by Kelly Clarke
A week of rain and an early morning frost lead to a very tacky course at the Chicago Cyclocross Cup’s fourth race, Carpenter Park. Taking advantage of the ideal cyclocross conditions were Kelli Richter (PSIMET Racing) in the women’s elite race and returning from Wisconsin Joseph Maloney (KS Energy Services/Team Wisconsin) in the elite men’s race.
Main St. Bicycles and their race team, Sasquatch Squadron, organize this race to coincide with the Carpentersville Oktoberfest, with something for the whole family — face painting, petting zoo, food vendors and a huge beer garden alongside an off-camber section of the course. As the sun burned off the morning’s precipitation, the course got faster, but power sections remained sticky, making it difficult for riders to make up ground on the long straights.
Kelli Richter (PSIMET Racing) had been disappointed with her starts in the previous Chicago Cyclocross Cup (CCC) races, but this was not the case in the Elite Women’s race at Carpenter Park. She took the holeshot and was able to maintain a lead the entire race. Richter said the course’s many turns allowed her to keep her eye on Emma Swartz and make sure she wasn’t caught. Swartz (Team Wheel & Sprocket) came down from Wisconsin hoping for another CCC victory after winning Hopkins Park and then competing at Ellison Park in Rochester, NY the previous weekend. Swartz was never able to close the gap that Richter created early in the race and settled in for second. A freshly upgraded Maria Larkin (Chicago Cuttin Crew) had a clean and focused first race as a Cat 2. She started to gain on Swartz in the final lap but ended up short, still earning a third place finish.
Joseph Maloney (KS Energy Services/Team Wisconsin) had to fight his way to the front of the Men’s Elite race, but he was able to gain a lead at the triple barriers. Maloney took advantage of the flowy turns and tacky surface to advance this lead significantly throughout the race. Behind him, teammates David Reyes and Mike Phillips (Heritage Race Club) worked to lessen Maloney’s gap and rid themselves of David Lombardo (Verdigris-Village CX). With three laps to go, Reyes got mad at himself for fumbling a remount, and used this aggression to take off. This move secure Reyes a second place finish. Phillips and Lombardo battled to the end. Lombardo won the final effort for third.
Despite Pony Shop team leader, Lou Kuhn, benched with an injury, the Pony Shop continues to bring more racers out to the series across all categories. This resulted in the team extending their lead over xXx Racing and Verdigris-Village CX in the overall team competition as the series heads into the belly of the season with Athletes By Design hosting the next stop at Sunrise Park on Sunday, October 26. For more information, visit: http://chicrosscup.com/.