Information for Prospective Team Members
The XXX Racing-Athletico cycling team has a lot to offer to cyclists of all abilities. Whether you're interested in road races, criteriums, cyclocross (CX), time trials (TT), track, gravel, mountain bike (MTB), or just doing group rides for fun/fitness (or all of the above!), we think you'll find a lot of support at XXX Racing-Athletico. We do not have any requirements that our teammates race, but we are a racing team and do highly encourage our teammates to do so. The only thing that we do require is that our teammates volunteer at our events when we need help; we currently host one spring criterium and two fall cyclocross races.
Key benefits of joining:
- Weekly Saturday team ride (held year-round)
- Group coaching services
- Support and discounts from team sponsors, including title sponsor, Athletico Physical Therapy
- Camaraderie with some of Chicago’s best and most interesting cyclists
- Ability to buy and race in current team kit (a.k.a. uniform) from Pactimo, the official custom apparel provider of XXX Racing-Athletico
- Goal Setting and Season Planning Workshop
- Spring Training Camp in San Luis Obispo, CA (fees apply)
- Women's Team Training Camp (fees apply)
- Cyclocross Clinic
- Sprinting Clinic
- Track Clinic
- Road Racing/Criterium Clinic
- How to Dress for Cold Weather Outdoor Training
- Off-season Virtual Rides and Workouts - Saturday morning virtual team ride and Thursday night interval workout.
- Strength and Conditioning Classes - 8-week "Engine Building" strength and fitness online class by Morning Bird Studio (fees apply)
Monthly Team MeetingsWe host monthly team meetings on the first Monday of every month (except on holidays, we will push the meeting back to the following Monday).
Attending the team meeting is a great opportunity to learn more about the team and meet people. Over the last several seasons we have made a concerted effort to try to make the team meeting more of a fun, social event where we share some race reports, acknowledge our teammates' accomplishments, and discuss upcoming rides and races. We share much of the "administrative/housekeeping" team information via email, our website, and social media so that we have more time at the team meeting to enjoy each other's company and talk about fun bike stuff. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic We are still currently holding many of our team meetings online via Zoom because our previous meeting spaces (including Goose Island Brewhouse) are no longer open on Mondays. Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the focus of our team meetings a little, but we still try to incorporate some social aspects into the meeting while also providing updates on team activities. We are also continuing to look for opportunities to do some purely social gatherings when we can find a suitable location with outdoor space that can host us.
We had also planned some social get-togethers at Peregrine Cycling Studio (one of our long-time team sponsors, a bicycle shop in the River North neighborhood) back in 2020 (pre-COVID) to watch some of the "Spring Classics" road races (e.g. Paris Roubaix, Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, etc.) and World Cup Cyclocross, but of course the COVID-19 pandemic made group gatherings problematic. We hope to get back to doing some of these social events when the COVID pandemic is safely behind us and it is safe again to regularly gather indoors in groups.
Rides and PracticesThe link below covers our Saturday team ride and some other routes that our teammates have shared, including "Routes of the Month" at the bottom of the Team Ride page.
Below are some additional options we offer for training and group riding:
Indoor training at home - During the COVID-19 pandemic, one of our teammates and coaches, Chris Navin, has organized a number of indoor group training rides just about every day of the week. Most of the rides are on Zwift, but there are also events on RGT Cycling (a free option), Rouvy, and other virtual cycling platforms.
This past winter we were offering two indoor, virtual group rides and workouts. On Thursday nights we were doing an interval-based cycling workout, which is coached by Chris Navin, and on Saturday mornings we were doing our regular Saturday team ride as an indoor virtual group ride. For both of these Thursday and Saturday rides, you can join in virtually on either Zwift or RGT Cycling platforms. If you do not have access to either of those two virtual cycling platforms, you can just ride your stationary trainer at home and chat with and follow along with the workouts via the voice and video chat through the Discord app. Please let us know if you are interested in more information about these rides and workouts.
You can find more information here:
If you need more info about indoor cycling, teammate Chris Navin has an in-depth understanding of the various indoor cycling platforms currently available for training and racing.
Off-season training - During the winter in the off-season, most of our teammates are either riding outside when they can and riding inside either at home on a resistance trainer or at an indoor cycling studio (with CompuTrainers or other smart trainers like Wahoo Kickr). Our previous team sponsor that facilitated off-season workouts at their indoor cycling studio closed their studio in February 2020. We are looking for options for a new team partner for teammates to do group indoor cycling studio workouts for the late-2021/winter 2022 off-season and beyond.
Spring cycling camp - The second week of March we typically have our annual spring training camp in San Luis Obispo (SLO), California, which we refer to as "SLO Camp." It's an amazing 8-day trip, and the cost and training benefits can't be beat. There is more info on our website. A blog post about the 2019 camp is here:
The web page for SLO Camp is here: https://xxxracing.org/slo-camp
Clinics - We organize a number of coached clinics for our teammates throughout the season, including a season planning and goal setting clinic (in December), a criterium racing clinic (in early spring), a road race sprinting clinic (usually in mid spring), a track racing clinic in Northbrook (in May), and a cyclocross clinic (in late August/early September).
Women's Spring Cycling Camp - We launched our annual Women’s Camp in 2010 specifically to offer our WTF teammates an approachable opportunity to bond, develop skills, and gain confidence on the bike. Since then, our annual Women’s Camp has become a full-fledged tradition in its own right, offering participants a chance to get away from Chicago, go on longer rides, and bond with their teammates. XXX Racing’s Women’s Camp is a supported 3-day camp, and currently the camp is held in Three Oaks, Michigan (southwest Michigan, a 76-mile drive from downtown Chicago). Camp fees include lodging only; participants carpool to Three Oaks, and meals are communally planned, with a combination of cooking in and dining out. There is more info on our website here:
Women’s Monthly (WoMo) Ride - In 2017, teammates Courtney O’Neill and Katie George created the Women's Monthly (WoMo) Ride with women riders on other local cycling teams. Each month, between April and October, the women from a different team lead the ride. The ride follows a similar route to our team ride to Highland Park. The WoMo ride will likely return later in Spring 2022. The WoMo Ride is currently on hiatus, but you can find more info here:
Men's Development Program (MDP)The XXX Racing Men’s Development Program (MDP) includes all of our Category 3, Category 4, and Novice racers on the team. The MDP makes efforts to organize training opportunities and coordinate racing schedules between members of the MDP each season to try to get the most amount of teammates at the same events so we can better work together to help each other reach our race goals and perform best at target races.
Dean Abt (a Cat 2/55+ on the road and member of our Elite Team), Tim Pigula (Cat 3), and long-time team member, Mike Kirby (Cat 3 road/track/CX) are the co-leads of the MDP this season. Our team participation at the velodrome in Northbrook dipped a little the last couple seasons, but we have long history of racing and winning at the Northbrook velodrome over the years (with teammates racing every category from Cat 1 to Cat 5 and juniors). Our Elite Team (Cat 1/2) riders have cleaned up at the biggest races at the Ed Rudolph Velodrome in Northbrook the last 3-5 years, including Dan Breuer breaking the hour record for the State of Illinois back in September 2019.
Last year in early February, 2020, a bunch of the members of the MDP got together to socialize, get to know newer teammates, discuss upcoming races, and generally start the organization process for the 2020 racing season. Of course, that 2020 season never materialized, but we organized something similar earlier in 2021 to discuss similar plans to the extent possible given that the 2021 season has been somewhat truncated. We put together a spread sheet where MDP members can enter the races that they think they might be interested in racing so our teammates can all see who is racing where and can coordinate race tactics, training, and transportation to the races.
Road RacingIn early 2020 team member Kevin O'Neill put together a page on our team website that summarizes most of the key spring road racing events in March, April, and May in and around Chicago. Needless to say, all of these events were eventually cancelled in 2020 and 2021, but they are events that have been around for a long time and will be back in 2022. Read more here:
The spring road racing season in the Chicago area kicks off in March and April, and below are some great events for someone interested in getting into road/criterium racing in a low-pressure environment. There are some great practice race series that are perfect for both improving fitness and cycling skills.
Kenosha Practice Criterium Series: The last three Sundays in March, the Kenosha Velosport team in southern Wisconsin hosts practice races in an industrial park in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The race series was cancelled this year, but it has been running for many years and will be back in 2021 when racing is safe to resume.
Kenosha Velosport: https://www.kvcycling.com/events
Flyer (2020): http://www.ambikerace.com/2020/flyers/2020%20Spring%20Race%20Flyer%20all%20dates%20canceled.pdf
Skyway Classic Practice Crit Series: Dates TBD (usually the last week in March or first week of April) - I would highly recommend doing Half Acre Cycling’s Skyway Classic races. The Skyway Classic is a great way to get into crit racing. The fields are usually not too big, and the course is very beginner-friendly; the course and the turns are very wide and flowing. The Skyway Classic are four nights of practice races for beginner racers, i.e. only Category 5 (now called Novice) and Category 4 racers. As a new racer prior to 2020 you would start out as a Category 5 racer (aka Cat 5); this year USA Cycling has changed the name of Category 5 to Novice to best portray what the category stands for and where someone should start. The Skyway Classic is four nights of racing in one week, Monday through Thursday, and you can race twice in one night as a Novice man (or three times as a Novice WTF racer). The weather can be cold and challenging this time of year, and depending on your work and/or school schedule it can also be a challenge to get to the races. However, whether you can make it out for one or all of the four nights of racing, the Skyway Classic is a great opportunity to kick off the racing season and learn a lot in a short amount of time on a simple, flowing race course. With the new USA Cycling upgrade policy this year, you can voluntarily upgrade from Novice to Cat 4 whenever you choose (or there is a mandatory upgrade if you score 10 upgrade points within 12 months as a Novice). Below is the information page from last year's Skyway Classic event (which was cancelled for 2020). It will give you a little more info. Click "Continue" at the bottom of the page.
Info and Registration: https://www.bikereg.com/skywayclassic
Half Acre Cycling’s page: http://halfacrecycling.org/skyway-classic
XXX Racing LaBagh Woods Practice Crit Series: Typically beginning in early/mid April (i.e. the first Tuesday AFTER the Skyway Classic series) and running every Tuesday through mid-June or early-July (exact dates TBD), XXX Racing hosts a series of practice races at LaBagh Woods (corner of Foster and Cicero) on Tuesday nights in Chicago's North Park neighborhood. The LaBagh Woods practice races are open to anyone and are a great way to get in some mid-week training, get comfortable racing in a group, and to work on race tactics in a low-pressure environment. These practice races are great experience for Novice and Cat 4 racers in particular, and are also a great workout for more experienced racers. The course is relatively simple; it features two long, sweeping "turns" and two 90-degree turns, but the turns are so wide that you can pedal through them. For 2021, we had practice races scheduled at LaBagh Woods from July 6th through the end of August.
For new racers that are looking for a great primer on racing your first road race, Rob Curtis who runs PSIMET (a local custom wheel builder and bike shop in East Dundee - they also have their own racing team), put together a great video walking viewers through the basics and logistics of entering your first bicycle race. PSIMET is a long-time team sponsor of XXX Racing, and Rob is also the current president of the Illinois Cycling Association, ICA, which is part of USA Cycling.
PSIMET YouTube video - “How to Enter Your First Bicycle Race” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60kcuQP7Ifw
Our cyclocross (also known as "CX" or "cross") season is from September through late December/early January. We have teammates that race all the various categories in the Chicago Cross Cup, including teammates on our Elite Team that race in the Men's and Women's Pro/Cat 1/2/3 races. We also have teammates that have organized team trips to some of the UCI races in the region (Trek CX Cup, Jinglecross, Louisville, Cincinnati, etc.). XXX Racing hosts two CX races during the season, Relay Cross in late August and the first round of the Chicago Cross Cup (which includes 10 races in the Chicago area). The Chicago Cross Cup Series is not scheduled to take place in 2021 because of the continued COVID-19 pandemic, but many of the individual races that are typically part of the Chi Cross Cup series are still happening, including our Caldwell Woods CX race on Sunday, September 26th, in Chicago.
XXX Racing-Athletico Caldwell Woods CX - https://xxxracing.org/caldwell-woods-cross
We have a bunch of teammates that have been doing gravel races, and two teammates (Tom Stutesman and Gaylord Otte) who seek out the longest, hardest mixed terrain races in the country like DK 200 and Belgian Waffle Ride. There is typically a group of XXX Racing teammates going to popular Midwest gravel events like the Rough Road 100 event in Morris, IL, and to Barry Roubaix in Hastings, MI, which typically take place in April, but has been postponed to October 2021 this season. We have some other events on the calendar that teammates like to attend like The Bear 100 in May in central Wisconsin, where the DDP will also likely be renting a house for a weekend trip.
Doughnut Development Program (DDP)
We also have team members who don't race or only race infrequently and focus more on fun rides like organized centuries and other events like "doughnut" rides, Horribly Hilly Hundreds, Apple Cider Century, gravel rides, etc. In 2019 we launched what we playfully refer to as our Doughnut Development Program (DDP). The DDP rides and events focus on riding bikes for fun as opposed to for competition. The DDP is for those who want to spend the day riding bikes with friends; where success is measured in how many doughnuts have been burned and consumed in a day, not who crosses the line first. The DDP focuses on events like centuries, fondos, gravel rides, rides to breweries, etc. Our team treasurer, Kiki Demopoulos, heads up the DDP, but anyone can suggest and/or lead a DDP ride.
There is a time trial (TT) series in Illinois and Wisconsin that runs from January through September or early October. There are three indoor time trials (on stationary trainers) in January, February, and March, and then the rest of the races are held outdoors on the road. For 2021, there are a total of 19 races scheduled in the time trials series. You can read more about the Mid America Time Trial Series (MATTS) here:
There are other time trial races held in Illinois and nearby states. Many races have been cancelled this season because of the COVID pandemic, but the USA Cycling website allows you to specifically search for time trials. On the page below, click "Road Racing" and then select "Time Trial" in the pull-down box where it says "Sub-Discipline". You can also narrow your search by City/State/Zip and by date range.
Women’s Development Program (WDP)
Below is a short summary of our Women’s Development Program (WDP) and some key team members of the WDP. xXx Racing-Athletico is widely recognized as having one of the region’s largest and most accomplished women’s development teams. We welcome women from all cycling backgrounds, whether they are brand new to cycling or an experienced racer.
The WDP is currently lead by teammates Rebecca Pigula and Sarah London. Courtney O’Neill (no relation) is our immediate past team president and has served in various roles on the team, including Vice President and head of the WDP and our Elite team. Kiki Demopoulos is our team Treasurer and heads our new "Doughnut Development Program (DDP)," which is a fun new program Kiki started last season (more info above). Courtney and former teammate, Katie George, also created the Women's Monthly Ride (aka WoMo Ride - more info above) for Chicago cyclists. The WoMo ride will likely return later in 2021 or Spring 2022.
Junior Development Program (JDP)
If you are interested in being a mentor to a younger rider or volunteering in some other capacity with our junior program, there are opportunities for that. The Junior Development Program (JDP) enables junior riders (i.e. racing age 18 and under) to participate in racing and training, enjoy the benefits of belonging to a team, and develop a lifelong love of cycling. The team reaches out to juniors of all backgrounds, and we work to assist juniors with limited financial resources as they enter the sport. We introduce our junior team members to all cycling disciplines, and our juniors have competed on a local, state, national and even world championship levels.
Juniors are supported throughout the season with clinics and one-on-one support from more experienced team members who act as mentors to junior riders. Through the program, juniors are taught the importance of good health, teamwork, safety, setting and achieving goals, and having fun while cycling. Riders of all skill levels benefit from being on the team, and the primary goal is personal improvement and long-term enjoyment of the sport. Most importantly, juniors are supported by a senior team mentor who serves as a supporter and adviser. Mentors are matched based upon the preferred discipline and goals that a junior member wishes to accomplish.
All of the members of the team's management volunteers and all of the mentors to our junior riders are required to go through background checks and take SafeSport training through USA Cycling and the US Center for SafeSport. SafeSport training is an abuse and misconduct prevention measure that raises awareness of misconduct and abuse issues in sport. This training ("SafeSport Trained") is designed to help members become more proficient at identifying, preventing, and responding to misconduct and abuse in sport. The training also familiarizes members with reporting responsibilities.
Charity and Fundraising
XXX Racing-Athletico has organized or participated in several cycling-related charity fundraisers over the last few years, many of which involve a bike ride of some sort. In 2016, 2017, and 2018, we hosted a cyclocross clinic with Sven Nys and Sven Vanthourenhout and raised over $15,000 for a scholarship fund in the name of our teammate, Pieter Ombregt, who passed away during a race in Chicago and who was from the same hometown as Sven Vanthourenhout. Over the last three years, we have participated in group rides and other fundraising efforts with World Bicycle Relief and have raised almost $20,000, enough to purchase 128 Buffalo Bikes for those in need in rural African villages.
In 2019 we started a new program, FixXxiE Racing, a junior track program that brings youths from Hyde Park's Blackstone Bicycle Works to race at the Thursday Night Track Racing series at the Ed Rudolph Velodrome in Northbrook from May through September. In August we completed a two-day 200-mile fundraising ride for FixXxiE Racing from Chicago to Kettle Moraine State Park in Wisconsin. We were planning to do the fundraising ride again this year in mid-August (Aug 15-16), but we may have to rethink the logistics of that event because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In August we host our annual Relay Cross cyclocross race. As part of Relay Cross we have a fundraising race, Relay Roulette, where two riders are paired together at random for the race and all the entry fees ($10/rider) are donated to a Chicago-area cycling non-profit as chosen by the race's winning team. Since 2016, we have raised over $4,500 through Relay Roulette for local cycling non-profits like West Town Bikes, Blackstone Bicycle Works, Experimental Station, Working Bikes, and the Northbrook Cycling Committee, which oversees the programs at the Ed Rudolph Velodrome. We've also participated in fundraisers for the construction of Big Marsh park, an off-road bicycle park on the far south side of the city.
Team Sponsors and Discounts
Below is a summary of our team sponsors and the discounts they provide. We can only share the exact discount information with team members.
Athletico Physical TherapyFree injury screenings Athletico offers bike fitting services. Typically your bike fit can be covered by health insurance. Discounts on massages (make sure to mention that you’re a member of xXx Racing – Athletico) Athletico has hundreds of locations, including over 60 locations in Chicago. Different Athletico locations have therapists with various specialties, so be sure to check the website to find a location that can address whatever issue you are having. You can also reach out to the XXX Racing team management, and we can reach out to Athletico on your behalf if you have a specific need and want to find the best location to see a therapist. You no longer need a physician referral in order to obtain physical therapy services http://www.athletico.com CLIF Bar - CLIF has been a long-time team sponsor, and provides us with free product. CLIF provides the team with two allotments of their product in the spring and summer. CLIF also provides the team with nutrition and drink mix for our spring training camp. https://www.clifbar.com/ Cycle Smithy - Discounts off bikes and parts, special orders, and group buys for bikes. https://www.cyclesmithy.com FK Law - In the unfortunate event that you and a car or a pedestrian or another cyclist (or all three collide), call Jim Freeman and Brendan Kevenides at Freeman Kevenides Law Firm can help you. Freeman Kevenides Law Firm specialized in personal injury cases for cyclists. https://www.fklawillinois.com/ Pactimo (cycling apparel) Pactimo provides our custom team kits. We have a team kit order that typically gets sent to Pactimo in mid-January and gets delivered to our team members in mid to late February. It is also possible to order kit items throughout the season. We just had a winter kit order that was submitted to Pactimo last month and is scheduled to be delivered to team members in mid December. Beyond our normal kit orders, Pactimo offers discounts on their non-custom apparel; we can share the discount code with you upon joining the team. https://www.pactimo.com/ Peregrine Bicycle Studio (formerly Get A Grip Cycles) Discounts off bikes and parts Adam Kaplan, one of the co-owners, is widely regarded as one of the best bike fitters in the country 24hr turnaround time on service when you make an appointment We had also planned some social get-togethers at Peregrine Cycling Studio (in the River North neighborhood) this past spring to watch some of the "Spring Classics" road races (e.g. Paris Roubaix, Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, etc.) and World Cup Cyclocross, but of course the racing schedule changed on account of the COVID-19 pandemic and group gatherings became problematic. We hope to schedule more events like this when it is safe to gather in groups. https://peregrinebicyclestudio.com/ PSIMET custom wheels - We get a discount on all wheel builds from PSIMET wheels. Rob Curtis who owns PSIMET is a long-time bike racer, organizes several races throughout the road and cross seasons, and has been a sponsor of XXX Racing for nearly 10 years. https://www.psimet.com Rudy Project - Special pricing on sunglasses, helmets, and other Rudy Project items. Our discount code can be shared with friends and family, but cannot be shared publicly on social media or otherwise. www.rudyprojectna.com/vip Van Dessel bikes - Historically, we’ve gotten a significant discount on frames or complete builds. The status of our deal with Van Dessel is a little bit in flux, and has never really been more than a handshake agreement anyway. If you’re interested in buying a bike, we will put you in touch with Rob Curtis at PSIMET, as all orders would go through him and we can see what kind of deal they are willing to offer. https://www.vandesselcycles.com I know this is a lot of information to digest, but I hope you find it useful. Please let us know if you have any other questions, and thanks again for your interest in the team.
4/22/2019 - I am working on populating this page. This page will replace the Membership Packet PDF. -Kevin ONeill