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Cycling Mon May 19 2008

Register Now for Chicago Criterium and Bike the Drive

Tired of driving out to the far reaches of Chicagoland in order to get your bike racing fix in? Well, register to race in the Chicago Criterium on July 37, 2008 and you won't have to go farther than Grant Park in downtown Chicago. With the start and finish line on Columbus Drive by Buckingham Fountain, the flat and fast 1.1 mile race course looks to offer enough challenges in the form of sharp corners and straightaways long enough to let the peloton get a fair amount of steam. Register now, because the fields are filling up fast, and only a handful of slots in the Men's Category 5, with two heats of 50 racers apiece, remain.

One of the best aspects about criterium racing is that when your race is done, you can pick a spot and watch racers in other categories duke it out. The men's Pro/1/2 and women's 1/2/3 categories are often showcases of speed, precision and teamwork; the lower categories more of an anarchic free-for-all. The promise of an "Expo and Festival", with details yet to be announced, indicates that the entertainment may extend beyond people in tight clothes riding bicycles around in a big circle.

Pre-registration will soon end for this upcoming Sunday's Bank of America Bike the Drive event, which closes the length of Lake Shore Drive to automobile traffic and opens it up to bicyclists for the morning. Sign-up and receive a t-shirt and entrance into a post-ride festival. The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, which receives a large amount of its operating budget from the Bike the Drive event, uses the funds to support its bicycling advocacy programs and initiatives. The cost to register ranges from $35, all the way up to $75 for a "Gold Package", which includes a CBF membership and entry the Boulevard Lakefront Tour later in the year on September 7.

 
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