Photo: Luke Seemann

– This is it! The big one, the big enchilada, the big bopper… Turin Bicycle once again hosts the last stop in the Chicago Cyclocross Cup… which just happens to also be the Illinois State Cyclocross Championships at Montrose Harbor. You all have been racing all season long with plenty of ups, downs, highs, lows, podiums, crashes, heckles, and whatever the heck this was… and we’ve finally made it to the finalé. We at the CCC and Turin again ask everyone to bundle up, bring your cowbells and cameras, and make a day out of Montrose… which means the Cat 4’s should show up early and heckle the 40+ field, and the Masters should stick around and cheer on the Cat 4’s. Lots to review below, so buckle up…

Registration: We’ll be running reg the same way as every other CCC race. Please allow all 40+ and 30+ racers to reg first since they have to get ready first. If you’re coming out to race for the first time (great!) just follow the lead of one of the local yocals. Both Cat 4 fields of 100 are full but we’ll run wait lists starting Sunday morning. As of this morning there are 436 of you pre-reg’d (thank you!) and online pre-reg closes tonight at midnight… so if you’re not yet reg’d, do everyone (yourself included) a favor and reg now! Ballpoint pens don’t work so well in 26 degrees.

Call Ups: Since we know down and mid-state IL riders can’t make it up to Chicago every weekend but may still be racing outside of Chicago, this year we are instituting a new call up procedure that is slightly different than the usual top 10 call ups we do at all other CCC races. We will call up the top 15 riders in every category. However we will also factor in standings from If any pre-reg’d IL resident has a better points standing than riders with top 15 CCC overall series points, than that rider will receive a call up in that position. For example, someone from downstate has a CrossResults score better than the 9th place CCC overall rider. That downstate rider will receive the #9 call up, the #9 CCC overall rider will receive the #10 call up (and so on to CCC #14), but the #15 CCC overall rider will NOT receive a call up. In this way every top 10 rider in the CCC should still get a call up while also awarding riders from down and mid-state for racing closer to home (but still driving a long way to participate in the state championship). Note however that riders in the CCC overall who have more points on than other riders in the CCC overall will NOT move up in position… you keep your overall CCC position. We will post tentative call up lists here on the CCC site no later than Saturday.

– Cash prizes totaling $2,165 will be awarded with the support of E.J.’s Place and the Kenda Pro Cycling Team. The winners of the Masters 30+, 40+, 50+, Women 1/2/3, and Men 1/2/3 will also receive a $200 dining card from E.J.’s Place (in addition to their cash prizes) to celebrate their victory in style. Merchandise prizes for the Juniors and the Category 4B Men are donated by Lake Cycling and Craft. Lake will have a tent at the race so stop by to preview the new line of 2011 shoes.

State Champion Requirements: In case you didn’t read the paragraph above, the Montrose Harbor race not only acts as the final stop in the CCC but also the Illinois State Cyclocross championships. The CCC along with Turin and the ICA will be presenting CX State Champion Jerseys (on the podiums) to the first IL rider to cross the finish line in every category (except the 4B’s). This means Juniors 15-18 AND Juniors 10-14… boys AND girls. Remember that in order to win the state championship you must be a permanent Illinois resident (we’ll be checking ID’s), a US citizen, and hold a valid 2010 USAC license before the start of the race (yes, we’re looking at you Cat 4’s). UPDATE: There must also be a full podium of IL riders (that means 3) to win the state jersey. This should not be a problem, except possibly in the junior ranks. In addition we’ll present podiums for the race (top 3 in the race) and for the IL state championship (top 3 IL riders in the race). So pay attention after your race, we may be calling your name!

– While a few riders have already locked up their CCC overall titles, there are quite a few very, very, very close categories still to be decided on Sunday. We’ll do our best to announce the overall titles when we can crunch the numbers fast enough, but all official overall series awards and recognitions will be presented at the CCC Awards Dinner on Sunday January 9th at EJ’s Place.

– Like last year, “holiday” (is it still not PC to write Christmas?) themed costumes will receive call ups after the top 15 (see above). Santa, the Grinch, Chanukah bushes, big colored balls… just keep it tasteful and while we appreciate a nice Santa hat, no… that alone won’t get you a call up. We may also have a few special call ups.

– Neutral race support will be provided by Turin Bicycle, adjacent to the registration tent.  Turin Bicycle will also be selling the latest Jay Ryan poster commemorating the 2010 race and a limited selection of other merchandise. Turin will also be grilling up Hot Dogs from about 11-3 and will have hot chocolate, coffee, and soup to take the chill off.

– More than any other factor, the weather usually makes this race. Right now the forecast is clear but cold… so bundle up, dress appropriately, and come prepared with extra warm (& dry) gear. We’ll bring the podium warmers.

CCC Founders: Join the CCC founders for their reunion party at The Globe tomorrow night (Friday) from 7 to 10pm.  See details here. Many of the founders will also be at Montrose racing as well as displaying a slide show. They even made a video! What’s funny is if you change the jerseys, just a few faces, and add more people… what we have today basically looks the same… people having fun riding bikes and enjoying each other’s company. So swing by at Montrose, make a new CX friend, and don’t forget to say thank you to the Founders for getting this ball rolling. Check out photos from 2004 here and here.

– West Town Bikes and Ciclo Urbano will also be out in full force supporting Chicago youth and adults on bicycles.

Parking: Unlike last year, the parking lot at the east end of the park is closed. Parking will be on the street only along Simonds Dr. Several parking spaces near the restrooms and registration will be roped off (for officials, etc) so please do NOT move the cones and park there. We need this area clear for pedestrian and bike traffic.

The Course: The final course route is still TBD but will be based on last year’s layout. The starting grid, finish line, wheel/bike pit, and registration will still be in the same general area. Feel free to set up your tents near by. The course itself will be longer (~3.5K) than last year to accommodate the CCC’s ever expanding field sizes. The course will have longer than usual grass and path routes and will feature some new lengthy sand runs. Tradition standing, the weather always plays a key role at Montrose and will affect the course design right up until Sunday.