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Bicycling Mon Mar 30 2015

Race the 2015 Gapers Block Criterium

Half Acre Cycling Gapers Block CritsStill in your winter malaise? Haven't really prepared for bike racing season? Well your chance is next week with Half Acre Cycling at the 2015 Gapers Block Criterium in Calumet Park, 9801 S. Avenue G, starting Monday, April 6 and running through April 9. For four days, racers of all genders interested in criterium racing can come gain experience and motivation to get ready for the upcoming racing season. Registration costs $40 for women's cat 5, $60 for men's cat 4/5 or 5.

Jake Payne

Chicago Mon Apr 14 2014

Inaugural Be The Match Starts Chicago In Right Direction

Finish.jpg It was a blustery spring morning on Saturday as more and more people approached the tent area at Montrose Harbor. The sun was beginning to peak out, and the warmest outdoor temperature since last October put a smile on everyone's face.

In all reality, the weather could have been 40 degrees with rain, but it wouldn't have mattered. A 5K run and 1K walk to benefit finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases was about to start, and the warmth of community and togetherness provided enough energy to power the United Center.

In its inaugural event in Chicago, Be The Match, an organization that for over the past 25 years, has helped countless numbers of individuals find matches from donors, including, according to it's website, 61,000 marrow and cord blood transplants and nearly 6,300 transplants a year. And what better way to help spread awareness of such a program than a healthy stroll on the city's north side.

Continue reading this entry »

Jim Crago

Chicago Mon Mar 31 2014

Spring Officially Arrives With Shamrock Shuffle


"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."
― Anne Bradstreet, The Works of Anne Bradstreet

Winters in Chicago are usually pretty rough on anyone, no matter if you've lived here your whole life or if you're a recent transplant. And if there's one thing everyone in this town can agree on, it's that this last winter was by far the worst in recent memory.

Tourists from far out of town or newcomers fresh out of college would ask, "Is it always this bad around here?" The answer inevitably is, "It gets bad, but this is a little out of the ordinary." With record-setting snowfalls, followed by record-setting sub-zero temperatures -- followed by more snow and then more sub-zero temperatures -- it was enough to make the thick-skinned Midwesterner tremble like a newborn fawn.

After being exposed to such atrocities for a few weeks, the thought on everyone's mind after a long commute home became a little more hopeful, "This, too, shall pass. Heck, there's only 47 days left until Opening Day!" Baseball aside, living in this town for at least three years will make the most callous cynic into an ardent optimist, and every year the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle means spring-like weather truly is right around the corner.

Continue reading this entry »

Jim Crago

Chicago Tue Jul 30 2013

"Chiditarod" For Kids At Garfield Park

Kiditarod.jpg There's nothing that says fun quite like an Iditarod race in Chicago, aptly named Chiditarod, that requires adults to mush about the city at different checkpoints, all for charity. The race, pageant, talent show and fundraiser helped raise over $34,000 in cash donations while collecting nearly 17,000 pounds of food for the Greater Chicago Food Depository this past March 2, after covering 4.8 miles in the greatest spectacle in shopping cart racing.

But why should the adults have all the fun, running around and acting like kids? It's time for the kids to get involved and show the grown-ups how it's done. On Saturday, August 10, the folks at "Chiditarod" will put on "Kiditarod," a kid-oriented version of the race, at a new interactive festival called Figment, that runs Aug. 10-11 at the Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave.

Continue reading this entry »

Jim Crago

Racing Mon Jan 21 2013

Registration for the Chiditarod is Open

chiditarod2012.jpgWhy should grizzled mushers in Alaska get all the fun?

The Chicago Urban Iditarod (wittily known as the Chiditarod) will be on Saturday, March 2. You, yes you, can experience a modified form of sled racing -- instead of a pack of dogs and a musher, four human racers will pull a shopping cart on foot while a remaining member steers it. To up the wackiness, creative cart designs, ludicrous costumes and sabotage is not just acceptable, but encouraged.

The rules are basically this:

Find a group of friends, five total, and acquire your own shopping cart (feel free to "borrow" one from the local Jewel if need be, just be sure to return it). Pick a theme and costume design. Customize your cart to peak performance, and decorate it as much as you want.

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Mike Chamernik

Feature Mon Jan 14 2013

"Bukowski Story Come to Life" -- A Visit to Hawthorne Race Course

hawthorne racecourse logoI love going to the horse track. I am from Kentucky, so I suppose that is understandable. I was born in Lexington, which is reputedly the "Horse Capital of the World." One of my first jobs was at a horse track there, when I was old enough to serve hot dogs but too young to bet.

You won't see me betting at the $50 window, but I have won intermittently, always just enough to keep me coming back. I've made $300 on a $2 bet. I've seen friends cash a ticket for $1,000 (requiring tax paperwork and the friendly advice to either leave the track or keep your winnings a secret). I've seen winners dance with joy and heard losers shout "Go make some glue, motherfucker" at a losing horse (referring to the once common practice of using animal tissue to make adhesives). I met the lead singer of Pavement, Stephen Malkmus, at Churchill Downs in Louisville. And, yes, I've been to the Kentucky Derby (and saw a friend stagger off a bleacher, spraying the elegantly dressed ladies around us with his Bloody Mary.)

Besides the erratic financial rewards horse racing can provide, I like the people-watching. Nothing brings people together like winning easy money and cheap beer. You'll see just about every possible shape and hue of humanity at a horse track. So, after living in Chicago for a year, I realized I hadn't been to a horse race here. I went to the Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero. Hawthorne is one of four horse tracks in the Chicagoland area. Two of those tracks, Maywood and Balmoral, feature harness-racing, and the other regular saddle-racing track, Arlington Park, doesn't have live racing this time of year.

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Tailgate / Comments (6)

Contest Sun Mar 06 2011

Chiditarod 2011

Gapers Chi.jpg

It was noon on a Saturday and the crowd looked at each other expectantly, waiting with baited breath for the sound of the bull horn to signal the start of the race. Despite it being the month of March, winter wasn't giving up and there was a tingling chill and flutters of snowflakes across the cold air. Still, the costumed participants seemed to be too cheerful to notice, to of the moment and just as ephemeral as a fleeting snowflake. The glacial climate was canceled out with a gleeful rush and a promise to enjoy the day, no matter what, because something great was going to happen and all witnesses and racers could feel it down to the tingling of their spines.

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Kirstie Shanley

Racing Wed Feb 10 2010

Chicago Auto Show: Delta Wing Racing Announces New Indy Design

Indianapolis-based DeltaWing Racing premiered their brand new and (potentially) industry-revolutionizing Indy Car this afternoon at the Chicago Auto Show. The car is a complete departure in design and principle from the standard "wings-in-front of the wheels" Indy car fans are used to seeing. Instead, the design is reminiscent of a flying, living, breathing spearhead that man has conquered and decided to drive around in. The car itself is going to consumed a third to half the gas of a standard Indy racer while weighing half as much as a current car and suffering from half of the drag and resistance associated with the race cars of today. The groundbreaking design feature enabling these advancements is the narrowing of the first half of the car, bringing the aft wheels much closer than current cars. The design affords drivers the stability they need while providing the environmentally responsible fuel-efficiency that the green movement has been demanding from auto racing for so long. Much more to come later this afternoon about the new car and an interview with Delta Racing's CEO, Dan Partel.

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Brian Lauvray

News Fri Jun 05 2009

Short Hops

Ken Green

Racing Thu Jan 08 2009

Goodbye, Sportsman's Park


Ex-Reader staffer and past GB contributor Ted McClelland penned a farewell to Sportsman's Park, the moribund horse and auto racing park in Cicero.

Of Chicago's three racetracks, Sportsman's best exemplified horse racing's seedy glamour. It was started as a dog track by Al Capone, who used to fix the races by feeding greasy hamburgers to every greyhound but the one he planned to bet on. Sportsman's sometimes held boxing matches between the races, up on the third floor. I used to see Moose Skowron in the grandstand, wearing a jacket advertising his after-the-races tavern, Call Me Moose. Racetrack Rosie, the veteran stripper known for her outlandish Derby Day hats, had her own day at Sportsman's. The track even put her picture on the program cover. My first gambling mentor, Johnny Goritz, taught me to read a horse's body language at Sportsman's. And I'll never forget watching a losing gambler race through the bleachers after a bad beat, wailing "I've never had any luck! Not once in 55 years!" Sportsman's was the mingled stench of cigarette smoke, horse manure and the newsprint of a fresh Daily Racing Form. But give Sportsman's some credit for class: it had the best food of any sporting venue in town. Can you get a salmon-and-fettucine blue plate special at the United Center?

Sportsman's ran its last race in 2002, and the city of Cicero bought the property in 2003. The grandstands are currently being torn down to make way for a shopping center. It's worth reading the whole piece.

Also worth checking out FoGB Katherine Hodges' photoset of the park on flickr.

[Image: mod as hell]

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

News Fri Oct 17 2008

Reel Sports

KassimTheDream.jpgWhile you might think it's all angst-ridden, Ingmar Bergman-esque examinations of man's search for his place in the universe (and taking at least three hours to find it), the Chicago International Film Festival has something even sports fans might like. Several of the films at this year's festival use an athletic backdrop to tell stories of struggle and achievement. So consider giving the television remote a rest and checking out some of the following (all info taken from the official CIFF website):

Kassim The Dream
(Dir. - Kief Davidson)
Friday, Oct. 25, 5:50 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 25, 2 p.m.
River East 21 Theater (7)

Kidnapped by rebel soldiers at the age of six. A war-hardened veteran by 12. A boxing champion at 15. Kassim "The Dream" Ouma's extraordinary journey from Ugandan child solider to world-class athlete is a tale of survival and determination that turns tragedy into inspiration. 87 min.

Continue reading this entry »

Ken Green

News Thu Sep 04 2008

Short Hops

  • The Chicago Sky go for their fourth win in a row, a franchise record, when they host the Seattle Storm tonight at the UIC Pavilion.
  • A Los Angeles resident tells about the great time he had seeing the Cubs at Wrigley Field recently. Of course, this was before their recent, ahem, troubles.
  • Despite their contract differences, a Sporting News writer thinks Ben Gordon and the Bulls are "destined" for each other.
  • The Bears' Kyle Orton says he's not the same QB he's been in the past. Thank God.
  • Meanwhile, another NFL quarterback with a Chicago connection, Donovan McNabb, tells of growing up a Chicago sports fan.
  • The next time your significant other complains about your obsession with sports, show them this.
  • Now that you've seen the commercials a bazillion times, you might as well go out and see that Red Bull Flugtag thing in person.
  • Got the need for speed? It's a big weekend for racing at Chicagoland Speedway.
  • Or if you like your racing a little more sedate, try model boat racing at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
  • And speaking of water (don't you love these segues?), the Big Shoulders Open Water Swim Classic is this Saturday at Ohio Street Beach.
  • Chicago has a champion on the diamond, thanks to the Chicago Maccabi softball team who took gold at the Maccabi Games.

Ken Green

News Thu Aug 07 2008

Short Hops

  • Rex, Kyle...or even Chad Pennington. What difference does it make without an O line?
  • ..but at least we have a first-rate stadium.
  • He was much more than the guy who had the ball go between his legs in the 1984 NL Championship Series. The Indianapolis Star catches up with Cubs legend Leon Durham.
  • If you've been reading Tailgate's own Zach Thomas, you know that bike racing is booming in the Chicago area. The Chicago Tribune plays catch-up.
  • A South Side group is getting kids as young as eight into the challenging sport of triathlons...
  • ...while elsewhere on the South Side, another group is bringing the sport of rowing to a new, younger crowd.
  • The Urbanathalon is coming! Yes, it sounds like some B-movie monster, but actually it's a moderately strenuous 10-mile race, obstacle course thingy. Not too late to enter
  • Bring the pain: The UFC is coming to the Allstate Arena October 25. Top bout on the card is Anderson "The Spider" Silva vs. Patrick "The Predator" Cote. Anyone in UFC nicknamed "The Fluffy Bunny"?
  • Start saving your betting bucks now. The Arlington Million is this Saturday.
  • Twenty-five years ago, they installed lights in Wrigley Field. Purists howled. The world survived.

Ken Green

Cycling Mon Aug 04 2008

Elk Grove to Glencoe

This weekend saw some big names in professional cycling come through and lay waste to suburban Elk Grove and Schaumburg in the Tour of Elk Grove, and lest we forget, amateurs from Cat. 5 to 1 did their fair share, too.

Friday night belonged to those guys who get paid to ride their bikes, with a 4.5 mile time-trial, with a $15,000 purse. Tom Zirbel of the Bissell Pro Cycling Team came in with a time of 8:36.37 minutes, and local pro Reid Mumford of Kelly Benefits Strategies/Medifast came in 6th with a time of 8:49.07.

Continue reading this entry »

Zach Thomas

News Thu Jul 10 2008

Short Hops

  • The Chicago Force take another step toward the Independent Women’s Football League title when they take on the Pittsburgh Passion in a playoff contest this Saturday, 3 p.m. The Force are also getting national exposure thanks to a segement on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric tonight at 5:30 p.m. A related Force segment may also run on The CBS Early Show this Friday morning.
  • Pro beach volleyball hits North Avenue Beach this weekend. See it on television or in person.
  • The Chicago Bandits kick off a four-game series against the Washington Glory at Judson University in Elgin.
  • Got the need for speed? NASCAR comes to the Chicagoland Motor Speedway this Friday and Saturday. The city already has a fan in racer Kurt Busch.
  • Ultimate fighting in Chicago that DOESN’T involve the City Council? It could happen.
  • The Windy City Rollers hit the hardwood against the Tuscon Saddle Tramps in Cicero on Saturday
  • Yet another Chicago Olympic rally/celebration has been slated, this time for Monday at Millennium Park.
  • Peyton. Butkus. Dent. … and now cornhole? The new drinking man’s favorite (ahem) sport has its second tournament at Soldier Field.

Ken Green

Racing Tue Jun 24 2008

Chicago Rules the Waves

Maybe this is the answer to our highest-in-the-nation gas prices and CTA woes.

Chicago sailors claimed two of the top three spots, including first place, in Monday's first leg of the Echolls World Championships currently being held here at Belmont Harbor. Local sailors Justin Palm, Erik Garr and Hans Pusch. New York claimed the title of "Second City" with the local team of Aaron Housten, Daniel Somers, and John Harford coming in third.

I'm not going to pretend to understand all of the sailing jargon, something involving tacking out, riding port tack and establishing "significant lateral spread" which to me sounds a little dirty. But if it all adds up to a Chicago win, I'm all for it.

The event, which features more than 80 Etchells (a type of sailboat, I'm assuming) from around the world, runs until June 28. It's presented by World Sport Chicago and the Chicago Yacht Club with the hopes that it will enhance the city's bid for the 2016 Olympics.

If my ham-fisted description of the event leaves you with more questinos, you can find out the details at the official race website.

Ken Green / Comments (1)

Racing Mon Apr 21 2008

Danica Patrick Wins Her First IRL Race

Danica Patrick won the Japan 300 over the weekend, marking her first major win and the first win by a female driver in IndyCar history. Family and friends in downstate Roscoe, IL were ecstatic after her win. Hopefully this puts to rest the belief by some that women can't and shouldn't compete with men in sports — although you know there are some guys out there who are fuming right now that their favorite racer got beat by a hottie.

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

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