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Superweek kicks off in Chicago

Here we go again. Superweek 2003 is upon us. I recently moved back to Milwaukee (which is Algonquin for "the great land," according to Alice Cooper in one of the “Wayne's World” movies) for the summer, and I'll be covering the event again this year. Superweek, in its 34th year, is the longest running multi-day cycling series in America. This year, it features 17 stages in 17 days for the pros. Here's the 2003 schedule: Friday, July 11: Chicago criterium (Pro/1/2 only), Chicago, IllinoisSaturday, July 12: Otto Grunski Menasha Classic Criterium, Menasha, WisconsinSunday, July 13: Manitowoc

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By Jonas Carney, Prime Alliance

Here we go again. Superweek 2003 is upon us. I recently moved back to Milwaukee (which is Algonquin for “the great land,” according to Alice Cooper in one of the “Wayne’s World” movies) for the summer, and I’ll be covering the event again this year.

Superweek, in its 34th year, is the longest running multi-day cycling series in America. This year, it features 17 stages in 17 days for the pros.

Here’s the 2003 schedule:

Friday, July 11: Chicago criterium (Pro/1/2 only), Chicago, IllinoisSaturday, July 12: Otto Grunski Menasha Classic Criterium, Menasha, WisconsinSunday, July 13: Manitowoc Maritime Bay Classic Criterium, Manitowoc, WisconsinMonday, July 14: Alpine Valley Road Race (125km), East Troy, WisconsinTuesday, July 15: MGA Proving Grounds Road Race (125km), Burlington/Town of Lyons, WisconsinWednesday, July 16: Whitnall Park Criterium (100km), Hales Corners, WisconsinThursday, July 17: Humboldt Park Criterium, Milwaukee, WisconsinFriday, July 18: Brewers Hill/King Drive Challenge Criterium, Milwaukee, WisconsinFriday, July 18: Schlitz Park Challenge Criterium (Pro/1-2 only), MilwaukeeSaturday, July 19: Carl Zach Cycling Classic, Waukesha, WisconsinSunday, July 20: Bensenville Criterium, Bensenville, IllinoisMonday, July 21: Tour of Holy Hill Road Race, Hartford, WisconsinTuesday, July 22: Lake Front Road Race Long Course, Milwaukee, WisconsinWednesday, July 23: Oneida Road Race, Green Bay, WisconsinWednesday, July 23: Title Town Challenge Criterium (Pro/1-2 only), Green Bay, WisconsinThursday, July 24: Heritage Square Classic Criterium, Sheboygan, WisconsinFriday, July 25: Bank One Food Folks & Spokes, Kenosha, WisconsinSaturday, July 26: Lake Front Short Course Road Race, Milwaukee.Saturday, July 26: Great Downer Avenue Bike Race (Pro/1-2 only), Milwaukee.Sunday, July 27: Whitefish Bay Classic Criterium, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

If you’re a spectator, Downer Avenue is probably your best bet, but Schlitz Park, Kenosha, and Whitefish Bay are great, too. The two races in the Chicago area are relatively new, but should be exciting as there are tons of big primes.

According to the word on the street, here are a few of the pros who are expected to show up. Victor “The Belorussian Concussion” Rapinski (defending champion), Ivan Dominguez and Rashan Bahati will be here from Saturn. Robby Ventura, and Kenny Labbe will represent U.S. Postal. Three previous overall champions, Sven Teutenberg, Harm Jansen and Pelle Kil, will be flying over from Europe. John Lieswyn will compete in at least part of Superweek and will most likely have a couple 7UP teammates with him. Roberto Gaggioli, who has won the series multiple times, always shows up. Yours truly will be the sole rider from Prime Alliance. In addition, there will also be the perennial 15-20 rider multinational EuroDisney combine, in which almost nobody wears the same jersey, so you never know what the hell is going on.

Most people don’t know that Milwaukee is possibly the coolest place to be during the summer. Aside from the huge festivals that run throughout the entire summer, there’s tons to do. For those of you who are coming into town, here’s a few cool events to consider.

If you feel like sucking down a few PBRs while you’re in Milwaukee, I highly recommend hitting the Nomad on Brady Street at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. They sponsor a weekly two-wheel bar-hopping excursion that includes free beer. It usually draws a peloton of 20-30 people. The names of bars are drawn from a hat, and the group rides all over the city until closing time. For the most part, people are on old cruiser bikes and fixed gear messenger bikes, but I don’t think anyone will protest if you bring your Litespeed Vortex. Don’t forget to bring a good lock, though. (In no way, shape, or form do I encourage, or approve of, the riding of bicycles while under the influence of alcohol.)

There is also a ton of great live music in town during Superweek. If you’ve never seen Les Claypool of Primus play the bass, you need to put away your Justin Timberlake CDs and go see him with the Flying Frog Brigade at the Rave on July 20. On July 15, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is playing at the Cactus Club on the South side. The Cactus Club is an awesome small venue, and BRMC is an amazing live band. And on the last day of Superweek, one of coolest bands of all time, WEEN, is playing at the Rave.

Another event scheduled for this year’s Superweek is the Retro Ride, scheduled for noon on Saturday, July 26, at the Alterra coffee shop at the corner of Lincoln Memorial Drive and Lafayette Hill Road. Show up in your most ridiculous retro cycling gear and/or on your coolest retro bicycle. Anything goes. The group will consume coffee, and do a short ride at a crawling pace. The person with the coolest retro gear, to be determined by an unbiased panel of experts, will receive a special prize and their picture in VeloNews online, courtesy of me. So go down in your basement and dig out your Skid Lid and your Oakley Factory Pilots.

And finally, there is the event for those of us who consume large quantities of meat products … Tom Schuler’s Bratfest 2003.

Meanwhile, racing starts today with the inaugural NetVizion-Hewlett Packard Beverly Hills Cycling Classic in the Chicagoland region, and I’m running late. Stay tuned.

For more info, click on over to the InternationalCycling Classic.