CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — The Chicago Cyclocross Cup New Year’s Resolution weekend took off Saturday in wet conditions that left the course at Hilton Indian Lakes Resort a sloggy and slow mudfest for the powerful, technically sound riders.

©Liz Farina Markel

Thick mud slowed the racing Saturday in Chicago. ©Liz Farina Markel

In the women’s race, Sally Annis ( Cycles) took the holeshot and was quickly joined at the front by Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom Pizza), Nicole Theimann (Team CF-Elite), Andrea Smith (Ladies First), Arley Kemmerer (Charm City Cycling) and Sue Butler (River City Bicycles-Ridley).

The heavy mud immediately took its toll, and after one lap, Annis, from Nashua, New Hampshire, Smith and Thiemann had a small gap on a spread out field. Annis surged again late on lap one, pulling away from Thiemann and Smith to take a 20-second solo lead, with Butler and Van Gilder forming a second chase group in fourth and fifth position, while Kemmerer and Crystal Anthony (Ladies First) followed.

“I was just focused on riding clean and riding strong,” Annis said. “If people could catch me, good for them, they’d be riding stronger and cleaner than I am. I was just focusing on my own race and didn’t pay too much attention to what was going on behind me.”

Annis took the bell on the final lap with a 30-second gap over hard-chasing Smith as the thick course conditions slowed the field. Butler fought her way up to Thiemann and the pair started slugging it out for third. Thiemann took a new bike on the last lap, while Butler battled through the mud and gained a slight advantage by the finish. Van Gilder rounded out the top five.

Smith, who finished 12 seconds behind the leader, said the muddy conditions took her by surprise despite pre-riding the course earlier in the day.

“I was not expecting this mud,” she said. “We rode the course early this morning and you either have the course drying out because people are riding or you have it getting wetter. I guess I assumed because it was a golf course it would dry up a little a bit; I don’t know what I was thinking, but the mud made it a much better race.”

Butler, who got off to a slow start but battled back to third on the day, said the course conditions also got the best of her. “I rode it a couple hours before the race for the first time and I made it up the hill twice. In pre-ride it was just so much easier. I really had to run today, and we all know how much I love to run.”

The inaugural New Year’s Resolution is being held at Indian Lakes Country Club in Bloomingdale, Illinois, a near-west suburb of Chicago. The event, hosted by the Chicago Cyclocross Cup, will continue with a full schedule of races on Sunday, Jan. 1.


PHOTOS — Liz Farina Markel

New Year’s Resolution Cross, Day 1
Saturday, Dec. 31

1Sally Annis (USA) p/b JRA Cycles40:13 
2Andrea Smith (USA) Ladies First@:12 
3Susan Butler (USA) River City Bicycles/Ridley@:38 
4Nicole Thiemann (USA) Team CF-Elite@:50 
5Laura Van Gilder (USA) Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers@1:13  
6Crystal Anthony (USA) LadiesFirst Racing@ 1:52  
7Arley Kemmerer (USA) Charm City Cycling LLC@2:04  
8Emily Shields (USA) SmartStop / Mock Orange Bikes p@2:20  
9Samantha Schneider (USA) Team Tibco/To The Top@3:06  
10Elle Anderson (USA) Ladies First@3:35  
11Katherine Shields (USA) SmartStop / Mock Orange Bikes p@3:44  
12Corey Coogan Cisek (USA) Team Plan C PB Stevens@4:00  
13Anna Dingman (USA) Cycleution@4:04  
14Elizabeth So (USA) Team TATI@4:08  
15Corrie Osborne (USA) ISCorp Cycling Team@4:28  
16Marne Smiley (USA) Bob's Red Mill@4:42 
17Ellen Sherrill (USA) Bike Station Aptos  
18Kelly Fisher-Goodwin (USA) KCCX Fuji Elite Cyclocross Team@5:54  
19Kimberly Flynn (USA) USSC-Trek p/b Vantaggio@7:27  
20Lindsay Zucco (USA) Team Bicycle Heaven@10:32  
DNFMeghan Korol (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross