The heat was on – both on the course and at the spicy Higher Gear tent – for the twelfth and final race of the Chicago Cyclocross Cup season, the State Cyclocross Championship at Montrose Harbor. Those familiar with the Chicago CX season know that Montrose is historically the coldest race in the series. The only one to fall in December, it wasn’t unheard of for racers to have to carve through 18″ of snow and endure sand and mud that’s been frozen into a mess of hard lines. Embrocation was the name of the game in years past. Not so this year!
2012 saw some of the warmest temperatures and sunniest CX race days on record – which is to say a lot after a warm, dry 2011 season. None could have predicted a December CX race with mostly sunny skies and temps in the 60’s – though the band was sure relieved to have the warmer temps. There were no worries of frozen instruments this year.
The course was a challenging one – mostly very hard and fast, except for the sandy bits. The sandy sections, of which there were many, were dug into deep trenches, forcing riders to choose lines at each section’s start or be forced off the bike. Most racers were glad for any training they’ve done running. Few tried to negotiate the bulk of the sand, particularly at the downhill dune section. After negotiating the sand and some off-camber turns, the section before the underpass once again involved switchbacks through gnarly roots. Without the snow and mud of previous years, the course organizers decided to add in their own challenge on top of the hill this year with a barrier at an uphill 90 degree turn. Those who needed a break after that effort could choose to partake in a civilized martini hand-up if they wished.
Gearheads once again made themselves heard, bringing back the festive mariachi band that originally put the team on the CCC radar a few years back. The mariachi band helped to turn up the heat and the excitement at the Higher Gear tent. The music combined with the spicy creations of Chef Brendan, sombreros and the omnipresent cowbell to create an atmosphere fitting of Spring Break – in other words, an atmosphere fitting of cyclocross racing.
While the day proved fun for all, there were plenty of Gearheads who earned their celebratory guacamole. We had a full roster of racers, spanning across many fields during the day. And the Gearheads did us proud.
Nancy Heymann raced hard in the Women 1/2/3 race. She placed 15th, or 10th in the Women 3. This effort secured her sixth place overall for the season in Women 3.
Thomas Elliot had a great race, placing third in the Juniors (15-18) race, first for Cat 3 Juniors. With strong support from Kellen Mullford and Joe Sullivan, the Gearhead Juniors (15-18) placed third as a team at Montrose.
Mike Slade and Will Frame were neck-and-neck in the 4A race, with Will finishing in 18th and Mike, in 19th. Mike then went on to an impressive sixth place finish in the 4B category, sealing his season in fourth place overall in the 4B category. Even more impressive is that Mike’s 4B accomplishments were made after “warming up” in the 4A category. For the season, Mike Slade placed 19th overall in 4A’s – not bad for a season-long warm-up lap!
Chicago Cyclocross Cup Racing has ended for the 2012 season. We’re proud of ALL Gearheads who gave their best effort out there – whether their effort earned a podium spot or their victory was to “not die” out there. Each and every one of you deserves credit. We especially want to make mention of those who contributed most points to the Gearhead team.
- Andre Odendaal (Cat 3) – 17th
- Nancy Heymann (Women Cat 3) – 6th
- Catherine Watkins (Women Cat 3) – 17th
- Thomas Elliot (Junior 15-18) – 5th
- Kellen Mullford (Junior 15-18) – 14th
- Max Auerbach (Junior 15-18) – 17th
- Joe Sullivan (Junior 15-18) – 23rd
- Mike Slade (4B) – 4th
- Mike Slade (4A) – 19th
- Will Frame (4A) – 21st
We’ve said it before but it bears saying again: No team has more fun than the Gearhead Team! We’d love to have you join us. Do what Nancy said: “Jump in” and give it a try. Who knows what the face of the 2013 Gearhead team will look like? Could it be you?
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