kids (and non-kids too) on bikes and looking for partnership opportunities, WTB will be accepting tax deductible donations on site. See cousin Mikey at the race for details.
– The riders have spoken, and by the narrowest of margins we’ve ever seen the design to the left has won the 2011 CCC Series t-shirt design contest. We won’t reveal the winner’s name until the start line at Jackson Park… but if you want to know who it is you’ll need to be near the start line around 12:45pm when the designer will receive their call-up. The shirts are going to print as we write this, will be available for pre-order on the store page later this week, and should be ready at Hopkins Park in beautiful Dekalb, IL.
– Speaking of call-ups… if you were at the CX Relay Race way back in August (has it been that long?) at the start of the Cat 4 race xXx Racing announced a special prize. The winners of the Cat 4 relay race would receive call ups at the CCC Jackson Park race… but in the Cat 3 race. We are happy to announce that both of xXx Racing’s own Tracy Dangott and Chris MacFarland have accepted the “challenge” of upgrading to the Cat 3’s and will receive call ups at 11:45am in front of their 72 peers. Good luck guys!
– Embro & Tshirts & Socks… oh my! Pre-order all your CCC goodies (okay, except for the t-shirts) now on the Store Page. You’ll need a PayPal account or have a friend who does. The Pome d’Émbre is here and orders received before Saturday will be at each Sunday race. We have to work out colors, cotton blend, pricing, etc… so the shirts will be ready by Dan Ryan Woods and distributed by the Spidermonkeys. The socks are being stitched up right now and will be ready by ABD Sunrise Park. All items will be available for pick up at CCC races. We will ship by mail, but postage is extra and on you, and please contact us directly if you live in Illinois and need your goods delivered by mail.
– Not CX but cycling related, the League of Illinois Bicyclists needs our help to reach the required 1,500 reservations to make the IL “Share the Road” license plates a reality. See their reservation page here.
– For all you metal heads out there… Dream Theater‘s new album comes out today. Good stuff. That’s all.
– And finally… just in case you juniors our there aren’t excited about the series leader jerseys (to be revealed on Sunday), the Spidermonkeys have whipped up some fantastic looking medals as well and will be distributing Goose Island soda to the podium.
– At the beginning of the summer we were worried we might only have a few sponsors this season due to the weak economy. Not only have nearly all 2010 sponsors returned but we’ve added a few new members to the CCC family as well. Please see our series sponsorship proposal here or if you’d like to be a part of the big show, see our New Year’s Resolution proposal here.
– Rob Curtis, founder & owner of CCC series sponsor Psimet Wheels was interviewed in CX Magazine. He discussed wheels, CX, racing, and how during his first ever CX race he “… wasn’t even a full lap in before I found myself feeling like a kid who just found out that girls smell nice.” We wonder what flavor of embro Rob was thinking of? In any event, big thanks to Rob and Psimet for supporting pedal bike racing in IL and giving the CCC a nice shout out.
– The biggest name in bikes (get it?) Giant puts it name in the ring for the 2011 season. RIDE LIFE. RIDE GIANT.
– Back again after spending a summer on the road ripping rider’s legs off at will, Enzo’s Buttonhole Chamois Cream returns to please everyone’s hinter regions. Look for Enzo and his Psimet masters crew to tear up the old guy fields this year as they prepare for CX Masters Worlds in Louisville in January.
– New to sponsoring the CCC but no stranger at all to a hops fueled 5 o’clock Happy Hour, Smart Bike Parts officially joins the CCC sponsorship family.
– A few more races (Hopkins Park, Dan Ryan Woods, & Carpentersville) are now open for online pre-reg on BikeReg.com.
– Half Acre Cycling hosts their Ladies Cross Skills Clinic on Saturday 9/10/11 in Humboldt Park. In addition to Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com’s Kaitie Antonneau, French CX National Champ Caroline Mani will help lead the clinic. Reg is open on BikeReg here.
– We know many of you have been diligently practicing dis/remounts, riding endless circles in the grass, shining your shiny steads, and working on your heckling… so get ready for the first real CX race of the season. xXx Racing unofficially opens the CX season here in Chicago with their Cyclocross Relay Race in Jackson Park (just South of the city). The CoEd Open main event has filled up but there are still plenty of spots in other categories. We’ll have a full course preview at the regular time and place on Thursday morning, but make sure to read through xXx Racing’s official flyer for a few specifics about this unique race.
– Speaking of course previews… NCC, HAC, and Robots <3 checked in this week to tell us that at CCC #2 Hopkins Park in Dekalb they will once again have the NCC/HAC flyover with some improvements to help those that are not confident with the descent. Anyone that wants to come out Saturday night is welcome to join the setup crew in having a beer and riding a mechanical bull Saturday night.
In addition, NCC/HAC will again host the Official Unofficial Illinois State Single Speed Cyclocross Championship, which will go off AFTER the 4B race at 4:15pm. It will feature a 30-minute race on a shortened course with some *interesting* features. Note this is NOT a USAC-sanctioned race. Allowed bicycles must have at least two wheels, at least one rider, and no more than one usable gear. Registration is on-site only and $15… The “race” is open class, men and women of any age are eligible.
– And finally… this is absolutely the last call for 2011 Series t-shirt and sock designs. Remember the winner of each design gets a shirt/pair of socks with their winning design, free entry into one race of their choice, a much sought after call up, and most importantly… adoring admiration (read: heckles) from the entire CCC populous. We’ve received a handful of entries but will continue to accept designs until Midnight this coming Sunday (8/28/11).
– Lots of series sponsors from last year keeping finding their way back into the dirt and grass while a bunch of new friends are joining the CCC family. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention all of the 2010 sponsors who graciously came back for more. Sheila Moon, CarboRocket, Mad Alchemy, Main Street Bicycles, Mox Multisport, The Pony Shop, Van Wagner, Verdigris Custom Homes, Spin Doctor Cyclewerks, BikeReg.com, and Tipping Point Photography are all back again. New for 2011 the CCC welcomes:
Alchemy Bicycle Co. – Last year somewhere in the depths of Texas word started to spread from town to town that Chicago was the place to race (and heckle) CX. The message eventually reached Austin and the good folks at Alchemy Bicycle Co. knew they had to be involved. From Carbon to Titanium to Steel each of Alchemy’s frames is handmade in Austin, TX by their team of craftsmen dedicated to building perfectly fit performance bicycles. Check them out at AlchemyBicycles.com
Well-Fit Triathlon and Training – Located in the Western Loop, Well-Fit’s mission is to be the “premier coaching company creating world champions and everyday heroes.” Come to think of it, the CCC views its riders in much the same light from the fastest Cat 1 to the last finisher in the 4B’s. Well-Fit is lucky to have CCC regulars Ted Ramos and Russ Kuryk as coaches at the facility, which may be a perfect place to hit the trainer in the depths of winter… or right before the New Year’s Resolution races.
– We’ve always got room for one more, but if you’d like to be a 2011 series sponsor please hurry as we need to order up t-shirts soon and we want all sponsor logos to be represented. 2011 series sponsorship info is here. Sponsorship info for our New Year’s Resolution race is here. If you’d like to be involved in any way please email us at [email protected].
– Speaking of t-shirts, we only received two entries in the 2011 CCC t-shirt design competition. You all must be out racing and riding your bikes or something. Maybe your dogs ate your homework? In any event, in order to have a deeper pool of t-shirt designs we’re pushing back the deadline 2 weeks to midnight on Sunday September 4th. This means we won’t have the CCC socks until after the start of the season, but you won’t need 18″ wool SockGuys until at least the end of October anyway.
– Last week we told you about Cyclo-Cross Sitters who will watch your little ones… but what to do if you want to get your kid(s) racing? Paul Swinand is back again can help with his Friday evening kids cross training Beginning Cycling Training at the Northbrook Velodrome starting the 2nd week in September.
– Last week we also mentioned inviting food trucks to races. Well, wouldn’t you know it 694 Wine and Spirits made it really easy for you. Stop by the Food Truck A Go-Go every Saturday in August and September and invite your favorite truck. Coincidentally coinciding with the start of CX season? We think not! Don’t forget the schedule.
– Online pre-reg on BikeReg.com is available for about half the series here. Though not part of the CCC series, reg for Patriot CX and the xXx Relay CX race are also open. The Co-Ed race is full (xXx will run a waitlist on race day) but there are plenty of spots in the other categories.
– And finally… we know many of you have been getting your CX rides ready for the season. We’d love to see what they look! Please post links to glamour shots of your bike(s) in the comments below or Tweet a picture and include our @ChiCrossCup tag so we can retweet!
Earlier this year as we at the CCC started planning out the 2010 season we decided we wanted to offer more to our riders but needed a little extra cash to pay for things like stakes (which you all love to break hundreds of every year), course tape, flags, bib #’s, music, more flags, more stakes, Snuggies, and a few other items we haven’t yet revealed. But when we put together our sponsorship proposal we weren’t sure what kind of response we would get… if any at all. Luckily for everyone we have a great community of not only racers, promoters, spectators, and hecklers… but of series sponsors as well. At the top of that list for 2010 is Brandon Elliott, who literally called us the day we posted the series sponsorship proposal and said he wanted to make Iron Cycles the 2010 CCC Series Title Sponsor.
We recently sat down with Brandon to find out a little more about him, Iron Cycles, and what’s behind those flashy orange & black skinsuits.
Q: Everyone involved with the series greatly appreciates Iron Cycles stepping up to be the 2010 CCC series title sponsor, what inspired you to step up in such a big way?
A: Working in a shop doesn’t allow me a ton of free time in the summer months when everyone else is racing road, tri, crits, etc. Long training weeks aren’t all that easy in the summer either, so getting in short and intense training rides fit my schedule. I got into bike racing with some of our teammates on mountain bikes. Unfortunately hitting the trails can’t happen all of the time, so cyclocross filled that dirtless void.
When I thought about it, I could train through the summer pretty appropriately for cyclocross, then actually have time to race in the fall, it all made sense! Pretty much everyone at Iron Cycles is racing in the 2010 CCC series, we’re all addicts, and spend all week turning wrenches while talking ‘cross.
Q: In what ways do you see a return for your investment into this growing sport?
A: Honestly, sponsoring the CCC wasn’t an ROI kind of proposition. Seeing all cycling events succeed does help my business, but there are plenty of other events and causes we could have sponsored. I wanted to sponsor the CCC because I knew it was my main focus, all of my cycling friends would be there, and it promotes a very healthy and competitive environment.
Q: As a new(ish) shop, you have built a great following in a short period of time, what do you owe that to?
A: I’d like to think the enthusiasm we have for bikes shines through. While all of us at the shop do or have raced, we all regularly bike-commute as well. Being able to sincerely share our passion with everyone who comes through the door seems to really show that we practice what we’re preaching. Before Iron Cycles, and since then really, I’ve been into a lot of shops where it was painfully obvious the people there didn’t ride, WE DO RIDE! Not that there is anything wrong with that, but when someone is trying to sell me bikes or gear I want to know that they are out there using what they are selling. We don’t spend a lot of time talking about building wheels or gluing tires without showing up to race on them, and I think people notice that. Cusomters know if I’m gluing up some tubular tires onto my Zipp wheels, I’m going to be racing, not just talking about it.
Q: There are lots of great bike shops in Chicago. Do you interact with other shops? Trade techniques, product reviews etc?
A: HA! I can’t help but to assume there are a couple of shop owners out there tired of hearing from me! I’ve done my best to be as upfront and honest with other shop owners who show the same respect to me. Chicago is a big city and there is a lot of business to go around, so I’ve worked hard to build relationships with other local shops. I feel there are a few who have been especially respectful with territory lines, ideas, and support. Lou (The Pony Shop), Manuel (Johnny Sprockets), and Amy (MOX) have all been especially supportive.
Q: What has been the more memorable experiences you have had in the CCC series over the past few seasons?
A: Going 12 rounds wrestling my bike a couple of weeks ago rings a bell! That photo has found its way onto the CCC website as well as a few email strings I’ve been included on. I doubt I’ll forget going should-to-shoulder with a xXx’er in Northbrook last year through the sand, mostly because he edged me out at the line! At the top of the list though was getting my first top-10 this year and when I crossed the finish line saw my little baby there waiting!
Q: You not only own and run Iron Cycles, but you also race (quite well) every weekend have a little one at home, and just bought a house. What’s your secret to fitting it all in?
A: I wish I could say it was all my doing, but it’s my support crew. First and foremost is my wife who lets me sneak out for long weekend rides all summer and doesn’t complain when the alarm goes off at 5 am. She takes care of the 70% of my life outside of work. She does all of the tough stuff and just lets me do my thing. I get to come home beat up from riding or working and play with my awesome baby girl, who is always happy because my wife is taking care of her.
After her come the guys at the shop. I know if there is something I need done, they can be trusted to do it well. Chase and Steve are both there not only doing their jobs, but coming up with new and creative processes and equipment we can implement. They know bikes, equipment, and how to fix them both. I’m also lucky enough to have a few guys from the team who were enthusiastic to work in the shop as well, and while they aren’t working full-time, they are worth their weight in gold when it comes to getting all of the loose ends tied up at the end of a busy day.
Following close on their heels are my parents an in-laws. My dad has a great business mind, my mom helps me with my people skills. I call them pretty much daily with questions or looking for advice and ideas. My in-laws have helped calm Nisha’s nerves about me being self-employed and have supported us as a family. Without a solid home life, the professional life would be too tough.
After them comes Brian Conant. But why thank him, he’s coaching all of my competition as well!
Q: What special services/products does Iron Cycles offer to the cross community that may be unique or some people may not be aware of?
A: A big avenue for us has been our training studio, which isn’t the most common thing for a shop to have. I’ve been a certified personal trainer since college, adding a fitness portion to the bike shop was always part of my plan. When we made the move into our new store I decided to take it by the reigns and do something different. It’s not a huge profit center for us, but it’s something we get to use personally very often and a few select members get to use as well. Having a group of 5-6 friends to ride with indoors seemed to be much more productive than jumping on a trainer in the basement solo.
A lot of people don’t like trainers, but I’ve learned to be friends with it. The Computrainers allow you to get in a very specific workout and know that you’re not slacking, which is pivotal to time-crunched athletes. Time well spent on the trainers will allow you to dial in your fitness.
Q: What is one of the more important necessities for your race daily routine?
A: Caffeine. And a good warmup. Last year my fitness wasn’t even close to race-worthy, so my warmups were weak in fear of tiring myself out before the whistle was blown. This year is very different (again with the BSC Coaching!), and a good warmup now will make or break my result. Oh, and tire pressure. It’s amazing how much 1-2 psi can mean to your race. My dad was my pit crew in Campton and he scoffed at me when I said “30 psi front, 31 psi rear.” He couldn’t believe there would actually be a noticeable difference. I promise you, there is.
Q: What is your best cross specific tip for bike set up?
A: It’s all about the tires. Light wheels are great too, but the wrong tires will make your race miserable. Once you have the tire issue under control, look to your brakes. Cyclocross bikes are notorious for brake chatter, I see it every weekend. But the right combination of brake setup, pads, and rims will all but eliminate that. No brake chatter will lead to much more confident riding. I don’t want to jinx myself, but my Focus has yet to chatter, not once!
Q: What are your thoughts on handups? Are you more of a cash, food, beverage, or anything goes kinda thing?
A: I wish I could say I had a strong opinion, but no one is ever giving handups during the 30+ races! Going off with the 30+ guys at 9:45 means most people haven’t even arrived yet, so we don’t get anything handed up. If I had to side one way, I’d say handups are a go as long as they don’t provide an unfair advantage to any one racer. Dollar bills, twinkies, bacon, spaghetti, fire away!
Q: One of your women riders was the subject of the CCC’s 2010 billboard. What went through your mind when you saw that picture? Have you found the billboard for yourself and had your picture taken in front of it?
A: First thing I thought, “Why am I not the one on there?!” Then I realized there are about 500 other racers each weekend that would make that billboard much more attractive than I! Kristina sure has drawn a lot of press for us with the billboard and magazine cover, so she deserves a special shout-out on that front. I was really excited to see it, something like that adds legitimacy in my eyes to what I’m doing at Iron Cycles. Sometimes I get caught up in the little details, but a billboard makes you step back and just sort of smile.
It took me a bit to get down there, but I finally made it last week. My wife went by, actually she passes it every day on her way to work. My parents came into town and went down there, they are always happy to see something new for Iron Cycles, I think they might have been the most excited out of everyone!
Q: What is in store for Iron Cycles in 2011?
A: We just started carrying Felt bikes, and the 2011’s are just coming in. Team Iron Cycles is growing and branching out, so watch out for them. We’re looking forward to another great indoor riding season in the training studio, the weather is just now coming around for that. I have a few other things that’ll be coming around soon that I won’t mention quite yet. And hopefully 2011 will allow us to sponsor the CCC again!
So there you have it. Look for Brandon and the rest of the Iron Cycles cyclocross team at the next race and swing by and say hi.
– Thanks again to Rob Kelley and Bicycle Heaven for upping the ante another year at Campton Cross. A slightly new course used many of the favorite and classic parts of the park, while a few new sections challenged and delighted… as did the bag piper! There were costumes in nearly every category, and 454 racers toed the line. Rob and Bicycle Heaven also chipped in an extra $500 to the WBR pot, helping us get even closer to our season long goal of raising $5k!
– Weekend Update: We’re sorry we can’t find links to everyone’s costumes… but you all looked amazing… much better than these people! Sister Sprocket got knocked up, while ghosts roamed the course. We’re not sure what happened to this guy, but you really don’t want to know what’s in that bottle. Luke Skywalker (above left) showed up and won the best costume award (thanks for making sure Yoda was safe with a helmet) and we heard he was headed to the Death Star Canteen shortly afterwards for some Penne alla Arrabiata. Frenchy upgraded and went straight to the
front middle of the Cat 1/2/3’s, while eventual race winner Mike Phillips showed off his mtb skills by bunny hopping the barriers! The Hemme is back and showed Rassi how’s to show off Blue Steel. Brandon Leach made his final CCC appearance before shipping off to Norway (we’ll miss you B!) and Soda Popinksi fought his way to his first CCC Cat 3 podium. Gumby stayed at home, but Pokey made it to the race. Buzz Lightyear flew to the top of the juniors podium, even after a 2nd turn tumble… but this weekend’s sportswomanship award definitely goes to Tess Anderson… check out Spin Doctor Cyclewerks’ FB page for the reason why. Meanwhile an Ooompa Loompa was dancing through the Women 1/2/3’s but couldn’t quite make it to the podium to enjoy a CCC Snuggie! The scarecrow used his brain to win some Mad Alchemy and Tati-bot made his debut. Nixternal is always willing to lend a hand to the 4B’s, even if its only a liquid bandage (when is someone going to bring score cards for face plants??)… but Dave Knauff is a true man for others. As far as we know, #532 kept his cookies down… but it looks like he had some trouble with another sensitive area. Magnum P.I. flew in from Hawaii, but still couldn’t win the heaviest bike award… which went to Junior Ryley Zeller.
– Up next this coming weekend, the CCC heads North to Woodstock where Dr. Jim Kearns and the crew from Psimet Custom Wheels have a few new tricks (and maybe treats) up their collective sleeves. Just a reminder that alcohol is “NOT allowed” in Emricson Park. We know some of you will still sneak in an Old Style or PBR… so please be on your best behavior and clean up after yourselves. Look for the course preview on Thursday at 9am.
– There’s quite a spread in the November Chicago Athlete about the CCC… in fact we’re on the cover! Gihugimous thanks to ABD’s Gina Kenny for helping with our response to the magazine.
– For those of you into photography and bikes (we think there are a few of you out there) Thought You Knew has shot and will be selling their TyK 2011 Men & Women PinUp calendars soon. Check out the FB page here. As the name implies, these aren’t your typical pin-ups and Johnny Sprocket‘s own Becky Welbes is Ms. October. 100% of sales go straight to the Chicago Women’s Health Center in Wrigleyville, a non-profit health care and education center that has been providing sliding scale care to women since 1975. TyK’s Gala launch party will be held at COOP on Fulton Market on Friday November 19th, followed by a Sadie Hawkins Style Ride on Saturday, and then Bike Polo Friendlies in Garfield Park late afternoon Sunday. So if you’re stuck in the city and not able to race Northbrook, swing down and say hello to TyK.
– In case you were living under a rock last week, we’re sure you’ve all heard that the USAC CX national championships will be held just North of the Cheddar Curtain in Madison, WI in 2012 & 2013. Nationals are also being pushed back to January (they are currently held in December). 2012 races will be held January 4th-8th in the Badger Prairie/Reddan Park. We’re not yet sure what that means for the CCC, but if we were betting people (we’re really not) we’d bet there might be a few more races in the Chicagoland area in December and January to keep everyone’s CX legs sharp and entice non-locals to see how we roll here in the Midwest. More to come later.
– VeloNews recently ran a great article from Leonard Zinn on fork chatter and cantilever brake set-up (specifically series sponsor Avid’s new Shorty Ultimates). VeloNews and others also ran an article detailing a bunch of changes being made to the USAC rulebook. Juniors, Helmet Cam-er’s and Single Speeders will want to take notice.
– And finally… speaking of USAC rules… let’s have a quick chat about hand-ups. Our USAC officials have asked us to remind you that food and drink hand-ups are technically considered feeds in CX, which are specifically forbidden in the USAC rulebook unless allowed and announced by the chief referee prior to the race start due to high temperatures. However we all know hand-ups happen in the CCC and we’re not naive enough to pretend the CCC’s success in the past few years isn’t owed in at least some way to the fun, excitement, and shenanigans that the 4B’s bring to each event.
We here at the CCC
think know that cyclocross is supposed to be hard yet fun at the same time… but there always needs to be a good balance between the two to ensure rider safety and to make sure no rider is given an unfair advantage. However, that balance doesn’t necessarily need to be the same in every category due to the speeds (or lack there of) involved. So how do we justify letting Cat 4’s take hand-ups but not the Cat 1/2/3’s? We think neither the “rider safety” nor the “competitive advantage” issues are being violated in the less experienced categories and we and the USAC officials are usually watching closely to make sure things don’t get out of hand… and quite frankly you all do a great job of policing yourselves anyway.
So for those people who may gripe about not allowing illegal hand-ups in the Masters, W123, 3’s, and Men 1/2/3’s… we’ll remind you first that our USAC officials don’t have to allow them at all in any race, and 2nd, there are many races around the country where hand-ups are not allowed at all… even in the 4’s… so we’re all pretty lucky here in Chicagoland. We’ll also remind everyone that non-food hand-ups are technically not illegal (since just about anyone would have a hard time reasoning that a dollar bill is considered a feed)… and from some other grumblings we’ve heard, we’re pretty sure the fast guys and gals would appreciate $20 and $50 hand-ups anyway.
So, to be clear as mud…
Categories higher than 4 = hand-ups not okay
Cat 4 = what hand-ups… we didn’t see any hand-ups…
Great… now that we have that out of the way… let’s go race our bikes and have fun!