In my women's photo gallery from the second race of the 2019 Chicago Cross Cup cyclocross series, I looked at the crazy circumstances that took the racing to the Indian Lakes property in the suburb of Bloomingdale for two straight weekends.
By "crazy circumstances," I, of course, mean a metric shittun* of rain.
* The tun is an actual English unit of volume equal to 252 gallons—or 954 liters for our overseas readers. Also metric, because gotta emulate Belgium.
Last weekend, heavy rains forced the Caldwell Woods race first to Bunker Hill Park and then to the defunct golf course on the Indian Lakes property. The latter move occurred on Friday afternoon, with hosts xXx Racing showing the organizational deftness of a Sanne Cant or Mathieu van der Poel in the deep sands of the Zonhoven pit.
As the calendar turned to October, the hosts of this recent weekend's Hopkins Park CX, originally scheduled to be held in the far west town of DeKalb, had to call an audible of their own. Fortunately, despite a 3-meter wide track of mud on holes 10-12 of the old golf course (don't quote me on the exact location), the owners of the Indian Lakes property were more than willing to accommodate another weekend of Chicago Cross Cup racing.
With Indian Lakes seemingly locked in as Chicago's rain venue, Hopkins Park CX p/b Indian Lakes was a go for Sunday.
Cyclocross at Indian Lakes is nothing new. The venue hosted a double CCC weekend for a number of years, and the New Year's Resolution Cross races took place there back in the day when nearby Madison hosted Nationals. The golf course has been closed for several seasons now, with the bunkers overrun by invasive species and the fairways invaded by weeds, but there was still plenty of room to put a completely different cyclocross course from the previous weekend.
Some rain on Saturday gave way to a beautiful, sunny Sunday in Bloomingdale. The course still featured several mud pits that really started to tack up by the time the Elite Men's race took place, leaving conditions much more favorable than those some of the early races had to contend with.
The top two finishers from the series opener, Brian Matter and Rory Jack, were in Fayetteville for a second-straight Sunday of mud, mud and more mud, so the riders at Indian Lakes knew the series overall leader's jersey was theirs for the taking on Sunday.
Sunday's hot starter was Tim Strelecki (Franco Factory Racing p/b Brightleaf). Strelecki quickly broke off the front and dared the other riders to chase him.
At the end of the first lap, the other riders were content to group up and give it a few before making any bold moves.
One rider who was unafraid to shake up the group in Lap 2 was Isaac Neff (Neff Cycle Service). After not pre-registering to claim a front-row call-up, Neff rode from the back to join the chase, and then he jumped across the gap to go full tilt with Strelecki at the front.
Coming off a fourth-place finish at Indian Lakes Part I, David Reyes (Tenspeed Hero) was the only other rider who could match the pace of Neff and Strelecki.
Reyes, it turns out, was just biding his time. Soon enough, he was solo off the front while Strelecki and Neff slipped back from theTenspeed Hero's blistering pace.
In the third lap, Wisconsin's Matt Riley (Linear Sport Racing) joined the other chasers and then put in a big attack in a bid for solo second. It worked, and a little over a third of the way into the race, it was Reyes, then Riley, then Neff and a resurgent Peter Swinand (The Pony Shop) making a bid for the first CCC Elite podium of his young career.
During the middle part of the race, Neff and Swinand locked handlebars in battle, but Swinand eventually had too much and moved into third by himself.
For the second half of the race, the story was set in place. Reyes led, turning an inspired ride into a win at Indian Lakes Deja Vu.
Riley followed in second to follow up his third at last weekend's first Indian Lakes race.
Swinand held on for third to complete one of the biggest days of his young cyclocross career.
Strelecki bounced back to take fourth and Neff held on for fifth to round out the wide-angle podium.
Although Neff likely wished for a 3-1-2, because Chicago, podium finish, it was still a good day for the owner of the Neff Cycle Service team, with Nick Gordon and Narayan Mahon following him in 6th and 7th.
The Chicago Cross Cup series returns this Sunday at Pulaski CX on the city's far southwest side.
See below for a gallery of images and results from the Elite Men's race at Indian Lakes via Hopkins Park.
If you are interested in purchasing a photo for personal use, send an email to zachary [at] cxmagazine [dot] com. (We can look for more as well.)
For more photos from all Hopkins Park CX categories, check out SnowyMountain Photography.