Monday, December 5, 2011

Illinois State Championships

I won my fifth elite state championship in cyclocross on Sunday. My first title was in 1997. I never would have thought I'd still be in contention for an elite win 14 years later!

Montrose harbor was the final stop in the 12-race Chicago Cyclocross Cup and also the Illinois state championships. The venue is around 2 miles from my house, and I pass by every day on my ride to work. I also use the sledding hill there, which always features in the race, for occasional interval workouts. This year's course and conditions were the best ever - after several years of bitter cold, this year it was around 45 degrees and the ground was greasy but not sloppy after some rain a day earlier.

Greasy but not sloppy. Photo: Edmund White
Sand was perhaps the main theme of this year's course. I'm not always very successful riding sand pits, as seen in the first lap of this year's race. Other than that total failure, which I blame on first-lap jitters, I rode the sandy sections pretty smoothly.

Photo: Edmund White
The course also had a nice mix of slow, tight turns and fast, sweeping turns:
Jason Knauff, series director of the ChiCrossCup.  Photo: Edmund White

Photo: Amy Dykema
Photo: Amy Dykema

It's hard to believe the 2011 Chicago Cyclocross Cup is over. Huge thanks to the series directors, race promoters/clubs/teams, and the countless volunteers who made this year's series the best ever!

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