BAPA’s 17th Beverly Hills Cycling Classic Set for July 19 

 

The 2019 Intelligentsia Cup cycling series begins on Fri., July 19 with the Beverly Area Planning Association’s (BAPA) 17th annual Beverly Hills Cycling Classic and Bikes and Brews Festival. The race start/finish line and festival site will be located at the St. Barnabas Parish parking lot, 10100 S. Longwood Drive.  

Day one of the 10-day Prairie States Cycling Series Intelligentsia Cup racing series features events for professional and elite amateur riders competing in men’s women’s, masters’ and juniors’ races. The 1.54 kilometer criterium course takes riders down Longwood Drive to 100th Street to Winchester to 101st Street to Seeley to 102nd Street and back to Longwood Drive, andincludes hills that attract professional riders from around the world. The festival opens at 4 p.m. and races begin at 4:15 p.m.  

Spectators around the race course are encouraged to cheer on the riders who whiz by at speeds of more 30+ mph. 

The Festival  

The popular family-friendly Bikes & Brews festival continues until 10 p.m. Serving beer for the 21+ crowd are local brewery favorites Open Outcry Brewing Co., Horse Thief Hollow, Blue Island Brewing Co. and Argus Brewery, as well as Lagunitas. Food and treats will be available from Original Rainbow Cone, Americanos, America’s Dog & Burger, Franconello, Misericordia Hearts & Flour BakeryCalabria, Home Run Inn, 9-1-1- BBQ Shack, Two-Mile Coffee Bar and Swanson’s. 

The festival area also features the Kids Zone with a game truck, face painting, and more, and a bike valetThe evening will include live music, the annual raffle for a Giant bike donated by Beverly Bike and Ski, and more.  will perform following the races, about 8:30 p.m. 

Get In on the Action 

In professional bike racing, riders make their living by winning prizes. To attract the best riders to the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic, BAPA needs to offer primes – cash prizes awarded to the winners of individual laps in a race. Only one rider can win the top prize; several riders can win the primes. Area residents and businesses can sponsor primes at $200, $100 and $50 levels.  Donors have their names announced over the public address system during the race. 100% of the money donated for primes is awarded to riders and the deadline for donating is Mon., July 8 Sign up for primes at www.bapa.org or request one via email at reception@bapa.org. 

Summer Bike Raffle 

Once again, Beverly Bike and Ski has donated a brand new Giant Cypress bike to be raffled off. Tickets are $5 each or three for $10 and available at Beverly Bike and Ski as well as at the Bikes and Brews Festival 

The Sponsors 

The lead sponsor of this year’s festival is Beverly Bike and Ski, 9121 S. Western Ave. The shop has been serving the community since 1921, and has been a partner in sponsoring the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic since the beginning of the event’s history. Other sponsors are Mike Haggerty Buick-GMC-Volkswagen, Beverly Bank & Trust, Sports and Ortho Physical Therapy, CIBC, Beverly Hills Animal Hospital, County Fair, 19th Ward Youth Foundation, Smith Village, Uhlmann Home Improvement, Chesterfield Awning, PRP Wine, State Farm Insurance – Zach Betley agent, Allstate Insurance – Josh Mercer agent, and The Beverly Review. 

Be a Volunteer 

People are needed to help out as course marshals and at the festival on race day. Sign up at bapa.org or call 773-233-3100.  

Crashes, Stories and Scars: Conine Ready to Ride in Beverly Hills Cycling Classic

By Grace Kuikman

When the riders in the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic line up for the Masters’ race on Fri., July 19, Beverly/Morgan Park neighbor Dr. Brandon Conine will be making his debut in criterium racing. How does Conine manage to switch gears from his demanding job as an Emergency Room physician at Metro South Hospital and busy family man and father of two to a demanding training schedule for an elite cycling event that draws rides from around the globe?

It seems like he’s as adaptable as he is hardworking.

Conine and his wife, Maura Conine, owner of Capsule Chicago clothing store on Walden Parkway, have two sons, Liam, 5, who just finished kindergarten at St. Barnabas and will start 1st grade at Sutherland in the fall, and Jude, 3, who will be enrolling in preschool in the fall.

The whole family bikes, just for fun and to get to neighborhood destinations like Maura’s store and out to dinner. But Brandon has taken riding to a higher level – that level is known as Cat 3.

Race categories are set by USA Cycling determine the events for which competitors qualify. The lower the category the higher the qualification. The Beverly Hills Cycling Classic stages Cat 1, 2, 3 races — the highest levels.

Conine started out riding for enjoyable exercise toward the end medical school. “The Tour de France or something like it must have been going on because I thought I’d like to give [cycling] a try.”

When he moved to Ohio for a four-year residency in Emergency Room Medicine at the University of Cincinnati, Conine found friends to bike with and started on his way to becoming an avid rider. He and Maura, who grew up in Beverly/Morgan Park, moved to Chicago four years ago. Following the move, Conine changed his focus from cycling as a sociable form of exercise to training for and competing in races.  He has competed in more than 100 racing events. “It’s a lot of fun if you’re doing it well,” he said with a smile.

Motivated by the change in the race course for BAPA’s Beverly Hills Cycling Classic last year that now brings the racers zooming past his house, Conine decided to work hard to meet one of his goals: to qualify as a Cat 3 rider and participate in the Classic.

The Beverly Hills Cycling Classic is the first of ten days of racing in the Prairie State Cycling Series Intelligentsia Cup. Conine not only qualified as Cat 3 rider for the local race, he qualified to compete in the omnium — all ten days of the race series.

Criterium road races like the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic are lapped races done on closed circuits that range from one to two miles – the local race is 1.54 kilometers, slightly under a mile. Conine will be racing in the Masters’ race, starting at 5:45 p.m. and lasting 40 minutes. At times, he will be riding at 30 to 35 mph on straightaways, and even faster going down the hill.

He expects a crowd of family, neighbors and friends to be cheering him on from his front yard.

In order to be ready to compete on July 19, Conine has been training about 10 to 12 hours a week since March, fitting in his riding around his work and home schedules. He has been practicing on the local route, up and down the hills, and making the sharp turns that will be required in the race which could attract more than 100 professional and elite amateur riders.

The speed at which these steely-nerved competitors are riding is stunning when you’re standing on the sidelines feeling the breeze as they go by in a blur of brightly colored jerseys. Isn’t that scary? Conine says no. “It’s scarier to go slower than faster,” he said, explaining that the faster the cyclists are going, the better the momentum keeps the bikes straight and upright. In his racing experience, Conine has crossed handlebars with another speeding bike and managed to get free without consequence. “Of course, there have been plenty of crashes, stories and scars to get this far,” he said.

Conine has competed in road racing, cyclocross (including the races at Dan Ryan Woods) and a little mountain biking. His competition history includes a 110 mile race at 10,000 feet elevation in Colorado and a 105 mile race on all gravel roads in the middle of Kansas.

Competing in the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic is a thrilling new challenge. “The best part of this ride is that it’s fun to do something you’re not sure you can do,” he said. “I’m really excited. I’ve worked a long time on this.”

Beverly Hills Cycling Classic Bikes and Brews: Friday, July 19

Beverly Hills Cycling Classic Bikes and Brews: Friday, July 19 

BAPA presents the 17th Annual Beverly Hills Cycling Classic: Bikes and Brews Fri., July 19. The start/finish and festival grounds return to the St. Barnabas parish parking lot, 101st and Longwood Drive, and the 1.54KM criterium course takes riders down Longwood Drive to 100th Street to Winchester to 101st Street to Seeley to 102nd Street and back to Longwood Drive.  

The first day of racing in the Prairie States Cycling Series Intelligentsia Cup, the local event features several action-packed pro/am races sure to provide plenty of excitement for spectators all around the race course.  

The Bikes and Brews festival opens at 4 p.m. and features craft beersfood, a kids’ zone, live music following the races, and lots more.  

The Racing 

Founded in 2012 as the Prairie State Cycling Series, the Intelligentsia Cup features top-level professional and elite amateur athletes. The Beverly Hills Cycling Classic will host juniors races, a Masters’ race, women’s race and men’s races starting about 4 p.m. 

Be a Volunteer 

Many volunteer opportunities are open for the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic, including assistance at the festival site and course marshals around the race course. For information on volunteering, call 773-233-3100. 

Already signed on to sponsor the event are Beverly Bank & Trust, 19th Ward Youth Foundation, Smith Village, CIBC and Beverly Hills Animal Hospital. For information on becoming a Bikes and Brews sponsor or donating primes for rider prizes, call 773-233-3100.  

BAPA hosts the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic as a community-building summer event. The suggested donation for admission to the Bikes & Brews festival area is $5 and supports BAPA’s community-based programs. 

 

 

Local Mountain Biker a Champion

By Abby Johnson 

Jim Pittacora is not the kind of person to fill his fireplace mantle with medals. He doesn’t want anyone to know that he has more than 100 of them for mountain biking. And even talking about the shiny prizes makes him anxious; he waves his hand in the air as if to say that particular piece of information isn’t important. 

But there is no hiding that Pittacora is a champion.  

He has won four state titles since his first big race in 2012 and twice finished first place in the Breck 100, a 100-mile cycling course climbing more than 13,700 feet that took Pittacora 12.5 hours to complete. This race is the most challenging, he says. And he’s training to do it again in August. 

One hundred seems to be the magic number for Pittacora: One hundred plus medals, 100-mile courses and his participation in more than 100 races. It’s a funny coincidence, the frequency of this number, because it’s also a reflection of Pittacora’s dedication to the sport. He gives everything his 100%.  

He’s currently preparing for a 15-miler that will take place in West Virginia on July 19. When asked if it’s a relief to be riding such a short distance, he shakes his head. In fact, this race will keep him up the night before, he says. 

“There is zero room for mistakes when you’re riding such a short distance,” he said. “You mess up one time, everyone flies by you and that’s it. You’re done for.” 

To lessen the possibility of any mistakes, he will spend every night for the next few weeks practicing his starting position, so it can be as close to flawless as possible when the starter pistol fires.  

For Pittacora, training isn’t a chore, it’s just part of a hobby. One that began in 2005 and accelerated in 2010 when he retired from his job as a Chicago Police Officer and began preparing for competitive cycle racing. Of course, it’s a good way to stay in shape, he says. But it’s not about the exercise. Pittacora does this because he enjoys it. 

“It’s tiring,” he said. “But that’s not something you notice if you like what you’re doing.” 

Sometimes he will ride to Dan Ryan Woods and time himself racing up and down the toboggan slides.  

Pittacora surely has the stamina, the endurance to excel at something so mentally and physically demanding. But his response when asked how he got to this point is surprising, considering he has certainly earned his bragging rights. It wasn’t hard, he says. Anyone could do it. 

“There’s no magic formula. Just ride.” 

Beverly Hills Cycling Classic #16 – Bikes and Brews

On Fri., July 20, a burst of smoke will explode from a starting gun, signaling the start of day one of the 2018 Intelligentsia Cup cycling series, as well as the return of BAPA’s Beverly Hills Cycling Classic: Bikes & Brews Festival.

The Races

The local event for the Prairie States Cycling Series Intelligentsia Cup features six pro/am races on a 1.54 kilometer criterium course that includes hills and thrills that attract professional riders from around the world. This year’s course has been rerouted and will take riders in a loop through the historic Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood from Longwood Drive to Seeley Avenue between 100th and 102nd Streets.

The first competition is a Juniors race for ages 9 through 14, and it begins at 4:15 p.m. Other races are Juniors ages 15 to 18, 4:40 p.m.; Men’s category 2 and 3, 5:10 p.m.; William Blaire Masters 35+ categories 1, 2 and 3, 5:55 p.m.; Pro Women, categories 1, 2 and 3, 6:40 p.m.; and Pro Men, categories 1 and 2, 7:35 p.m. Neighbors are encouraged to cheer on the racers as they whizz by.

The Festival

The Bikes & Brews festival location is also new this year — the St. Barnabas parish parking lot, 10100 S. Longwood Dr. Festival hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Leadfoot will perform following the races, about 8:30 p.m.

Craft beers from Lagunitas and local brewery favorites Open Outcry Brewing, Horse Thief Hollow, Blue Island Brewing Co. and Argus Brewery, and wine from PRP will be for sale for customers age 21 and up.

Plenty of food will be available for purchase, including Original Rainbow Cone, Franconello, Misericordia cupcake truck, Reilly’s Daughter, Calabria, Home Run Inn Pizza and Cilantro Taco Grill.

The Kids Zone will feature a gaming truck, face painting, crafts and more.

Mercy Home/Walsh Campus will provide a bike valet service for people who want to ride their bikes to the event.

The Presenting Sponsor

The presenting sponsor of this year’s festival is Beverly Bike and Ski, 9121 S. Western Ave. The shop has been serving the community since 1921, and a lead partner in sponsoring the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic since the beginning of the event’s history – this year is the 16th annual.

Beverly/Morgan Park resident Paul Weiss has owned Beverly Bike and Ski since 1996 and says it’s an honor to be part of Bikes & Brews because of its history within the community he serves. Weiss is a passionate rider himself, and although he jokes that he is nowhere near the skill level of the Cycling Classic competitors, he likes the idea of encouraging the community to become more interested in riding.

“Racing has its ups and downs,” he said. “But we have to keep it alive.”

For many years, the store even has its own racing team and offers its own racing events in late summer and early fall: The Gravel Bike Race is set for in August and the CycloCross Cup is coming up in October in the Dan Ryan Woods.

Get In on the Action

In professional bike racing, riders make their living by winning prizes. To attract the best riders to the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic, BAPA needs to offer top primes – cash prizes awarded to the winner of a lap in a race. The amount of primes available in a pro/am cycling race is a strong incentive for elite riders to participate – only one rider can win the top prize; several riders can win the primes. And the more competitive the event, the more exciting the action for spectators.

Area residents and businesses are invited to sponsor primes in the 16th annual Beverly Hills Cycling Classic | Bikes & Brews. Primes are collected in increments of $200, $100 and $50.  Donors have their names announced over the public address system during the race. The more you give, the more often your name is mentioned. 100% of the money donated for primes is awarded to riders competing races.

The final deadline for donating a prime is Mon., July 9.  For information or applications call 773-233-3100 or email reception@bapa.org.

Summer Bike Raffle

Once again, Beverly Bike and Ski has donated a brand new Giant Cypress bike to be raffled off this summer. Tickets are $5 each or three for $10 and available at the bike shop as well as at Bikes and Brews.

Be a Volunteer

People are needed to help out as course marshals and at the festival on race day. Sign up at bapa.org/support-bapa/volunteer/ or call 773-233-3100.

Thanks to the Sponsors

Other sponsors of the event include Mike Haggerty Buick – GMC – Volkswagen, Beverly Bank & Trust, the 19th Ward Youth Foundation, CIBC, Smith Village, Marquette Bank, AT&T, The Beverly Review, State Farm/John Harrell agent, Xpress Tax Appeal, Lagunitas, Horse Thief Hollow, Open Outcry Brewing Co., Blue Island Brewing Co. and Argus Brewery.