Cycling competition gaining popularity in Central Illinois

By Chad Weber

October 27, 2013 Updated Oct 28, 2013 at 10:02 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- A new type of cycling competition is gaining popularity in central Illinois.

The obstacle-course style race called "cyclocross" was hosted at Bradley Park Sunday.

"If you think about what warrior dash is to running races, that's what cyclocross is to cycling," said Tom Keller who rode for Bloomington Cycle & Fitness.

Through sand, over a bridge and up hills, more than 60 riders completed the course at the Bushwhacker Cyclocross on Sunday.

The competition, similar to mountain biking, involves cyclists completing as many laps as possible during a given amount of time.

The course is meant to simulate riding from town to town while encountering different types of obstacles.

"I would call it probably the hardest 40 minutes of cycling you can do," said Race Director Brad Nauman. "There is no warmup, you just go 100 percent for 40 minutes."

Sunday's event at Bradley Park was the second race in a five part series called the "Heart of Illinois Cyclocross Series" or HICX.

While popular in the Chicago area, HICX is one of the first Cyclocross series downstate.

"The great thing about having the central Illinois series is a lot of people that have never done it before probably wouldn't do it but now there is all these races locally, new people will come out on mountain bikes, hybrids, different kinds of bikes just to experience it," Keller said.

"I don't have to deal with the traffic and that's worth a lot," Karl Crapse said. "Not having to go up there and deal with the traffic and plus all their races up there because of the population are pretty well packed full."

The series concludes in Bloomington on December 15 and organizers hope the growing competition continues to expand in central Illinois.

"This is a way to showcase bikes are fun still,"Nauman said . "Adults ride bikes. That's why we're doing it."

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