– Hi gang! Rather then tell you its been a long while… and we’re sorry for not posting more information sooner… and we were really, really busy… and… oh nevermind. Let’s get to it, in chronological order.

– This Sunday July 1st (early in the morn), the CCC directors are getting together at Main St. Bicycles in Carpentersville, IL to play Tetris with all of the CCC equipment and trailer. We’re also going to make videos about how to properly set up a staging grid and equipment pit. If you’d like to help, or just stand around and watch like a state highway worker, stop on by… everyone is welcome.

– Speaking of staging grids, the CCC will be UCI compliant starting (pun intended) in 2012 and going forward. Instead of the 10 lane wide staging grid we’ve used for the past 3 years all CCC races will now use the UCI/USAC legal 75cm wide 8 lanes. Sorry 9th and 10th place, you’ve had a good ride… now race faster!

– Concerning racing… the 2012 race day schedule is now posted over on the Schedule page. We’ve made one small addition for all of you derailleur-challenged racers out there. While several of you have raced without gears for years, the CCC will now have a dedicated Single Speed category. Since we’re not sure how many SS’s will show up, and we’re always crunched for space on the course (because so many of you want to race) this will be an experimental category for 2012. If things go well we’ll keep the party going in years to come. Single Speeds will have their own staging (behind the ladies and old guys) AND overall title. We still encourage Single Speeders to race their trusty gearless steeds in regular categories as well. Also, bear in mind the SS category will not be all fun and games. You’ll be racing on course at the same time with some of the fastest women and angry old dudes in the area. If you’re too far behind you may be pulled early (but still placed). If you’re looking for the party, race the 4B’s.

– Another category we’re adding for 2012 is a separately scored Women Category 3. Since three quarters of the Women 1/2/3 field is Cat 3’s anyway we felt it would be good great to recognize the Women Cat 3’s riding hard every week but not hitting the podium. Points will be awarded on a combined basis, meaning if a Cat 3 wins she gets 1st place points but only 3rd place points if she is the first Cat 3 but 3rd finisher on course. The same goes for the Cat 1/2’s. We need to do it this way to make the combined staging work. Payout will also be combined unless the individual promoter decides to award more or a separated prize list for the Women Cat 3’s.

– Since we’ll now have 4 categories on course at the same time (W1/2/3, 50+, 60+, SS) during the 10:45am time slot we will have to limit Pre-Reg in those categories. However if each category does NOT fill on pre-reg its still first come first served on race day. We’ll also run wait lists as always on race day and everyone should have a chance to race. Just pay attention to BikeReg.com!

– Everyone should also pay attention to the Series Rules and Facts page. Take 10 minutes and read it now. There’s lots of good info, even for hardened CCC veterans who think they’ve seen and heard it all. Cat 3’s should pay special attention to USAC’s reworded upgrade criteria.

– Going back to Payout, the 2012 standard payout for all categories will remain the same as 2011 (with the addition of a Single Speed payout). However, since the CCC continues to grow each year, for 2012 we will introduce increased payouts for the Cat 1/2/3‘s scaling with the number of total pre-reg’d riders for each event (not just the Cat 1/2/3’s). We’re still working out the math, but in a nutshell… the greater number of rider’s pre-reg’d across all categories, the greater the payout to the Cat 1/2/3’s. Stay tuned for more details.

– Each year the CCC seems to figure out one or two little things that really make races run smoother and riders happier. At last season’s New Year’s Resolution we found out very quickly that we had never set up nor maintained proper Equipment pits (if anyone needs to borrow 600 feet of garden hose, let us know). National level CX racers demand that sort of thing and we thing you all do too (the pits, not the garden hose). That’s why this year we plan to institute correctly organized equipment pits. No more little sections of grass off to the side of the course, that were an afterthought, and have a few spare wheels. SRAM neutral service won’t be at every race dishing out Zipps like, well, bacon… but our pits will look better in 2012. This also means you as riders, mechanics, and spectators will need to respect the equipment pits more. The entire area should look, feel, and be pro.

– Speaking of pro… congratulations to the Schneider family. Last weekend the 2011 CCC Women Cat 1/2/3 overall champion Sam Schneider won the USA Cycling U23 national Criterium AND Road Race championships while the the 2011 Junior 10-14 overall champion (and Sam’s younger sister) Skylar won both the Junior Girls 13-14 Criterium AND Road Race championships as well. The CCC’s own Gina Johnson also finished 3rd in the 13-14 Road Race and 4th in the Criterium.

– 2012 is shaping up to be another great season in the Chicago Cyclocross Cup. Hopefully everyone worked out the kinks of an extended season last year and is ready to go that extra month longer this year. Remember CX Nationals are again just over our Northern border in Verona (Madison), WI. Master’s World Championships are again in Louisville, KY but a few weeks later this season to correspond to the week before the Elite World Championships. That’s worlds-worlds for those of you in the know. We want 2012-2013 to be the Year of Speed. We want to see everyone racing to their highest potential while still having the time of their lives. Oh yeah, and bacon and Twinkies too.

– And finally… the weather is great, if a little hot, right now in Chicago. Don’t be stressing about CX and certainly don’t train on your rollers in your garage. Get out there and enjoy the next few weeks of summer! See you soon…