The 2021 USA Cycling national cyclocross championships culminated with some great singlespeed racing on Saturday, and premier events on Sunday.
After rain and wind softened and then battered the region on Friday night, young riders and then singlespeeders took on the Cantigny Park course.
Sunday’s championship racing saw juniors, U23, and elite racers take on the most challenging conditions of the week.
Here’s a look behind the scenes.
The tape and fencing were enough to let riders and spectators know the course was official.
Austin Kilipps practiced one of the technical sections of the course the day before finishing tenth in the women’s elite race.
A special, limited-use port-a-potty was afforded to random racers who held a golden ticket, which was in their registration packet.
The course was muddy, with some sand, and this bike looked to be perfect for rolling over soft sections. But having to navigate barriers with it made it a no-go.
Older models of Trek and Specialized bikes were on hand, but not raced.
Stacks of Challenge tires waiting to be glued.
Looking skyward, everything was coming up rainbows on every lap.
Some riders took hand-ups, while others gave “high-fives.”
No big deal, just a rainbow jersey leading a Mapei jersey, circa 1996.
What kind of sealant do you use?
Some singlespeed bikes can accommodate a rear derailleur.
Ivy Audrain’s singlespeed Squid.
Violent storms moved into the region two nights prior to the elite races, and forced some teams to rethink protection from the elements.
In the fading daylight, keeping warm was a top priority while watching the singlespeed races.
Stages was on hand to support its sponsored riders.
SRAM was on. site, in Wheaton, Illinois, at Cantigny Park, too.
Shimano provided neutral support and power washing stations in the pit.
The Aevolo team van was ready to roll as soon as racing was over.
Mud on the New Belgium stairs made them even more challenging. They were one of the decisive factors in the final lap of each of the men’s and women’s elite races.
Gage Hecht had a special on-bike mascot, maybe to remind others, “don’t have a cow, man.”
One of these Cannondale SueprSix Evo ‘cross bikes is not like the others.
One rack for Katie Clouse’s and Curtis White’s bikes (they each brought three, nearly identical set-ups).
Honsinger’s bike got a compete cleaning after her win.
Joe Schmalz’s Crux was just hanging out at the Steve Tilford Foundation Racing enclosure.
Before Eric Brunner scored an impressive win, his bike had a complete overhaul.
New brake fluid went into Brunner’s bike before he raced.
Is this a way to test how well hydraulic fluid drains from brake reservoirs, or just a few bikes waiting to be loaded onto a car?
While results were available online, in real-time, they were still printed and taped to a board near the course.
Dollar bill hand-ups for those who needed beer money — even if the beer hand-ups were free.
The sandpit was soft and rutted even before racing got underway on Sunday.
Mud at the entrance of the pit.
Mud? Yes. A lot of it.
Muc-Off offered power washing stations for all to use.