by Kelly Clarke
The seventh race in The Chicago Cyclocross Cup (CCC) eleven race series, PSI-clocross For Life – put on by Rob Curtis and the folks from PSIMET – offered a more European style format with some gnarly downhills and grinding power sections. This course at Emricson Park in Woodstock, IL also featured a precarious sand pit and a set of barriers before a steep hill that caused many to test their running skills. Dry conditions kept the laps fast, but the brutal wind zapped watts in the straits. The overall consensus was that everyone loved the course and it’s many features.
The Schneider sisters returned to the series after traveling to St. Louis for Gateway Cross Cup and racing in their home state’s series. With the series staging top series points over UCI points and crossresults.com ranking, Samantha Schneider (TIBCO/To the Top), her sister Skylar Schneider and Brittany McConnell (Mercy-Specialized) from Iowa started three rows back in the Women’s Elite Race. Samantha was patient at the start of the race, as the pack went into the woods, navigated a steep descent and wound back up to the grassy park.
Later, she explained that she and her sister had competed in a tough race in Wisconsin the day prior and were pretty tired, despite wanting to do well in the CCC race. After a sand pit there was a long power section where Samantha made her move to take the lead and create a decent gap. She was looking back throughout the race to see if her sister would edge to the front, but never found her. Brittany McConnell from Iowa City, IA also found her way through the crowd and finished one place better than she did the week prior. Sydney Guagliardo (Verdigris-Village CX) came in third. Skylar Schneider finished fourth.
Kevin McConnell (Mercy-Specialized) was looking to have a good race before competing at Jingle Cross in his home town this upcoming weekend. He took the lead early in the Men’s Elite Race with David Lombardo (Verdigris-Village CX) hot on his tail.
The two battled in a close race, but with four to go McConnell made a move to gain a substantial gap while Lombardo took on a new battle with Wisconsinite Ian Haupt (Milwaukee Bicycle Company Racing). McConnell held his substantial lead while the two talented 18 year olds dueled to the end with Lombardo prevailing in the final sprint for a second place finish. Haupt came in third.
Shortly after the races, David Lombardo – second in the Men’s Elite Race – hopped on his road bike to do intervals while most were seeking food and rest. Title series sponsor, The Pony Shop, celebrated maintaining the series team overall competition with the help of successes like a full podium sweep in the juniors 9-14 race and some solid masters racing. Meanwhile, the South Chicago Wheelmen worked on preparations for the series’ upcoming double-race weekend, Hilton Indian Lakes Resort. For more information, please visit http://chicrosscup.com.
All photography by SnowyMountain Photography: snowymountainphotography.com