CHICAGO—A few dozen cowbells and a few hundred hecklers will ring in the first race of the ninth annual Chicago Cyclocross Cup on September 15.

The popular 12-race series runs from September through early December with races throughout Chicagoland promoted by local cycling teams and shops. Last year’s series boasted a continued swell in participation with sold out fields including category 4 women, category 3 men, juniors, and the ever-popular, shenanigans-filled main event: the category 4B’s.

The series starts and ends in City of Chicago parks. In September riders snake around the South Side’s grassy Jackson Park Lagoon, in December they head north to brave icy Lake Michigan winds and serious sand at Montrose Harbor for the CCC series finale and Illinois State Championship. Mid-season races move through Chicagoland, including the popular two-day Indian Lakes Resort race in Bloomingdale on November 10 and 11. It is the same venue is used for the UCI C-2 New Years Resolution race on January 5 and 6.

This year the CCC is turning it up to 11, planning to award weekly Pactimo leaders jerseys to series leaders in every category, fully staging each field based on a combination of CCC points and points, responding to the booming category 3 women’s field with seperate CCC rankings from the women’s 1/ 2’s, offering over $16,000 total in cash prizes, and kiddie fun rides at select events.

As in past years, Juniors always race for free and the CCC will hold a season-long fundraiser for World Bicycle Relief. In 2011 Scott McLaughlin of SRAM Factory Racing and Samantha Schneider of won the series titles for the elite men’s and elite women’s cateogries.

Iron Cycles, an independent bike shop in Chicago’s north side, will be the CCC’s title sponsor for the third year running. Dozens of local and national sponsors along with numerous volunteers help make the series possible.

The Chicago Cyclocross Cup’s 2012 #yearofspeed promises to be bigger, more boisterous and as bacon-wrapped as ever. For more information visit or @chicrosscup on Twitter.