Rain adds to fun at Carpentersville cyclocross race
Tim Boundy planned to sleep well Sunday night. He followed up a third place cyclocross finish Saturday in Wauconda with a first place finish at Carpenter Park Sunday in the two-race weekend of the Chicago Cross Cup series.
The bike race wound through the Carpentersville park with tight turns, hills, a jump over the creek and dirt rollers -- an especially tricky feature that Boundy, of Barrington, said was a determining factor in his 30-and-older masters race.
Jeff Provisor, owner of Main Street Bicycles in Carpentersville, hosted the race for the eighth year. Boundy has raced here every year and in the wider Chicago Cross Cup series since it started in 2004.
"The Chicago series is so great," Boundy said. "Every year it's more and more professional."
And participation increases every year, too. Provisor said the Carpentersville race started with about 100 riders and topped 600 this year. More women and children are competing, as are the elite racers -- some of whom may have been tempted into the race by bigger prizes for their top finishes, Provisor said.
"Cross has become such a fun thing for people," Provisor said.
During the fall season, races happen every weekend in the Midwest and people know if they're visiting the Chicago area they'll be able to find a race and jump in. In Carpentersville, the cycling is complemented by Oktoberfest, a festival with food vendors, kids activities and music.
While racers show up regardless of the weather, crowds for Oktoberfest were smaller than in past years because of rain, which Provisor hoped -- in vain -- wouldn't last through the early morning. The weather made the course slicker but in some ways more fun -- the full creek was a bigger obstacle than it would have been otherwise, forcing riders to get off their bikes and run through the water if they couldn't make the jump.
Patti and Tony Meo, of Carpentersville, set up their chairs on Heckler's Hill -- Provisor's name for a prime heckling (or cheering) spot. The couple were mostly quiet, enjoying the sport and an especially tight turn that challenged riders on the hill. The Meos compete in motorcycle trials and appreciate the technical aspects of the Carpenter Park course, though they don't know any racers personally.
"We love anything with two wheels," Meo said.