A criterium (or crit) is a road cycling race that is typically held in a parking lot or on a short course through neighborhoods. This makes for incredibly fast races, and ensures a lot of action as racers must corner quickly (to maintain speed) and jockey for position.

For 11 years we operated as “Intelligentsia Cup” and were immensely grateful to our long-time title sponsor Intelligentsia Coffee to be able to do so. While the name is wonderful, we felt the need to make the shift so can better identify with the communities in which we race as well as our riders. Chicago Grit was chosen as we believe this race requires true grit. It is an epic series with truly world-class talent and we are proud to be able to offer this to the cycling community.

That is totally fine and we would love to welcome you to the sport of bike racing! USAC has novice categories designed for new racers! We would encourage you to get comfortable on group rides as that will give you confidence cornering, attacking, and drafting so that you can relax a bit and have a great time racing with us!

Nope – although it is super fun and epic to do so! You can race as many days as your schedule (and body) allow!

Absolutely! Chicago Grit is designed with spectators in mind! We have worked hard to create spectator-friendly events meant to draw a crowd (and keep them there). There will be plenty for them to see and do as they wait for you to cross the finish line!

Absolutely! Even if you know nothing about cycling – Chicago Grit is a wonderful experience for all! Riders whip around the course at speeds up to 35 miles per hour and there is near constant action because the courses and races are so short and technical. Additionally, each community will have various events, expos, carnivals, and block parties throughout the day so even if the racing is not your thing – you will find something to enjoy!

Nothing. We hire professional announcers at each race who are seasoned professionals. If you want to get the best possible experience, standing near the stage will offer you not only a wonderful view of the finish line, but will help you better understand race dynamics. Our announcers make sure to explain the race as it unfolds so you can better understand and cheer for various riders throughout the race.

Races run throughout the day typically between 10:00am – 8:30 pm. The early morning races are for the amateurs, and during each consecutive race you will note an increase in speed and intensity. That is because USA Cycling divides racers into categories, with Category 5 (sometimes called Amateur) being the most novice category. As riders win various races, they collect points and move up the ranking. If they are very good, they will eventually earn enough points to race as an elite, or Category 1 rider. These races are run toward the end of the day, and are the largest, fastest, and most exciting races of the day.

Each course will vary, but we suggest remaining near the start/finish line if you are new to racing. This is because our announcers will help you better understand the race. This is also where the sprint finishes will occur. If you would like to view technical corners, you can ask a staff member or volunteer where to go and they will direct you.

Absolutely – we encourage you to do so! If you do post on social media, we would also love for you to tag us and follow us. We do ask that you mind the barricades and be aware of the riders. Please do not cross onto the course during the race or lean over the barricades for a better shot