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Cycling Fri Feb 12 2010

Gapers Block Crit Series is GO

So, get this... Gapers Block is sponsoring a bike racing series. That's right, everyone's favorite Chicago website is the headline sponsor of a week-long series of criterium races in Calumet Park in southeastside Chicago from March 22-26. Just like last year, these races are for beginner competitive cyclists who are new to the sport and are looking to get some experience ahead of the spring and summer racing season.

Pre-registration for this low-cost race series is $50 for men and $15 for women for all five days (USAC license required to pre-reg). That's right, if you're a woman you can race for $3 a day -- there is no other racing in the area that is that cheap. Day-of registration is a bit more at $20 per male and $10 per female. Even if you can only race a few days of the series, it behooves you to pre-reg and get the good deal. Last year, many racers did just that -- they registered for the entire series as a failsafe, but opted to skip a race when life or fatigue got the better of them.

The course follows the Calumet Park south loop, a .8 mile of flat, smooth pavement with no tricky corners and great sightlines. See the map of the course here.

The nightly race schedule is as follows:

6pm: Registration & course open
6:15pm: Men's 4/5 (beginners) -- 30 min - field limit 50
6:45pm: Women's 3 (intermediate) - 30 min - field limit 50
6:46pm: Women's 4 (beginners) -- 30 min - field limit 50
7:15pm: Men's 4/5 (beginners) - 30 min - field limit 50

Getting to Calumet Park is not very hard by bike -- it's a nice 12 mile ride from the loop -- but by car, it's better to get better directions as most online mapping resources will have drivers geton the Skyway (and spending money on tolls unnecessarily).

Try this instead:

Exit the Dan Ryan !-94 at 63rd (exit 58B), go east on 63rd, south on
King, and take South Chicago Ave. Then left on 95th which leads into the park.

Expect some awesome swag for prizes, maybe some brews, and of course, awesome racing.

See you there.

 
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