More Soldier Field info
It was not long ago that you could count the number of races within Chicago city limits on one hand and still have fingers left to shift.This year is much different. We still have the old favorites of Monsters on the Midway, Sherman Park and the Beverly Hills Classic, but we now also have the Chicago Criterium to look forward to, and Half Acre kicked off the season with five practice criteriums in March. And starting June 17, we'll have six biweekly Wednesday night criteriums held in the shadow of Soldier Field, bringing our total number of road races to 15. The Soldier Field Cycling Web site made quite a splash when it leaked last week and again when it officially launched Tuesday, but many of us still had questions. To get some answers, I found Joe Gaspar of Spanglish Ideas.
How did the event come to be? We have a great relationship with the folks that run Soldier Field. We've worked closely with them on several projects over the years. The idea for the series was floated at a meeting with them last year and it was met with great enthusiasm by the Soldier Field management. Soldier Field is best known as the home of the Chicago Bears, but the rest of the year they're looking for interesting ways to utilize their facilities. They liked the idea of a family-friendly event and the opportunity to bring competitive cycling to a new audience. We can't say enough about the support that we have received from them.
How involved was the city? Soldier Field is owned by the Chicago Park District, without them, there is no series. We are also in conversations with different agencies within the city and several advocacy groups.
The biggest question people are asking: Who ARE you guys? We are an event and marketing company called Spanglish Ideas. A lot of our work has involved soccer-related properties, specifically on the production and marketing side. Cycling is something we've always wanted to tackle, and finally the timing was right.
What is your racing background? First and foremost, we are fans of the sport of cycling, at both the competitive and recreational levels. Some of us have raced, others have only commuted, but we all understand the joy of the bicycle. We also understand that there is a need to grow the sport at the competitive level and that to do so, we need to start by making it more accessible. It has to be easier for kids to get on a bike and go fast and we hope that we can give them a venue to show there stuff. It's also important that we provide an opportunity for those that are already involved in the sport to practice and develop their skills in a fun, safe and convenient manner.
How long is the course? The course is a 1 kilometer loop in the South Lot of Soldier Field. It's the lot where all the Chicago Bears tailgating action takes place.