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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, September 27

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Cycling Thu Nov 19 2009

Avenue of Bacon

Things have gotten really crazy in Chicago's cyclocross races. Mad crashes, a few ambulance rides, and of course, the Avenue of Bacon. Whereas in the Tour de France, the course on the climbs winnows down by the crowds to a small thread of pavement, in Chicago, it's the same, albeit enhanced with fried pork product. Yes, bacon. Bacon, and the dispensing of bacon into racers' mouths, has somehow become the defining characteristic of this madcap 2009 'cross season. And it's even now featured on a billboard.

There are only two more races left at which to savor the bacon and mud, this Sunday's blast in Woodstock, and then the Illinois State Championships on December, 6 at Montrose Harbor.

It's a little bittersweet to be running down to the tail end of the all-too-brief Chicago 'cross season. It's such a shame that such fun only lasts for about two months before it says goodbye. Racing mountain, road, and track is good fun, but in the parking lot before and after we're talking about how we can't wait for 'cross. We miss the racing and the challenge of riding all-out for 30-60 minutes, but we love being able to have fun after our race is done. Hanging out at crits and the track is a good time, hanging out at road races, not so much. But 'cross -- you actually can become part of the racing as a spectator. In Spring, when I'm off the back of a hilly road race in Wisconsin or Ohio, I'll be muttering to myself or to anyone nearby, "I'm putting up with this to get ready for 'cross."

On other sad news, Roger Delanghe, local cycling official and founder of the Quad Cities Criterium, has passed.

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