Chicagoland Cross Cup #1: Jim Nowak

Sun. Oct. 15th started as a sunny but cold, frosty day with temps @ 7am right around the freezing mark.  Temps were to warm up to high 50's with clouds forming and a hint of rain in the forecast. 
Perfect 'cross weather.
The race was located at Carpenter's Park in Carpentersville the same place as last year's first race when it was MUCH warmer with temps in the 70's
With USA Cycling creating a 'cross category this year, it was going to create changes in the fields, with many who have raced in the B's category either going down to the Cat 4 race, or moving into their age group (35+ or 45+) fields respectively, and some of those in the A race finding a different race to do.
The course was almost exactly the same as last year, the only changes being that a section of pavement was added after the 1st 500 meters and a 30 meter sand pit about 500 meters from the finish.
This year I decided to race in the 35+ field, and was joined by fellow ABD'er and Cat 3, Uwe Krueger.  I got a spot right on the start line and looking over the field there was an impressive mix of 'crossers that included many of the old stand-bys; Tim Boundy, Randy Warren, Pete Rolowiecz, John Gatto, and the speedster Brian Conant with a total of about 25 starters.  The unknown variable was Robbie Ventura (Yep, Floyd's "coach").  You knew that he would be strong, but the big question was his 'cross skills.
Well, didn't get much of a chance to see Robbie's skills as he and Conant burst from the start, and set a high pace.  I tried to go with them, only to blowup, have about 8 guys pass me, while I recovered from that effort for a lap.  Once I got my senses back, it was time to start picking off a few guys.  The most interesting section of the course was the sand pit.  It was long enough that you really needed to decide if you were going to ride it or run it.  I would say that it was 50-50, where the people running made it through at a steady pace, and those riding would fly through on the 1st half only to slow and struggle through the 2nd half.  I ended up catching a few guys but ran out of time and ended with a respectable 8th.  Uwe "enjoyed" his ride and ended up 22nd.
Besides the 35+ race, every field was large:
45+  20 starters:  Tom Knoebl 8th
Women's Cat 1/2/3:  10(?) starters Corie Berrigan 2nd and Jessi Prinner 6th
Men's Cat 3:  40(?) starters:  Brad "The Hole Shot" Dash 14th, Eric Wiecek 17th, Angelo DiGiovine 20th, and Jon Tenney suffered admirably to finish, bad back and all.
Men's Cat 4:  70 starters (this was INSANE!):  Jason Senffner 5th, Jay Corgiat 11th, Michael Wakely 19th
Women's Cat 4:  10+ starters:  Gina Kenney 10th (only 10 or so weeks after having a baby!)
Juniors:  10 starters:  Alexandra Corgiat 5th
I think I got everyone from ABD here.  If not I appologize, but I'm working off of my memory and the results sheet that is not complete.
I was very encouraging to see an ABD'er in every category except the Cat 1/2.  Obviously there is a nice 'cross culture in the club.
Thanks for reading;

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