Development race series at the Chicago Velocampus' Velodrome
Tour De Champaign and Illinois Cup Urbana Grand Prix Preview by Andrew Zens (Rhythm Racing)
This weekend there’s a wide open 4 corner crit on Saturday for the Tour de Champaign, a technical 8 corner crit on Sunday for the Illinois Cup Urbana Grand Prix and plenty of entertainment on Saturday night. Sounds like a good weekend to get downstate!
For the 4th consecutive year promoter Mark Swartzendruber, or Druber as he is known to fellow racers (Scarletfire Racing), will bring bike racing back to the area with two days of racing in Champaign / Urbana. Druber and Scarlett Fire will be supported by Wild Card Cycling to put on an action packed weekend.
The Tour De Champaign on Saturday will feature a wide open 4 corner crit with a small hill and several false flats (check out the map here). Druber says that this course was used in the first two editions of the race series and will return again this year. According to Druber this is a wide open course and he anticipates there will be some great aggressive racing, although that is up to the riders. With mixed category racing all day it’s a great opportunity for team’s Cat 4 and Cat 3 teams to race together. Spectators will be able to enjoy the races and a Cinco De Mayo Party hosted by Hoolihan's, and the weather looks prefect for a mid-day margarita!
The Illinois Cup Urbana Grand Prix will mark the return of high caliber racing to the Urbana area. The city of Urbana has been eager to help Druber make this happen. The technical 8 corner course will be new this year and should provide exciting racing all day long. Druber tells me that the course is wide with several slight elevation changes. All we can say for now is the course look fun. Don’t forget the Sunday race is a part of the ICA Cup, so points are on the line!
This Champaign / Urbana weekend is about more than just racing, it’s about getting away from the buzz of regular life and relaxing with friends after the checkered flag. Rob (Mr. Psimet) Curtis spent the weekend racing in the series last year and had this to share, “It's a great location with many great places to eat and shop. Julie (Mrs. Psimet) and I made it into a mini vacation. We brought our son, spent the night, and we were able to share a great meal together with a large portion of our team. No pressures for anyone to get back home - just enjoying our racing family.”
Over the past 4 years field sizes at the event have varied, but in 2012 it seems as if field sizes could swell considerably. Word amongst the racer community is very important when considering which races to do, so I asked seasoned veteran Wayne (Enzo's) Simon why he race the event each year. Wayne said “Great courses, with good small town atmosphere. Locals cheering and watching races, not just racers and girlfriends. Scarletfire Racing and WildCard do a great job with this event, I have raced it every year since Druber started it, a must for any serious racer!”
Not only does the race draw interest from masters racers like Wayne, it also excites the younger racers like past Cat 3 winner Dustin Morci (Sammy’s) who said “The Tour of Campaign was well organized and had many of the perks that one would only find in a high profile race. Perhaps my favorite parts were how they treated winners. Primes were worth going for (zipp skewers) and the podium made one feel pro. Podium girls treated the winners with kisses. And this racer might have had the coolest time of his life on the top step, spraying campaign!!!!”
With Dustin now racing the Cat 2 level he will find the completion a little stiffer this year with the full Bissell-ABG-Nuvo squad coming to town. With such a strong development team poised to animate both days of racing, I asked XXX Racing’s Luke Seeman, what do you anticipate to be the most challenging aspect of racing against a well-organized developmental team at TDC? He said “I think the most challenging aspect is clearly that they are a) fast and b) in large number. But one ought not be intimidated. A team's presence like that can be an asset. You know they'll be active, so if you can mark the right move and get in a break, you know they'll be blocking on your behalf behind you.”
With such a great buzz among respected racers its clear these races are gaining steam, if you haven’t pre-registered yet do so now! You don’t want to miss two great days of racing!
In addition to the races the Prairie Cycle Club will be hosting the Tour of Champaign County Bike Ride, Saturday, May 5, 2012.
This ride, held in conjunction with the Champaign Criterion bike races, will leave from the parking lot on the NW corner of First St and St Mary’s Road in Champaign, kitty corner from Houlihan’s. There will be two approximately 32 mile routes (ride both for a metric century) and an in-town tour of about 10 miles. The Ride will start at 8:00 AM. Registration fee per rider for the 32 and 64 mile rides is $10 for PCC and USA Cycling Members, $15 for others. Registration for the in town ride is $5 per household, so bring the kids. Registrations on-site the day of the ride from 7:30-9:00am.
Quad Cities Criterium - a portion of the 4 day Memorial Day Weekend race series in Eastern Iowa/Western, IL
The South Chicago Wheelmen
The South Chicago Wheelmen
Thursday night race series that runs throughout the summer at the Ed Rudolph Velodrome in Northbrook