Spring Road Racing
By Kevin O'Neill | Feb 05, 2020
Spring Road Racing is Coming!
Rejoice, friends! Spring road racing season is nearly upon us. Here is a quick brain dump of what we know is coming up for road races in the next few months in the Chicago area, including a couple of select regional gravel events.
New to bike racing?First, Robert Curtis who runs PSIMET (and is also the current president of the Illinois Cycling Association, ICA), 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.
PSIMET YouTube video - “How to Enter Your First Bicycle Race” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60kcuQP7Ifw
Check out USA Cycling's new Rider Category Upgrading policies here, which were significanly revised on January 28, 2020: https://www.usacycling.org/about-us/governance/policy-viii
Spring Road RacingAutobahn Spring Criterium: Saturday, March 29, 2020
The South Chicago Wheelmen will be hosting a spring criterium at the Autobahn Country Club auto racing track in Joliet, IL.
Info and Registration: https://www.bikereg.com/autobahn-spring-criterium
Race Flyer: https://legacy.usacycling.org/events/getflyer.php?permit=2020-875
Skyway Classic Practice Crit Series: Dates TBD (usually the last week in March or first week of April)
For starters, I would highly recommend doing Half Acre Cycling’s Skyway Classic races. The Skyway Classic is a great way to dip your toes into 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. They have not confirmed their dates yet for 2020, but they are working on it; I expect it will be Monday, April 6 through Thursday, April 10. 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 dip your toes into bike racing 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. It will give you a little more info. Click "Continue" at the bottom of the page.
XXX Racing LaBagh Woods Practice Crit Series: April 7, 2020 (or the first Tuesday AFTER the Skyway Classic)
Beginning in early April and running through mid-June or early-July (exact dates TBD), XXX Racing is going to be hosting another series of practice races at LaBagh Woods (corner of Foster and Cicero) again this year on Tuesday nights in Chicago's North Park neighborhood. We'll be finalizing everything in the coming weeks once Half Acre Cycling sets its dates for the Skyway Classic and will update the website. 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.
Spring Super Crit: Saturday, April 11, 2020
This race is in South Beloit, IL, which is just north of Rockford on the Wisconsin border. It is raced on an auto racing course, Blackhawk Farms Raceway, which is pretty friendly for new racers. This is always a great race, and for the second year it is being hosted by BFF Bikes and Chicago Women's Elite Cycling (CWEC). CWEC will be hosting a skills clinic onsite at the event.
Race info: https://www.bikereg.com/springsupercrit
Race flyer: https://legacy.usacycling.org/events/getflyer.php?permit=2020-682
Read a recap from the 2015 skills clinic: http://www.chiwomenselite.org/blog/2015/4/14/recap-bike-handling-clinic
Lincoln Park Criterium & Crosstown Crit Classic: Sunday, April 26, 2020
XXX Racing-Athletico's Lincoln Park Criterium is Sunday, April 26, 2020. We put on a race in Lincoln Park (the Chicago lakefront park that runs from North Avenue all the way north to Foster) near the Montrose dog beach between Wilson and Lawrence.
2019 race info (stay tuned for updates): https://xxxracing.org/crosstown-crit-classic
Monsters of the Midway Criterium & Crosstown Crit Classic: Tentative - Saturday, May 2, 2020
** TENTATIVE ** The Monsters of the Midway Criterium race is typically the weekend after the Lincoln Park Criterium on the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park. This is a simple four-corner course that is pretty good for beginners. XXX Racing-Athletico has partnered with the University of Chicago for the past two years to form the Crosstown Crit Classic, a two-race series where you can earn points for an overall title for both races. Stay tuned for more info in the coming weeks.
Region Riot Criterium: Saturday, May 9, 2020
Region Racing in cooperation with the City of Hammond hosts this race in Hammond, IN. The course is in nice shape, and the race is well run. This year's race is scheduled for Saturday, May 9th.
Race info: http://www.goregionriot.com/
PSIMET Fox River Grove Criterium: Saturday, May 16, 2020 (tentative)
PSIMET (a Chicago-area racing team, a XXX team sponsor, and a local custom wheelbuilder and bike shop in East Dundee) puts on a great, unique race near the Norge Ski Jump in Fox River Grove, IL, with a short steep climb and a long, turning descent connected by the start/finish straight. It's a hard but fun race!
Snake Alley Criterium and Memorial Day Weekend Bike Races: May 22-25, 2020
There are also four days of great criterium racing over the Memorial Day weekend in or near the Quad Cities, including one of the most famous and biggest criteriums in the country, the Snake Alley Criterium:
Saturday - Snake Alley Criterium: https://www.snakealleycriterium.com/
Friday - Burlington Friday Night Fever Criterium: https://legacy.usacycling.org/events/getflyer.php?permit=2020-524
Sunday - Melon City Criterium: https://www.meloncitybikeclub.org/new-page-3
Monday - Quad Cities Kwik Star Criterium: http://www.quadcitiescriterium.com/
Summer race seriesOnce we get into the meat of the summer, there are two 10-day race series in Wisconsin and Illinois that dominate the race calendar in June and July.
Tour of America's Dairyland (June 18-28, 2020): https://www.tourofamericasdairyland.com/
Intelligentsia Cup (July 17–26, 2020): http://intelligentsiacup.com/
Updated February 5, 2020