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Cycling Fri Dec 30 2011

Ringing in the New Year with Cyclocross

handup1.jpg

A Half Acre Cycling racer offers a pickled herring hand-up at a Chicago cyclocross race / Photo: Amy Dykema

Champagne hand-ups? Puff pastries on the podium? No one is quite sure how cyclocrossers' at this weekend's New Year's Resolution race plan to ring in the New Year. But with some of the country's top professionals in town for Chicago's first national-level UCI race, raucous locals no doubt have plans to show off the unique flavor of Chicago's boisterous cyclocross community. Chances are, several resolutions will have to wait until Monday.

Team Rapha-Focus riders Jeremy Powers and Chris Jones are favorites to lead the men's race, joined by Barry Wicks (or Larry Bicks to the locals) of Team Kona and Justin Lindine of Team BikeReg.com-Joe's Garage. For Ryan Trebon of Team LTS-Felt, the race will be a test--his first race back after his successful season was stifled by an injury in mid-November. In the women's UCI race, Sue Butler of River City Bicycles-Ridley and Laura Van Gilder of C3-Mellow Mushroom are expected to be riders to watch.

Both professional and amateur riders alike are prepping for next weekend's National Championships in Madison, Wis., as evidenced by the popularity of the master's fields and the local riders choosing to race the UCI category this weekend. Participating in the UCI category requires a special international racing license.

New Years Resolution race directors have tried to replicate elements of Madison's Nationals course, hoping to best prepare riders for next weekend. Both courses are predominantly "power courses," meaning without rain, snow or ice, only small sections of the course require much technical bike-handling skill. Friday's rain could bring mud to the mix and will likely tamp down the nine sand traps the course runs through. A preview of the course and more details are here.

Races take place at the Indian Lakes Golf Course at the Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale. Races start at 8 a.m. and run until 4:30 p.m. both days, with the women's and men's UCI races starting at 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., respectively.

 
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