Race Report: 2016 xXx CX Relay

‘Cross is back.

We have waited a long time for the return of cyclocross to our lives. From the #crossiscoming campaign on social media to the gluing of your tubular race wheels in July, to reading up on all the skills practice and new tech, we’ve tried to fill the void in our lives that the road season cannot fulfill.

The start of the Chicago ‘cross scene is xXx Relay Cross. This was my first year competing. A few weeks earlier, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw a post for “Now taking applications for Relay Cross partner.” The rider was Ed Gross, one of the Engineering Technicians at SRAM, and a close companion of mine on the local criterium scene. I couldn’t help but to reach out to Ed, and that same evening, Team Sulligross was created. His response? “Just be warned, we’d be starting a dynasty.”

 

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We both arrived without a clue as to what we signed up for. It was Ed’s first Relay Cross as well. Here’s how it works:

Rider A toes the start line sans bicycle. Taken from the starts to the Le Mans races, Rider A begins a deadly sprint about 150m to the “pits” (a little area taped in, with a barrier directly before and after). Rider A must hold his ground during the run, not trip over any of the other 50 pairs of ankles, and tag his partner in the pit. Disclaimer: we screwed this up.

Ed was one of the first riders into the pit… but he was looking for me on the right side. I had lined up on the left. Off the line, we were starting behind 40th place in the 50 team field. But not all was lost.

 

Chicago Cyclocross Cup CCC Jackson Park Relay xxx Pepe Joe Sullivan Higher Gear Gearhead Ed Gross

 

 

Rider B is  then supposed to go full-throttle for a lap to make separation from those behind him. Each lap takes about 6min 30sec for Team Sulligross, so a rewarding recovery is to follow. In the pit, Rider A must dismount, jump over the first barrier, tag his partner, Rider B, who will jump over the second barrier, remount his bike, and take his lap. This continues for 45 minutes.

By the 4th lap, we were up to 12th place. Ed’s tactic of letting me hammer it out first worked out well, as we climbed quickly through the field. The last few laps became a serious battle as we had reached riders who had fuel in the legs and had gotten hungry.

We got hungry as well. At the end of the day, we finished 10th. He and I were pleased, and went back to training for the rest of our ‘cross season.

 

Chicago Cyclocross Cup CCC Jackson Park Relay xxx Pepe Joe Sullivan Higher Gear Gearhead

 

 

It’s a good start to the season, and I will get just one more race in before I leave for Belgium. Join me at the Chicago Cyclocross Cup season opener at Labagh Woods, this Sunday!

 

New to cyclocross? Need to plan your CCC race schedule? We’ve got all the ‘cx info for you in one place >>

 

 

Track my riding through Strava, see the adventures through Instagram, even keep your eye out for Garmin LiveTrack streams of some training rides and races on Twitter!

Check out all my race reports from the 2016 road season:

 

 

Joe Pepe Sullivan Higher Gear Specialized Venge Leuven Belgium Junior Racing Racer Cycling BikeJoe “Pepe” Sullivan is a junior cyclists from Evanston, Illinois. He begins the 2016 cycling season racing as an 18 year-old, riding a Specialized Venge, named “El Diablo Dos.” Joe races for Higher Gear in both cyclocross and road. You can find him most of the summer and many weekends at Higher Gear.

 

 

 

 

Need Help? Have Questions?

Highland Park | 847-433-2453
Wilmette | 847-256-2330

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