Chicago Cyclocross

As some of you may know, I have been getting more and more involved into biking over the past couple of years. I am not really into traditional road biking, but some of the longer touring stuff and off road biking definitely interests me. 

A couple of summers ago I got my old Trek 820 mountain bike out and was doing some trail riding out at the Palos Triangle. Unfortunately due to rain, most of the trails have been closed for a good portion of this past summer. There has been a lot of talk online about Cyclocross riding, which appears to be a big up and coming growth area in the biking sport. 

Cyclocross is basically offroad biking, but it is structured around a race course that has some defined obstacles on it, which usually include some sections of sand and obstacles that require to you dismount from the bike. The bikes themselves are surprisingly road bike looking. They have drop bars and 700 cc wheels and they are all hard frame. 

After doing some initial research online it does appear that I don't need to go out and buy a $800+ cyclocross bike and I can in fact use my existing mountain bike for the races. This looks really fun and appealing to me since cyclocross races in the Chicago area are focused around the fall and winter. 

I have ordered a pair of 26" cyclocross tires for my trek, since it is due for new tires anyways and I am planning on attending an introductory course this weekend to see if this is something that I might find interesting. 

Hopefully it will be a good time. The video above from the Chicago Cross Cup looks fun, doesn't it?

Trail riding in Chicago

So apparently there is some decent trail riding in the Chicago area. After purchasing some new brakes for my Trek 820 and stripping off the unnecessary parts I took it out to Palos Park in Willow Springs. This park has about 20 miles of gravel wide track and single track trails

Overall I had a pretty good time. Unfortunately some pretty hard thunderstorms rolled through the area and I ended up having to camp out under a picnic shelter. The single track trails are only open when try to prevent erosion so my trip was cut a bit short. I definitely plan to head back out here in the coming weka and give my Trek some reason to stretch its legs.