New planned race series hosted by The Forge adventure park in Lemont. It's a mix of wide and single track, two laps totaling 10 miles. Bring any bike you want but it's all conditions.
For 2022, most of the ice from earlier in the week had broken up and half an inch of fresh snow had fallen which had gathered in places more than others. 20 degree morning was balanced with 15-20 mph winds effecting a wind chill of -15 which you'll feel more in some areas as the course cuts in and out of woods along parking lots, the adventure park, and the former Lemont quarry pits filled now with frozen water.
Bikes ranged from fat bikes (3.5"+) to skinny MTBs (1.8"+). Though I rode with 2.1" studded tires, I don't think there was much ice to be found. Could have sacrificed the weight of studs, for a 2.35" tires could have been some advantage.
Single track is mostly new to biking in the area (previously just for hiking) and is rough with small rocks, ends of wood cuts, and mostly flat with a few sudden short climbs. Wide track is on long established access roads where you'll want to take maximum advantage.
Start was through a narrow gate and all 72 men racers in one self-seeded wave. You'll have .2 miles on widetrack to establish your position before entering the singletrack inside the adventure park which bottlenecked things quick without much time for folks to spreadout.
There were only 10 women in the race who started in the wave after the men, but unfortunately also still ran into the same bottleneck at the start of the race.
Post-race beer and food (brats, Polishes, and chili) were available along with park-branded snack bars. Firepits and igloos kept folks warm. (souvenir beanie hats came with registration). Awards were given for overall and age categories along with The Bike Hub swag (shop event partner) to some audience members at the awards ceremony.