Sunday was the final race of the Chicago Cyclocross Cup and the State Championship at Montrose Harbor. Bike racing is unique in where a state, national, or world champion is decided based on one single day event. There's no final four or game five. Just one day, one race, and one chance per year to earn it.This year the races were broken up into two days. Saturday, Al Reyes braved the frigid temperatures in the mid teens by the lake for the 50+ race. He got off to a great start and rode with the leaders for the first two laps. The long season has caught up with him and he fell off pace to finish 15th. He also fished 6th overall in the series. Isabel also lined up on Saturday with the Cat. 4 women. She put all her newly acquired skills to use on the challenging course and finished her CCC season strongly. She's made a great amount of progress in her first season, nice work Isabel!
Sunday's temperatures where slightly better, but the clouds rolled into the city with snow. I think splitting the races into two days was a great idea. Especially for the Cat.1/2/3 Women. All season they've had to share the course with 50+ men, which is understandable with timing, scheduling, or what ever excuse is thrown out there. But these women train just as hard and race just as hard as any Category 1 male and they deserve to have the course to themselves all season long. Lindsay lined up just as the first few snow flakes started to fall and wrapped up her CCC season with a 12th place. She also finished up the series in 5th place over all. The Category 3 men rolled off with a bit more snow coming down, which started to make the course more challenging with ice and snow.Pat came in at 15th for the day and sealed up 9th place in the series overall.
By the time the Cat. 1/2/3 race lined up, a significant amount of snow was on the ground which quickly turned into ice. Making the race one of skill and finesse more than a tractor pull. I will be the first one to admit that the course conditions were not ones where I excel at. When things get slippery and technical, I seem to find myself on the ground more than I'd like. Mike got to his usual riding style and took the the front right off the bat. He and Wisconsinite Isaac Neff soon found themselves alone and racing for 1st and 2nd place. Mean while, having my own difficulties with the course I quickly fell (no pun intended) off pace trying to make up for lost ground at the start. Isaac took the win with Mike finishing second. Since Isaac was from out of state, Mike took the state championship title. I was happy just to finish and came in 10th place. Not my best day at the office. However, I was able to finish the series in 1st place and Mike in 2nd.
This marks the end of the cyclocross season for all of us but Lindsay. Personally, it couldn't have come at a better time. Having started my road season in late February, my legs have been ready to take a rest for a few months now. Lindsay will carry on through January making the trip to Boulder, CO for nationals. Any one who rides in the Midwest knows that training through the winter months is incredibly hard to do. Good luck Lindsay at nationals!
Heritage Race Club-Team Director