Chicago Cyclocross Cup State Championships Ride

Race Venue

2011 Illinois State Cyclocross Championships – CCC #12
Presented by
Turin- December Cyclo-Cross NFP
Chicago, IL
Sunday, December 04, 2011

USA Cycling Permit # 2011-2775

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Spectatorisms

Cyclocross Championship Participants

Turin sponsored this years championships held in the Montrose Harbor Park just south of the harbor dry dock itself. When we arrived we made the “mistake” of crossing over to the park area via the underpass leading towards the harbor. This placed us at the bottom of the race hill climbing venue (Cricket Hill) and a far ways away from the flatter circuits. So we backtracked and rode the streets (Montrose Drive) into the tented area and watched the races with a throng of urging on their friends and team mates.

To first timers it all smacks of controlled chaos and undue suffering. The heat we were watching contained men, women and juniors racing around what can only be described as the brainchild of a drunken sailor aboard a storm tossed ship. In the end it was something that brought back memories of the years I spent as a junior high cross country coach. But I was eventually recalled from my reveries by the creeping numbness from cold that was threatening to seize my joints. So we packed up and returned to the van near the Clock Tower.

Note: My still shots of the cyclocross competitors “left me flat”. The light today was dull and the sky was quite overcast. For that reason the camera shutter speed was probably too slow to freeze the riders in place. I should have “panned” with them to blur the background but keep them in relatively sharp focus. Oh well! Here are some tips that you might find useful in avoiding what I did not. Here too is a PDF version of those same tips (Cycling Photography Tips | Sports Photography Tips).

Native Foods Ride

Connie At Native-Foods-Cafe

We took stock of the degree of discomfort we were feeling and decided to ride ahead to Native Foods Cafe in Wicker Park. But frankly my route was pretty sloppy. I was adventuresome enough to leave the Chicago Lakefront Trail a bit earlier than usual and got off onto side streets with which I was unfamiliar. We more or less stair-stepped southwest of the Clock Tower in search of either Milwaukee or North Avenue. We found North Avenue at last and turned the corner where Rapid Transit Cyclery sits.

By the time we reached the cafe a couple of minutes later we were more than ready to pop in and place an order. As usual the bikes draw the stares of the crowd inside the cafe. But we are greeted warmly by the wait staff who by now know us on site and several of which are cyclists and thus do not find our winter riding bizarre.

Our waiter in fact was more than a bit interested in the race we had just witnessed. Perhaps he will get a chance next season to witness the event first hand. For now he was content to listen to me prattle on about it as a means of vicarious enjoyment.

I noticed that the wall of the cafe nearest us was filled with the usual chalk drawings seen all over the place. What was new was that I noticed the name of the artist. Her name is Amanda Paulson and she does very nice artwork. You can view some of it here on her website.

When our food was brought out I was famished. The cold seems to do that to me. We ate with relish and despite the need to get back to the van before dark it was difficult to leave the warmth of the indoors. But leave we did and before long were crossing onto the Chicago Lakefront Trail at Fullerton having passed through the Conservatory area of Lincoln Park.

Back at the van we packed up and drove south to Taylor Street for coffee before heading back home along Cermak Road. It had been a wonderful day to be out and about (plenty of dog owners seem to have decided likewise). Hope yours was an active weekend as well.

Cheers!

Cyclometer Info

Distance: 15.4 miles
Time: 1h 58m 01s