The Chainlink

Half Acre Cycling got the racing season off to a great start this week with the Gapers Block Crits. XXX Racing-AthletiCo is hoping that energy extends to the next race in Chicago, Alderman James Cappleman's 46th Ward Lincoln Park Criterium on Sunday, April 22.

The course will be on the inner roads around Montrose Harbor. Here is a map, with the course starting near the dog park and going counter-clockwise.

For beginners, we have two races for men (there is no difference between 5a's and 5b's, but these will probably sell out, so you will want to pre-register) and one for women (the 4's). We'll also have a free children's race at noon.

Most of all we'd love to have lots of spectators. It should be a spectator-friendly course with multiple sight lines to follow all the action. The marquee events will be the elite women's race at 3:15 and the elite men's race at 4:15. (The elite men's race this weekend averaged 28 mph. Your heartrate should climb just watching.)

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This. is. exciting.

And Luke, do you need volunteers or just racers and spectators?

Happy to!

Racers are ranked according to this classification scheme. Men start as 5's. Women start as 4's. Based on experience and results, they move up through the ranks. Cat 1's will be your most experienced and talented racers.

To be entered into the USA Cycling system, one needs an annual license for $60. However, if one wants to just get their feet wet, they can buy a one-day license for $10. These riders will race as 5's (or 4's for women).

In addition to the categories, there fields separated by age group, such as 30+ and 40+. Often these are "open" fields, meaning anyone from beginners to Cat 1's will race together, but some are restricted even further, such as "30+ Cat 4/5," which is for older ("masters") riders who are Cat 4 or 5. This gives people the option to race twice in one day.

This race is a "criterium," which is common in the United States. The course will be closed to traffic. I believe our course is a kilometer long. The duration of most criteriums is decided by time. After a few laps, officials will take the average time per lap and determine how many more laps will result in the target time and inform the riders that they have X laps to go with each pass through the start/finish area. For a 30-minute race with 3:00 laps, racers will do about 10 laps. With one lap to go, the officials will clang a bell to alert the racers and spectators that the finish is near.

Aside from Gapers Block, the Lincoln Park Criterium is the only opportunity for beginners to race within city limits. There is only one other race within city limits, the Beverly Classic in July, but that is a single race and limited to Pro, Cat 1 and Cat 2 men. (And also a cracking good time if you go down to watch.)

Hope that helps!

We would LOVE volunteers. We'll need a lot of marshals to make pedestrians and dog walkers aware of the race and keep everybody safe. Contact our race director William Pankonin at pankonin@gmail.com.

Julie Hochstadter said:

And Luke, do you need volunteers or just racers and spectators?

Neat. Since I got my feet wet doing the Gaper's Block, I think I might just try this one out, especially since it is closer to where I live.  Do the race, then go to a baseball game afterwards- sounds like an awesome Sunday.  See you there :) 

Hate to correct you on this Luke, but Monsters of the Midway is another crit that's within city limits and offers Cat 5 fields as well as masters cat 4/5 fields.

Luke Seemann said:

Aside from Gapers Block, the Lincoln Park Criterium is the only opportunity for beginners to race within city limits. There is only one other race within city limits, the Beverly Classic in July, but that is a single race and limited to Pro, Cat 1 and Cat 2 men. (And also a cracking good time if you go down to watch.)

Ack, you're absolutely right. Monsters of the Midway is indeed another great race. It's May 12 this year and is another fun course for beginners and spectators alike.

S said:

Hate to correct you on this Luke, but Monsters of the Midway is another crit that's within city limits and offers Cat 5 fields as well as masters cat 4/5 fields.

Luke Seemann said:

Aside from Gapers Block, the Lincoln Park Criterium is the only opportunity for beginners to race within city limits. There is only one other race within city limits, the Beverly Classic in July, but that is a single race and limited to Pro, Cat 1 and Cat 2 men. (And also a cracking good time if you go down to watch.)

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