Rules & FAQs

Series Rules

Series Scoring

Riders earn points for placing 1st through 30th place. The series winner for each category is the rider who collects the greatest number of points using the scoring system below. All races count towards overall series results but you must race in half the races in the series to win the overall competition. There is a 15 minute protest period after the officials post results for each category in which riders may contest the results for that category. Results are considered final after this protest period has ended with no exceptions. If you feel your result is incorrect please see the USAC Chief Judge at the race to make your claim. Combined categories may take a little longer to score at some races, so if you want to earn points towards the overall series you must stick around and confirm your placing is correct. Better yet, contact your USAC officials, become an official, and volunteer to help out!

Point System

1 40
2 37
3 35
4 33
5 31
6 29
7 27
8 25
9 23
10 21
11 20
12 19
13 18
14 17
15 16
16 15
17 14
18 13
19 12
20 11
21 10
22 9
23 8
24 7
25 6
26 5
27 4
28 3
29 2
30 1

The series winner for each category will be declared on the day of the last event in the series (or as soon as possible) after the final results for each category have been posted. In the case of a tie, the finish placing at the last race of the series will be the tie breaker. Riders must possess an unsuspended annual USAC license (for categories that require them, i.e. not Cat 5’s [men AND women]) as of the last race in the series to win the overall title. The CCC reserves the right to correct series standings afterwards if we messed anything up, because we’re getting old and sometimes Excel likes to play tricks on us. All overall series awards will be awarded at the end of season party. Watch the main page for details as the season progresses.

Riders upgrading mid-season take half of their points with them to the higher category, but only if they upgrade before the race which is 1/3 + one race through the season. For instance, for a 8 race series riders must upgrade before the 4th race to take their points with them. Otherwise all points earned in the lower category are forfeited. This rule only applies to Women Category 4, Men Category 3, Men Category 4, and Men Category 5 riders. Half of a Women Cat 4 (who has been racing in the Cat 4/5’s) points transfer to Women Cat 3, Half of a Men Cat 5’s points transfer to Men Cat 4, half of a Men Cat 4’s points transfer to Men Cat 3/4, and half of a Men Cat 3’s points transfer to Men Cat 1/2/3, but only if the rider has never raced the Women Cat 3/4, Men Cat 4’s, Men Cat 3’s (this is actually currently impossible), or Men Cat 1/2/3’s respectively). After a racer upgrades his/her points in the lower category are no longer counted as part of that category’s competition. The upgrade/point rule only applies to category racers and NOT age group racers. Masters, Juniors, and Single Speed categories can NOT transfer points to another category. Your Cyclocross age is your age on 12/31 of the year in which CX Worlds are held (the calendar year after the CCC season finishes).

The CCC awards one Team Competition winner. The top five individual point earners from each team across all categories will have their individual Cup points count towards the team competition on an ongoing basis (i.e. NOT per race). In this way both quality and quantity will help teams score points. Team points are tallied after each CCC race, after individual Cup standings are determined. For riders racing in more than one category, only their highest point total counts towards the team competition. Teams have the same eligibility requirements as individuals. Racers who officially join or change a club mid season will have their points applied as of the date they joined their new team. Previous points earned will still apply to a rider’s individual CCC points, but not to their new team for the team competition.

State Championship jerseys will be awarded to the winner of the State Championship race. Medals will be awarded for first, second and third places for Illinois racers. To win the Illinois State Championship jersey you must be 1.) an Illinois resident (as listed on your driver’s license or state issued ID), 2. A US citizen, permanent resident, or green card holder, and 3.) hold an unsuspended USA Cycling annual license. Note the IL State CX Championship race is not always one of the races in the CCC series and is not always at Montrose Harbor. Please see the Illinois Cycling Association website for official State Championship race information.

Podiums and Jerseys

Podiums are presented for the top 3 riders in each category, and the following sub categories:

  • Men Masters 65+ (within Men Masters 55+)
  • Women Cat 4 (within Women Cat 3/4)

Additionally, we have several breakouts for the Junior races:

  • 9-14 boys (medals for top 3)
  • 9-14 girls (medals for top 3)
  • 15-18 boys (medals for top 3)
  • 15-18 girls (medals for top 3)

And even more additionally… starting in 2015 unofficial podiums will be presented for 9-12, 13-14, 15-16, and 17-18… boys and girls presented by the Pony Shop Dads and whoever else chips in. We know that’s a lot, so please bear with us and Kenny and help out were possible.

Pactimo Series Winner Jerseys are awarded to the rider with the most series overall points at the end of the season in the following categories:  35+, 45+, 55+, 65+, SS, SSW, Jr 15-18 Boy,  Jr 15-18 Girl, Jr 9-14 Boy, Jr 9-14 Girl, Cat 3/4, W1/2, W3, W4 (within W3/4), W35+, Cat 1/2/3, and Cat 4.

  • If a Cat 2 Women outscores all Cat 1’s and 2’s there is only one jersey awarded.
  • If a Cat 4 Women outscores all Cat 3’s and 4’s there is only one jersey awarded.
  • If a 65+ outscores all 55+ there is only one jersey awarded.
  • There are separate Pactimo Series Winner Jerseys for girls and boys in the Junior 9-14 and Junior 15-18 age groups and awards for top Junior girl and boy in both age groups at the end of the year awards party.
  • No jerseys for 9-12 or 15-16 separate from the aforementioned recognition and awards listed above.
  • If a Junior 15-16 outscores all Junior 15-18 there is only one jersey awarded.
  • If a Junior 9-12 outscores all Junior 13-14 there is only one jersey awarded.

Staging Order

First Race of the series

  1. All riders are staged by rank, then by order of registration.
  2. While not common, the CCC and promoter reserve the right to assign special call-ups at their discretion (think Relay CX Cat 4 winners in the CCC Cat 3 field)

Regular Season

  1. The first row of 8 racers will be stated by CCC Series Points, then by rank, then by order of registration.
  2. Riders tied on CCC Series Points will be staged per their most recent CCC series race placing.
  3. rank is only applied to pre-reg’d riders. If you do NOT have CCC overall points and in the top 8 racers AND you do NOT pre-reg you will be staged at the back of the field.
  4. If you have CCC overall points in the top 8 and register Day-Of you will still be staged according to your CCC overall points for that category. That being said, please pre-reg as it saves you and the reg desk volunteers lots of time, not to mention saving you a few cash dollars as well.
  5. Since the CCC uploads all races to, most if not all riders will have at least some points. Please visit to check on your points and report any errors (to them please, not us).
  6. Riders doubling up and racing back to back races may have their staging spot held for them by their friendly teammate/peer/etc. However it is the rider’s responsibility to alert the staging volunteers/officials ahead of time. In the event a rider does not arrive before their staging position is called for their 2nd race they will be staged at that time (i.e. likely at the back).
  7. While not common, the CCC and promoters reserve the right to assign special call-ups at their discretion (think Halloween).

Staging Procedure

  1. No more than 10 minutes before the scheduled race start time of each race all riders must report to staging. An announcement will be made over the PA. Please make sure you are at staging at least 10 minutes before your scheduled race start time. If your name is called and you are not present your spot will be given to the next rider and when you do arrive you will be staged at that point in the grid. Please be on time.
  2. The staging volunteer will call out names & bib numbers one at a time from the staging sheet until they get to the end of the list.
  3. When your name & bib # is called enter the starting grid and choose one of the eight 75cm wide starting lanes lining up directly behind the rider in front of you (if you are not in the front row of course). No overlapping wheels.
  4. After brief CCC announcements the USAC Chief Referee will give the entire field their starting instructions. Please listen to these instructions.
  5. Whistle blows… race starts… everyone’s happy. 
  6. Masters Men 55+ will be staged directly behind the Masters Men 35+ field.
  7. Women Single Speed will be staged directly behind the Men Single Speed field.
  8. Junior 15-18 will be staged directly behind the Women Single Speed field.
  9. Women 4/5 will be staged directly behind the Masters Women 35+ field.
  10. Women 3/4 will be staged directly behind the Women 1/2 field.

Wait List Procedure

  1. Pre-reg wait lists on BikeReg will remain closed for each category until that actual category or its combined category has filled to its field/combined limit.
  2. Once a category is filled the wait list will open. When signing up for a wait list you will not be charged unless you are transferred into a race if a spot opens up before pre-reg closes.
  3. Day-Of wait lists will be started when registration opens on race day. Riders signing up for a waitlist on race day will be put in the queue behind online waitlisted riders.
  4. 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start of each race category, sign-in for pre-registered riders will close. At that point, any unclaimed start spots will be reassigned in order of wait list registration date/time.
  5. Racers must be present at registration in order to be given a number.
  6. If you registered for a wait list on BikeReg but are not present on race day, you will not be charged. The reg desk volunteers will simply assign a number to the next rider on the wait list.
  7. If you registered for a wait list on BikeReg but did not get in before race day your credit card will not be charged. If you make it into a race on race day you must pay with cash or check (or credit card if the promoter is accepting them at the venue).
  8. Pre-reg’d waitlist riders will be staged per their CCC points (top 8) and/or points.
  9. There is no additional Day-Of fee for riders who have pre-reg’d on a wait list.
  10. Day-Of waitlisted riders are subject to the same $10 Day-Of fee as non-wait listed riders.
  11. Day-Of waitlisted riders will be staged by their CCC series points (in in the top 8) but NOT by their points.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is cyclocross?

Cyclocross is or at least was the fastest growing segment in the bicycle-racing world, particularly in the U.S. It’s a cycling activity that started in Europe as a way for road cyclists to stay in shape during the off-season. The courses generally offer a mix of terrain including grass, pavement, hills, dirt, and barricade portions to force riders into a partial run each lap. The race is extremely viewer friendly, as competitors ride around a closed circuit exclusively on park property (no road closures are required).

What category should I race?

If you are a new racer, then your CX category will start as a Cat 5. Just as in road and track events, you can upgrade by earning points in CX races. Just check your USAC license. If you don’t have one you are a Cat 5 (men and women). Note that Chicago Cyclocross Cup Overall standings points are NOT the same as USAC CX upgrade points.

If you have a current and valid USAC racing license then you were issued a CX category. If you feel that your USAC CX category is not your appropriate CX category, you may request a category change online at You cannot downgrade to a Cat 5. Only Cat 5’s are allowed to race with a One Day license. Everyone else must purchase a USAC annual license. There is the option to purchase an Experienced One Day License directly from USAC, but you still must race in your USAC category.

So I can race whatever category I want, right?

NO! You must race in your actual USAC CX category. Not up, not down, but whatever category is (or was if you have not yet renewed) listed on your USAC license. If you don’t have and annual USAC license you are a Cat 5. You can upgrade or downgrade directly on in your account/licenses page.

I am a Transgender Athlete. Where do I fit in? Is everyone allowed to race and join the party?

Transgender racers have the same rights and responsibilities as all other racers as outlined in the USA Cycling Rulebook. If you have found your way to a CCC event to race your bike by those rules and have some fun in the process… then you’re welcome here.
The CCC has always been first and foremost about fostering a positive & supportive community built around competitive cyclo-cross racing, and that means welcoming and challenging everyone who wants to contribute to the series and make it better.
All CCC races are sanctioned by USAC and we follow USA Cycling’s Transgender Athlete Participation policies. We encourage everyone to read the full policy and educate themselves. Discrimination or harassment of any kind on the basis of race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, national origin, sportsball team affiliation, or any other stupid idea someone comes up with to belittle others will not be tolerated at CCC events and may result in disqualification and/or being asked to leave.

Can women race in men categories?

In the USAC RuleBook Section 1H10: Mixing of Classes, Categories, and Genders
(a) Eligibility. No rider may race in a class or category other than that which is stated on his or her license, other than as allowed below.
(g) Women may enter any men’s race for which they are eligible by age, category, and any performance requirements. They may also enter categorized races for men that are up to one category lower than their women’s category. For road, track, and cyclo-cross events, category 1 women may enter men’s races up to two categories lower.
(h) Master women may compete in men’s masters races as follows:
(i) category 1 and 2 master women may enter men’s events for riders up to 10 years above their racing ages;
(ii) category 3 and 4 master women may enter men’s events for riders up to 20 years above their racing ages.

What is my CX age?

Cyclocross age is based on your age as of 12/31 of the year in which the CX World Championships take place. Since all CCC races take place in the calendar year BEFORE the calendar year in which CX World Championships take place (usually end of January or early February) your CX age for all CCC events is your age as of 12/31 of the next calendar year. The formula is: CX Age = Current Year – Birthday Year + 1.  This goes for everyone but really only applies to Masters and Juniors.

What’s the difference between “Category 3/4” and “Category 1/2/3” – they both have a “3”?

The cat 3/4 race is limited to only Category 3 and Category 4 racers. Since there aren’t that many Cat 1’s and 2’s we open up the Men Cat 1/2 race to the Cat 3’s that want to get a little more experience and to race against the really fast guys, and so the field size is a little larger.

What is a sandbagger?

Sandbaggers are NON Pro/Cat 1 racers who win by enormous margins over their fellow competitors but aren’t man/woman enough to upgrade and challenge themselves and race at a higher level. If its your first ever CX race and you destroy the field, okay… you’re a monster and we forgive you… but apply for that upgrade now. If not, you know what you should have done last season. The CCC does NOT issue upgrades and we do NOT force riders to upgrade. We believe that people are innately good at heart and every rider will upgrade when the time is appropriate and right for them. However, when we notice egregious sandbagging with no action taken we will always pull the rider aside and have a quick chat.

USA Cycling has revised its rulebook, language, and upgrade point system regarding mandatory upgrades in Policy VIII. We HIGHLY recommend everyone read the General policy* and specifically the Cyclocross policy.

Cat 5 to Cat 4: Experience in 10 races or 10 points in 12 months is a mandatory upgrade.
Cat 4 to Cat 3: Voluntary upgrade with 10 points in 36 months. 10 points in 12 months or two wins if the field with at least 20 competitors is a mandatory upgrade. **
Cat 3 to Cat 2: Voluntary upgrade with 15 points in 36 months. 15 points in 12 months or two wins if the field had at least 20 competitors is a mandatory upgrade. **
Cat 2 to Cat 1: Voluntary upgrade with 20 points in 36 months. 20 points or two wins if the field had at least 20 competitors is a mandatory upgrade.

* Note the CCC series is NOT covered by a single permit nor one race director, so bullet point number 6 (Series: Riders who are more than halfway through a series of ten races or less may request a one-time waiver of mandatory upgrade with approval from the series director and USA Cycling.) does not apply.
** Juniors are exempt from this mandatory upgrade

What is heckling?

We’ll leave this one to the pros… see here… but heckling should always be good natured, fun, and more cheer than jeer. If you’re not sure what to say, don’t have anything original or actually funny to say, or don’t know the difference… then follow the old golden rule and just don’t say anything at all.

Cat 3/4, Cat 4… what’s the difference?

Cat 4 is for racing and earning USAC points for upgrading to Cat 3. Cat 3/4 is for Cat 3’s to race their best against their peers and Cat 4’s to try their hand at the next level and earn valuable experience and how to race a longer race. Starting in 2017 Women Cat 4/5 is for experience and figuring out if you are a Cat 4 or a Cat 5.

Does the CCC send race results to USA Cycling for upgrades? Are CCC categories different than USAC categories?

All CCC races are USAC sanctioned and we upload all results into the USAC database… so yes, all CCC races will earn you starts and points towards upgrading. CCC categories are the same as USAC. Men and Women that have been around for a season or more should race the 4’s and NOT the Cat 5’s. See here concerning upgrading.

Do I have to start in Category 5 and move up in categories?

You should begin racing CX at your equivalent USAC road or mountain biking category. Don’t know what that means? Then you are in all likelihood a Cat 5. No worries, thanks for racing and welcome to the party! It should be immediately clear if you are in the correct CX category. Upgrade and downgrade requests are made in your USA Cycling account on Note also that if you upgrade before the designated race (1/3 of the way through the season) half of your CCC points (different from USAC upgrade points) follow you to the next category. This is done as to not penalize riders who quickly move through the ranks.

Do I need a license to race?

Yes. If you are category 5 and you do NOT have an annual USAC license, you need a One Day license (available on BikeReg and maybe at the race site for $15). Masters, Juniors, & Single Speed races are not categorized, however only Cat 5 Men and Women are eligible to race on a One Day licenses in those categories. If your category is above Cat 5 you MUST purchase an annual USAC license or purchase an ‘Experienced’ One Day license through USAC. Annual licenses are $110 ($40 for Juniors), but please purchase/renew your annual license online well in advance of your first race to expedite the process. Licenses purchased on or after December 1 used to be good for the next racing year, but it appears they are back to just a rolling 1 year time frame. Please, please, please make sure your USAC annual license number is in your BikeReg rider profile. All USAC races required approved helmets… so protect your melon.

How much does a race cost?

Entry fees are clearly listed on all registration pages. You can race for just $10 for a second race or third race (you pay full price for the more expensive race). Day-Of Registration costs $10 more (online waitlisted riders do not pay this Day-Of fee). You must be logged into your rider account and reg for both races at the same time to receive the additional race discount online.

Can I pre-register online?

Absolutely, in fact please do!! Pre-registration is available and encouraged on Pre-registering saves you and the promoter time, hassles, and money. Plus it means you’ll be staged by your ranking (if you don’t have CCC series points) and won’t have to fill out a rider release form. Just show up, show the registration volunteer your license, get your number, and go race! Day-of Registration costs $10 more.

What forms will I need to fill out?

As with all USA Cycling events, there is a release form to fill out… but now that’s all online on If you are registering the day of the race at the venue you may have to fill out a paper form unless the race promoter has you reg on BikeReg anyway. If filling out a paper form, please write legibly so we don’t have to translate your handwriting hieroglyphics.

When should I show up to race?

Generally about 1.5 to 2 hours before your race time to register, stretch, socialize, and warm up. Some categories fill up completely but registration will always close 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the race. If you have not picked up your race number before registration closes for your category your number may be reassigned to someone else. USAC has strict rules about how many riders can be on the course at one time, so we will NOT allow extra riders to jump in who show up late. Get to the start line 10 minutes before your start time for staging and instructions. Just listen to the announcer, he has a loud PA.

Is parking readily available?

Yes! All Chicago Cross Cup courses are held at venues with ample parking. However, please remember we are all guest at these parks and it is a privilege, not our ‘right’ to have a CX race there… so please respect each park, its facilities, and the surrounding neighborhoods. Some venues in the city have metered parking for a nominal fee.

I have kids I need to watch but I still want to race. Can anyone help?

Please, please, please do NOT leave your young children unattended. Leaving your kids at a playground is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Be an adult, make some friends to help, or just sit this weekend out and watch the races with your kid(s).

Are cross bikes different than road bikes?

A cyclocross bike looks very similar to a road bike, except cross bikes use cantilever or disc brakes, a higher bottom bracket, and extra frame clearance for knobby tires. All Chicago Cross Cup races are held under USAC permit and accordingly we follow USAC rules for bicycle regulations. While we would prefer that everyone race on an actual cyclo-cross bike, the series does not restrict mountain bikes, flat bar bikes, or really anything that is safe and legal. Just get out there and have some fun, but please be mindful of your fellow competitors. If you bicycle is deemed unsafe by our officials you will NOT be allowed to race.

Can I use a mountain bike?

Sure thing, just leave those bar-ends at home… they are not allowed.

How about a tandem?

Come on now… wasn’t the mountain bike enough?

Single Speed?

You can always race a Single Speed in any category you want. However, starting in the 2012 season the CCC has a dedicated SS field and starting in 2018 a dedicated Women’s single speed field. And yes, you can zip-tie the shifters of a geared bicycle, as long as they are SRAM mechanical shifters only or eTap without the batteries. Don’t be the person who get’s DQ’d for having gears in a single speed category.

Can I use any size tire? I heard the UCI has a width limit.

All CCC categories are amateur races so you can race the tire that works best for you. If you are a pro your mechanic should have it figured out for you. If you’re on a fatbike and not in the Cat 5 race you may be “doing it wrong”.

What is a typical race like?

Races last 25 to 45 minutes, depending on the category. There are races for each level of rider from first-timer to old pro. Expect to work hard and have a ton of fun. The best part about cyclocross is definitely the friendly and casual atmosphere found at each race as well as the ability to see nearly the entire course from one spot. Most riders show up early and stay long after their race, even in the cold, to watch and cheer on their fellow teammates and other competitors. Just make sure to bring your cow bell!

How do you win a CX race if two racers do the same number of laps?

A CX race is just like any other race… the first person across the finish line wins. CX races are more of a time minimum than a time limit. The first person to cross the finish line after the time length wins. So most riders will do the same number of laps, but they still finish in order. Lapped riders are scored accordingly or may be finished early at the discretion of the USAC Chief Referee.

What is a call up/staging? What does this mean? If I register for a race am I guaranteed to be able to start?

If you register (at least in the correct category) and show up on time then you are guaranteed to race. Call ups determine the order that racers are staged and line up in the staging grid. Since a CX course has a defined width of 6m at the start line, not everyone can be at the front. We also do special call-ups from time to time. The staging grid is 8 lanes wide (75cm each) and long enough to accommodate every rider (about 65m). See staging order and procedure above.

Do I win anything for being rad and racing hard?

We are all rad and race hard, but starting in the 2018 season only the Men and Women Cat 1/2 fields (yes the Men Cat 1/2/3 includes Cat 3’s) earn cash payouts. All other categories are meant for earning experience, having fun, and playing bike with your friends. For the Men & Women Cat 1/2’s, if you are in the top 5, please swing by the Registration desk (or other designated spot) to pick up your winnings before leaving the event venue. Race directors will attempt to get your winnings to you afterwards, but eventually will donate unclaimed payouts to their local charity or to the CCC series long donation pool benefiting (Big Marsh, Blackstone Bicycle Works, and West Town Bicycles). You can also always donate your winnings directly if you want. Thanks!