Oh man, less than 3 weeks until the xXx Relay Race… less than 6 weeks until the official start of the CCC at Jackson Park. There’s lots going on all over the place and this update is a big one… fasten your seat belts and please read all the way to the bottom.

– The CCC is still accepting 2011 series sponsors. If you’d like to be involved please email us at ChicagoCrossCup@gmail.com.
 – EJ’s Place in Skokie returns to sponsor the CCC for what seems like the 82nd time. EJ’s will be sponsoring the overall series prizes for the Juniors (10-14 and 15-18, Boys and Girls). All juniors still race free (no entry fees) thanks to our generous promoters.

Spidermonkey Cycling. New to (officially) sponsoring the CCC is Spidermonkey Cycling who will be supplying the Juniors prizes every week (10-14 and 15-18, Boys and Girls). Make sure to swing by the big yellow and orange 312 tent and say Ka-Kaw!

Pactimo. New this year the CCC will award Pactimo Leaders Jerseys to the Cat 4A, Cat 4 Women, and both Juniors categories. The overall leader in each of those 4 categories will receive a Pactimo Leaders Jersey after each race that they will be required to wear at the next CCC race (in that category… so if you’re a woman or junior racing in another category you do NOT wear your Pactimo Leaders Jersey from the Women 4 or Junior races). We’re starting out with just the Cat 4’s and Juniors since we realize the masters and higher categories like their team skinsuits. But if things go well this year we’ll expand the Pactimo Leaders Jerseys to other categories in 2012.

– The New Year’s Resolution race sponsorship proposal is now available here. If you’d like to have your name in bright lights at a UCI race the week before CX Nationals email us at ChicagoCrossCup@gmail.com.

– Apparently you all really do want to race CX. Online pre-reg for xXx Racing’s Relay Race is already starting to fill up.

CCC series races that are already permitted have online pre-reg opening now. We match rider information to your USAC license number so please make sure to update your BikeReg.com rider profiles as needed. Online pre-reg for all other CCC races will be available as those races are permitted by each individual promoter (likely very soon).

– Online pre-reg for Patriot CX is also open. Jason Rassi will allegedly be in attendance.

– If you’re new to CX remember you can race at your USAC (or NORBA mountain bike equivalent) category or one category below. For example, if you are a Cat 3 on the road you can race as a CX Cat 3 or CX Cat 4. There are no Cat 5’s in CX. All upgrades must be submitted to the USAC upgrade coordinator via your MyUSACycling account. See USAC’s page on the subject here. The CCC is not in the business of forcing riders to upgrade… but any egregious sandbagging will be dealt with accordingly.

– Got kids? Two entrepreneurial young ladies whose parents race CX have started Cyclo-Cross Sitters to watch your infant to teenage children at races (so there is no excuse NOT to race). Contact the Cyclo-Cross Sitters here.

– The great thing about CX is that every year each course changes from the year before, making it Feel Like the First Time. Sometimes just a little bit, other times quite a lot. But the same general terrain at each venue does stay the same from year to year. Since so many new people try CX each year we thought it would be a great idea to consolidate in one place all the helmet/handlebar camera videos from over the years to get a general idea of what each venue “feels” like. It turns out there are a ton of videos out there… but thankfully local Cat 4 lady racer and professional Andy Schleck TDF heckler Vanessa Buccella (Spidermonkeys) has a PhD in YouTube searching techniques and helped us scour the Interwebs for the best videos. Check them out here. Also as we mentioned, courses change every year, so please do NOT try to pre-ride courses now… they won’t be the same anyway, you’ll have plenty of time to pre-ride on race day, and most importantly some park groundskeepers are very sensitive about their grass.

– Half Acre Cycling hosts their Ladies Cross Skills Clinic on Saturday 9/10/11 in Humboldt Park. In addition to Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com’s Kaitie AntonneauFrench CX National Champ Caroline Mani will help lead the clinic. Please RSVP on FB here.

– We’re still looking for entries for the 2011 CCC series T-Shirt & Sock design competition.  Entries are due by midnight on Sunday August 14th (less than 1 week from now!). Otherwise we’ll need to design these things ourselves… and no one likes stick figures.

– The CCC tries to be as green as possible and one sore spot we’ve recognized over the years has been the large number of Tyvek bib numbers that end up in landfills because of our weekly bike parties. This year the CCC will do its best to recycle old bib #’s using these Tyvek recycling kits from Waste Management. If you’d like to help us out by either purchasing kits or helping to gather old bib #’s at each race please let us know.

– And finally… Last year more and more promoters starting having food vendors at their races to literally feed the hungry masses. A few trips to a city taco stand that serves killer margaritas got us to thinking maybe we could have even more options at races this year. Food trucks are all the rage these days and the CCC (through some friends who know a guy who knows a guy) have an inside line on getting this truck and this truck (designer cupcake handups?) to some of the city races. But if you have a favorite food truck or trucks you’d like to see at the races, the next time you’re chowing down on a taco, burger, cupcake, fro-yo, hot dog, etc… print out a few of these schedules and invite the driver to stop by. Tell him/her over 500 ravenous skinny people on bikes will buy them out of whatever they’re serving!

– And finally… FINALLY… the CCC and long time friends at Mad Alchemy Embrocation have been thinking for a while the CCC is ready for its own embro blend and this year our collaboration finally came to fruition. We asked around to see what scent you all preferred to slather on your legs and responses varied from fresh cut grass to pumpkin spice to bacon to Jack Daniels to Twinkies. Fortunately for your significant others and co-workers Pete at Mad Alchemy told us he will only work with the highest quality, all natural, essential oils (we thought bacon WAS an essential oil). But in the end MsChiCrossCup had a spark of genius that led to the final blend we’re calling the Chicago Cyclocross Cup Pome d’Embre Embrocation blend. We think you’ll all really enjoy the scent of the blend that is evocative of Autumn and the holiday season and can’t wait to get the stuff on your legs. Mad Alchemy’s brew monster is working overtime getting ready for CX season but the CCC custom blend should be available soon over on the store page. We’ll let you know as soon as it is!