CHICAGO — Annicka Campbell-Dollaghan has been amazed by the boom of female cyclists in Chicago.
In turn, many of those peddlers now want to upgrade their city commutes to work and fun rides on the lakefront into competitive racing.
"As women start feeling more comfortable commuting to work, we've seen this huge explosion in women who want to race," said Campbell-Dollaghan, of Ukrainian Village.
Campbell-Dollaghan is a volunteer with Chicago Women's Elite Cycling, a nonprofit racing team and organization. The group, which supports and develops riders from Logan Square, Rogers Park, Uptown, Lakeview, River North, Lincoln Park, Ravenswood, Hyde Park and other Chicago hoods, is hosting an all-women race this summer. The event — the Women's Midwest Road Race Championship — will feature hundreds of female cyclists, from elite to novice.
"This race is about showcasing the growth in women's cycling in Chicago and getting more women who have never raced before to come out and try it," Campbell-Dollaghan said.
It's the second Women's Midwest Road Race Championship. The first took place last year in Ohio. Campbell-Dollaghan said the organization's elite team is an attempt to show the country's best female cyclists can find a home in Chicago.
"Once women get to a pro level, they usually have to go to Los Angeles or Colorado or places where there are more races," Campbell-Dollaghan said. "We formed this organization to have an elite team go around the country to national races, but also to host clinics and have junior race development."
The group recently launched a $5,000 GoFundMe campaign to finance the event, which will be run by volunteers. The event, which will have riders from Ohio, Minnesota, Indiana, Kentucky, Wisconsin and other Midwest states, is set for Aug. 21 in Leland, Ill. The course has a 15-mile loop over a mix of pavement and gravel, and race distances will vary. To register, click here.
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