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Thursday, July 7

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Cycling Mon Sep 13 2010

Ramping Up

In case one hasn't been paying attention, cyclocross is one of Chicago's more popular, err...more anticipated, amateur sports. We do a good game of talking 'cross here in Tailgate, but really, the sport has seen a huge amount of attention and what was once a weird splinter discipline of cycling is now something that people exclusively train for. This Sunday's race in Jackson Park is almost sold out and October 3rd's race at Hopkins Park in Dekalb is getting there.

And just to think that five years ago, CX races in the region were lucky to have 30 people show up.

With that popularity, it's worthwhile to get on top of registration, especially if you're a rank Category 4 male. Despite two fields, the Cat. 4 slot is filling up. Shoot, even the Cat. 4 female category is getting tight. Just a year ago, one could expect to register on-site the day-of. No more. This is frustrating news if your weekend plans are in the lurch 'til Friday evening, but like all things popular, you've got to get in first if you want to get in at all.

Also important is practice! Cyclocross is a technical sport -- not as technical as mountain biking or BMX, but you've got to have a handle on how to make your bike move. You ought to have a passing fluency with Body English to hustle along in CX. Jumping barriers is the most obvious technical hurdle, but also low-speed negotiations over slippery, muddy surfaces can also prove especially gravitationally challenging.

A good practice session is xXx-Racing/Athletico's clinic at Cricket Hill (the hill between Montrose and Wilson on the lakefront) at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays or at James Park in Evanston (the corner of Oakton and Dodge) also at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. There, some of the faster and better area riders will show the ropes to absolute beginners and then get into the mix with a practice race. It's good fun and a great learning tool. It's one thing to watch videos on Youtube of CX riders doing dismounts and remounts, another to actually see someone that's good at it do it.

On another, slightly different note, they're looking for the King of Dirt this Saturday here in Darren, IL. Yes! A BMX race and competition and likely one of the last of the year.


If you've been getting dirty at the Gardens, this could be a good way to showcase those skills.

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