The Cannonball Ride Series is back and bigger than ever for this fall with a series consisting of three gravel adventure races throughout southern Illinois. The first in the series will take place at the Southern Illinois Fat Tire Fest on October 13th in beautiful Ozark, Illinois. Then we will head back to Chester, Illinois for the next two events; one on October 27th and the final for the 2018 calendar on November 10th. As you likely know from before Cannonball Gravel Races are epically fun cycling races, held on open roads, completely self-supported, utilizing GPS for navigation and Strava for timing/scoring. No traditional timing clock, no corner marshals, no closed courses; just you, your bike, and your honor. For this Series we will have FREE meals and drinks included after each event for each participant at great venues to hang out at and reminisce about the day’s race. Racers competing in at least two of the three races in the Fall series will receive a custom Cannonball Growler, that includes a hookup on fill-ups from the brewers at St. Nicholas Landmark for not only the first fill up but for future visits too!
This morning starts at 10AM, Saturday, October 13th, leaving you plenty of time to drive in from anywhere in the Midwest. Come fueled up and ready for a challenge, the Gravel Road Race will roll at 10:15AM for the first event of the 2018 Fall Cannonball Series with two mileage options; first option a a 36 mile gravel race with 2300′ of climbing thru the hills and valleys of deep southern Illinois, check out this route here: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28712425. The second option is a newly added 53 mile ball buster with over 4,000′ of GPS verified climbing (ride with GPS is a 1000′ shy) everything from 20% grade climbs to chunky gravel to some of the most challenging terrain available as you wind between Bell Smith Springs and Jackson Falls, check out this route here: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28697758. This route is not for the faint of heart, you will come back muddy, hopefully not bloody, and well cooked guaranteed! This course will present the most challenging terrain of any of the previous or remaining Cannonball races for the 2018 calendar with significant elevation, over 3300’ gained within the 53 mile course. Both races will start and finish at FTF HQ at CampO where a late lunch will be served while first round points are tabulated.
Following lunch and a bit of fun exploring Camp we will host the second annual Gravel Crit World Championships. Seeing as how we have yet to be copied by someone doing it bigger and better we are going to continue flying the flag of world championship with this very unique 1 mile gravel race course that circles Lake St. Isaac with a combination of gravel, funky road and just a bit of slick rock. Thirty (30) minutes of wheel to wheel racing will result in racers completing over 15 laps, combined with lots of tom foolery results in of the most fun bike races ever. All Cannonballer’s are invited and encouraged to participate in this event, whether as one of the racers or just part of the audience, you are guaranteed a good time. Following the Gravel Crit we will serve dinner, some of the best BBQ in soILL, and do a quick awards ceremony for both the Gravel Race and the Gravel Crit before the one day Cannonballer’s head home.
Come check out our newest Cannonball sponsor, the brand new St. Nicholas Brewing Landmark Restaurant on the Mississippi riverfront in Chester, IL. The Landmark is serving as race HQ and host for the second and third races of the Fall Cannonball calendar. For both Cannonball II and III we will launch from their place and more importantly finish at their place, arriving to a phenomenal hot meal and cold drink (included with your race). We have even heard there might be a special Cannonball brew from their microbrewery for racers of age!
Cannonball II will roll from Chester on October 27th at 9AM and head North along the Mississippi before making its only significant climb up the bluffs and into Ellis Grove, IL before descending back down to the Mississippi levee network which will take us all the way to Fort de Chartres a very cool stone fort built by the French in 1753, who doesn’t love a cool fort mid ride. Festivities at the fort might very well include some extra-curricula’s that will add to everyone’s enjoyment of the day, think photo ops with the shotgun toting hillbilly from the infamous Sauget Cannonball race earlier this year. We will turn back South from there and head back to the Landmark for a ~70 mile total course with just over 1,500’ of total climbing.
Cannonball III will roll from Chester on November 10th at 9AM heading South, directly into the hills of the southern Illinois and the Shawnee National Forest. We are looking at a slightly shorter route of just over 50 miles, so that we can ensure everyone makes it through the 4,000+’ of punchy climbing! This will be a course that separates the climbers from the mere mortals.
At the conclusion of Cannonball III we will have our overall awards ceremony at the Landmark with a real podium and everything 😊. We will bestow accolades on the top three finishers for each race both male and female and amazing one-of-a-kind custom trophies will be presented to the top three male and female finishers for the overall series. Everyone who completes at least two of the three Fall Cannonball Series races will receive a custom Cannonball Ride Growler, which you can elect to fill with your favorite St. Nicholas brew or any other liquid you choose.
We are also offering event tees and jerseys for those interested. Event tees will be $15 and jerseys will be $75 and are available for order through October 1. We will have final art on both in mid-September. Both the jerseys and the tees will be delivered at the conclusion of Cannonball III at the Landmark or can be picked up from Bike Surgeon any time after they arrive in early November, we will advise all who pre-ordered when they are in house.