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Cycling Fri Dec 02 2011

Riders Ready for Cyclocross Championships


The start of the women's category 4 race at Montrose Harbor in 2010 / Photo: Amy Dykema

Cyclocross is a peculiar discipline in cycling. It requires combining the fitness needed for a road race, the handling skills of off-road riding and the blood of a sailor to tolerate, let alone enjoy, the sport come late November and early December weather.

But a record 622 preregistered riders and two sold out categories at this year's Illinois State Championship shows more and more riders are up for the challenge. Or maybe they're just coming for the taco truck.

The annual race at Montrose Harbor is notorious for brutal weather, be it biting wind off the lake, a high of ten degrees, eight inches of snow or the slippery, cold mud that could result from this weekend's forecast. Chicagoans who traveled to race Jinglecross in Iowa last weekend might be at an advantage on Sunday.

Racing kicks off at 8:45 a.m. with masters 40+ and runs through 3:30 p.m. with the start of the 4B race. The full schedule is here.

The race is also the 12th and final race of the Chicago Cyclocross Cup, and several of the overall series leaders have yet to be decided. Expect fierce competition at the front of the men's category 3, men's category 4 and women's category 4 races on Sunday, as the leaders race for enough points to clinch their category's overall series title. Expect fierce shenanigans during the 4B race, as usual. And, rumor has it; an encore from last year's mariachi band might be on hand to accompany the tacos.

As if early December wasn't enough, this year's cyclocross season extends into January, first with National Championships in Madison, Wis., then Masters World Championships in Louisville, Ky. Racers still have Afterglow and New Year's Resolution, Chicago's first UCI-level race, to keep their legs fresh through to 2012.

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