– Well, well, well… the week we’ve been waiting for all summer is finally here. Cyclocross season officially kicked off this past weekend across the country and here in IL down in Rantoul at Patriot CX. We also saw a handful of CCC’ers also went North to race in WI. The CCC series starts this coming SATURDAY in Jackson Park with our hosts xXx Racing. More on that later and in Thursday’s course preview.

– Remember online pre-reg closes tomorrow (1am Eastern on Thursday = midnight Wednesday Central time) evening for Jackson Park. Super early preliminary staging info is here, but since there are NO CCC points used in staging for the first race of the series all Day-Of entrants will be staged by order of registration… meaning at the back. So pre-reg now if you have CrossResults.com points and want a better starting position than the last row.

Kiddie Rides!!! A bunch of parents have asked for them and Activator Bicycle Club has stepped up to the plate to make them a reality. At 6 select events (Jackson Park, Carpentersville, Campton, Psi-clocross, ILR Day 2, & AHFD Supercross) at 1:40pm (after the Cat 1/2/3’s have started) Activator Bicycle Club will put on FREE kiddie CX ride. No entry fees,  no paperwork, no staging grid… just all fun. Based on the number of kids that show up Activator will run rides for kids 4 and under, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10. If your child is <=10 years old (in CX years) and can’t, or doesn’t want to, race in the CCC  Junior races earlier in the day just make sure they have a bike and a properly fitting helmet and swing by the side kiddie course which should be somewhere near the registration desk, start line or finish line. We’ll make announcements throughout the day with more info. Thanks to Activator Cycles and the Activator Bicycle Club for putting on these events for the U10 kids.

While the CCC officially only has Junior 10-14 and Junior 15-18 mixed gender age groups, the infamous Chicago Cuttin’ Crew is stepping up this year to supply awards to a wider range of junior category. As with anything from the Cuttin’ Crew details are still somewhat sketchy, but just like they always do we’re sure they’ll deliver with flying colors… even if that color is only pink. What does that mean? If you’re racing in the junior races, even if you don’t win or podium you’ll want to be around the podiums after your race.

– The big kid races of the CCC would never happen if it wasn’t for our great promoters, USAC officials, and of course series sponsors. Over the next few weeks we’ll be highlighting all of our sponsors to let you know how great they are.

 Iron Cycles – Back for their third year as Series Title Sponsor, Brandon and the guys at Iron Cycles are all about bikes, and specifically CX bikes. They also walk the walk (or is it ride the ride?) too. From the Cat 1/2/3’s to the Women 4’s you will see someone racing in an Iron Cycles kit in nearly every CCC category. Iron Cycles recently updated their website to add lots of great tidbits on the blog, services, bike porn, and to let us all know about their great sales… like the CX sale going on right now. So over the next few weeks, look for the extra large black tent at every race, usually in a primo viewing spot, swing by and say hello to Brandon and the folks at Iron Cycles. Thank them for keeping the CCC going every year as well!

 – Also back again for 2012 and supplying the leaders’ jerseys is series sponsor Pactimo. Last year we experimented with awarding leaders jerseys to the Women Cat 4, Cat 4A, and Juniors and for the 2012 we’re going even bigger. For 2012 all categories will be awarded series leader jerseys (except the 4B’s) each and every week. After the officials get everyone sorted out and the results protest period ends we’ll calculate overall series standings and get the series leader for each category up on the podium. In cases where the series leader may be racing again we’ll wait until s/he is done pedaling and/or puking to get them to the podium. We’ll wait until the 40+ awards on Saturday to show you what they actually look like, but this year’s leaders jersey was designed by Chicago’s very own design empress Becky Welbes.

 It seems like a no brainer since their corporate HQ’s is right in our own back yard and this year SRAM comes on as a CCC series sponsor. You’ll put your spare bikes and wheels in the SRAM Equipment Pit and you’ll be want to stay within the lines made of SRAM course tape. SRAM makes some of, if not the best cycling components on the planet and have been ridden to multiple world, national, and (lest we forget) Illinois state CX championships. What’s even better for us here in Chicagoland is we have SRAM employees and engineers riding right along side us in races… okay, maybe well in front of us, but you get the idea.

Series sponsor Velosmith Bicycle Studio has a Cyclocross Trainer Fit Special – With the cyclocross season upon us, correct bike fit is paramount. As a sponsor of the 2012 Chicago Cross Cup, Velosmith is offering cyclists participating in any of the Chicago Cross Cup races a special $100 Cyclocross trainer fit. Just have proof of registration to any of this-years races and Velosmith will provide you a one hour fit session to help you perform with greater comfort and performance. Fittings are by appointment only. Please call Velosmith at 847-920-9360 to book an appointment.

– Well spotlight a few more sponsors next week, but in the meantime check them all out here on the sponsor page.

– Before we get started with the season, please take 10 minutes to read through our Series Rules and FAQ page. There really isn’t that much there, and its all there… staging, points, category descriptions… so don’t say we didn’t tell you.

 – And finally… did you know the CCC has merchandise? 2012 Series t-shirts will be available at Jackson Park this weekend, along with Mad Alchemy embrocation, Sock Guy socks, and Contigo coffee mugs. Order yours today on BikeReg right here!