CCC Chicago Cyclocross Cup 2012 Illinois Championship Montrose CX Higher Gear Gearhead Will Frame
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Gearhead Cyclocross

Come fall, Gearheads’ thoughts turn to cyclocross. 2017 is no exception.

With Labor Day weekend behind us, we may have only just entered the “unofficial” start of fall, but fall cyclocross is already on our brain. In Chicagoland, the ever-fun xXx Relay Cross unofficially kicked off our season in August, with the Chicago Cyclocross Cup races soon following. For those new to cyclocross (or who have never even heard of it before) or for those looking for a FUN CX team in the Chicagoland area, we’ve put together this helpful information for you.

We hope to see you out at the races!


2015 Higher Gear Rhythm Blues Revue Cyclocross CX Cross Race Wilmette Canal Shores Gearheads



What Is Cyclocross?

Chicago Cyclocross Cup CCC Hopkins Park Andre OdendaalGaining worldwide popularity, cyclocross is a form of bicycle racing that originated in the early 1900’s as a way for European road racers to keep in shape during the autumn and winter months. Racers would participate in “steeplechase” type events (named for the church steeple, often the only visible landmark and thus the finish line), cutting through fields, over fences and other obstacles in a race to the next town.

In translating the original town-to-town races onto a 1.5-2 mile-long course, the course crosses pavement, wooded trails, grass, gravel and steep hills, and those obstacles are now recreated with wooden barriers that require racers to quickly dismount and carry their bikes.

The autumn-winter season means that cyclocross is still a great way for cyclists to keep in shape before the spring road season. The bike handling skills required to navigate the varying terrain and conditions can enhance road bike handling. Cyclocross has, however, achieved a popularity of its own. Some racers choose to specialize in cyclocross. In fact, many of our Gearheads train year-round for the Chicago Cyclocross Cup (CCC) season, which is about to begin.


Dan Ryan Woods Chicago Cyclocross Cup CCC 2012 Higher Gear Gearheads


Gearhead Cyclocross

Team Higher Gear, affectionately called the Gearheads, has enjoyed strong showings in the CCC events. More importantly, we always have a good time. There may be better teams out there but no team has more fun! And we always have room for more.

The Gearheads are about good times, fun times. If you’re interested in racing with us, join the Google Group Gearhead Cyclocross to get the latest updates on clinics, races and tips. Our team is also very active on Facebook.

2015 Higher Gear Rhythm Blues Revue Cyclocross CX Cross Race Wilmette Canal Shores Gearheads Joe Pepe Sullivan Larry BerlinTo be part of the Gearhead team, you must commit to three races in the CCC series and purchase a Gearhead kit. In exchange, you’ll enjoy a team discount at Higher Gear and our adoration. Oh, and you’ll have a blast! We promise.

Don’t forget to register under Higher Gear’s Team:

  • Register under Higher Gear, team #11530
  • Get an annual license from USA Cycling so that your points are included in the overall Higher Gear Team points. (Those racing under a day license cannot attach their points to a team.)
  • Beginners register under Category 5. (See more below about racing categories and upgrades.)



Spectating CX

Chicago Cyclocross Cup CCC 2012 State Championship Racing Cycling Montrose Higher Gear Mariachi Band GearheadCyclocross is a spectator-friendly and family-friendly event. Racers take several trips around a winding course, offering spectators the chance to see them from one spot or from several quite easily. Cheering and heckling have become a sport in themselves. Pack your vuvuzela, cowbell, bullhorn and bacon-wrapped treats to taunt and tempt the 5’s as they go by.

Team Higher Gear’s Gearheads are supported with a (sometimes heated) tent, cowbells, food, refreshments, musical entertainment, mechanical support and a loud cheering section.

Learn more about spectating cyclocross >>


Chicago Cyclocross Cup CCC Racing State CX Championship Montrose Higher Gear Gearheads Mariachi Todd Ricketts Brendan Sullivan


CCC Rules

Beginners register under Category 5. Category 4/5 races are for those out to have fun in a less competitive format. If you have several races under your belt and have developed some CX skills, it’s time to give someone else a crack and for you to move up.

While the CCC does not force upgrades, USA Cycling has updated their mandatory upgrades as follows:

  • Cat 5 to Cat 4: Experience in 10 qualifying races is a mandatory upgrade.
  • Cat 4 to Cat 3: Voluntary upgrade with 10 points. Fifteen points or two wins if the field had at least 30 competitors is a mandatory upgrade. *
  • Cat 3 to Cat 2: Voluntary upgrade with 15 points. Twenty points or two wins if the field had at least 30 competitors is a mandatory upgrade. *
  • Cat 2 to Cat 1: Voluntary upgrade with 20 points. Twenty-five points or two wins if the field had at least 40 competitors is a mandatory upgrade.

* Juniors are exempt from this mandatory upgrade

For more details about the CCC series rules, check out their helpful FAQs.


CCC Chicago Cyclocross Cup 2012 Illinois Championship Montrose CX Higher Gear Gearhead Will Frame


2017 CCC Schedule

All races are held on Sunday unless otherwise noted. Visit Chicago Cyclocross Cup website for the complete schedule and map.

08/26/17 – Half Acre CX Eliminator – SATURDAY, NOT part of the CCC series
08/27/17 – xXx CX Relay – NOT part of the CCC series
09/10/17 – Caldwell Woods
10/01/17 – Hopkins Park
10/08/17 – Dan Ryan Woods
10/15/17 – Carpentersville (Woodland School)
10/22/17 – ABD Sunrise Park
10/29/17 – Campton Cross – HALLOWEEN!
11/05/17 – Groundhog Psi-clocross
11/11/17 – Pheasant Run Resort – Day 1 – SATURDAY
11/12/17 – Pheasant Run Resort – Day 2
11/19/17 – George Garner Sr Memorial Race @ Melas
11/26/17 – Region Riot Cross – NOT part of the CCC series
12/03/17 – Montrose Harbor State CX Championship
12/09/17 – Afterglow – A Cyclocross Race – SATURDAY, NOT part of the CCC series
12/9/17 – USAC CX Midwest Regional Championships – Sun Prairie, WI – SATURDAY, NOT part of the CCC series
12/17/17 – Awards Party – EJ’s Place in Skokie


01/09/18 – 01/14/18 – US CX National Championships – Reno, NV – NOT part of the CCC series – Note that next season USA Cycling CX National Championships moves back to December



CCC Race Times

Note: race times and durations have changed since the 2016 CX season.

08:30 am – Masters 35+ (45 minutes)
09:30 am – Masters 45+ (45 minutes)
09:32 am – Masters 55+ (45 minutes)
10:30 am – Single Speed (35 minutes)
10:32 am Junior 15-18 (35 minutes)
11:20 am – Junior 9-14 (25 minutes)
11:22 am – Women Cat 4/5 (25 minutes)
12:00 pm – Cat 3 (45 minutes)
01:00 pm – Women Cat 1/2 (45 minutes)
01:01 pm – Women Cat 3/4 (45 minutes)
02:00 pm – Cat 1/2/3 (60 minutes)
03:15 pm – Cat 4 (30 minutes)
04:00 pm – Cat 4/5 (25 minutes)


Cyclocross Cyclocross Cup CCC 2010 Montrose

CX Nationals

We enjoyed two years of National Championships in our backyard in Madison, WI in 2012 and 2013. This season, the Midwest Regional CX Championships will be held in Sun Prairie, WI on December 9th. The US CX National Championships will be held in Reno, Nevada, January 9th – 14th.





Further Reading

For more about cyclocross:



Need Help? Have Questions?

Wilmette | 847-256-2330

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