Meanwhile, organized events continue to evolve. Another category that sometimes experiences semantic hand-wringing is the Gran Fondo. The midwest has been a bit slower than other regions to catch the Fondo fever, and in previous years friends who’ve followed the trend have mostly ridden in California, New York, and Colorado. But the folks at Higher Gear have devised a most interesting event this year which pairs cycling with baseball and BBQ and country music. The Gran Fondo Hundo press release might have read like an Onion article a few years ago (“Make sure you pack a pair of cowboy boots and a faded pair of blue jeans for after the ride,” “you’ll enjoy country music themed fireworks before being transported back to Wilmette, where you will be rejoined with your bicycle.”) but these days, who wouldn’t expect to pay $200 for a hot shower, bus ride home, and fully supported ride complete with gourmet cuisine? August 2.
On the other end of the spectrum comes the Fyxation Open, an exhibition fixed gear criterium held as part of the Prairie State Cycling Series. Rumors of this event have been swirling all summer, and as a fan of Red Hook, I’m intrigued with what the promoters have in mind and hope to achieve. I’ll be posting an interview shortly with Ben Ginster of Fyxation where he talks about how he envisions the crit, and where he’d like to see fixed gear street racing evolve here in the midwest over the coming years. July 26.
Once upon a time, late summer crit racing was all the rage in the midwest. And I suppose in some corners, it still is. The Winfield Crit has played an important part of that history for well over a decade, boasting a fun and technical course, large payouts, huge local support, and traditionally stacked fields. Previous winners include Kelly (Benjamin) Fisher-Goodwin, Bryce Mead, Robbie Ventura, Josh Carter, Christy Keely, Jessi Prinner, and Mike Sherer. The event’s popularity and prestige has dipped in recent years, but for 2014 there’s been a big push to reposition Winfield as a premier race on the midwestern road calendar. I’ll be leading a ride out to the course from Chicago that day, and I hope to see many of you there! July 12.