Where to Go This Weekend: The Glencoe Grand Prix

This Saturday the Sixth Annual Glencoe Grand Prix will take place in scenic downtown Glencoe, Illinois.  Experience the thrill of pro cyclists flying by, have your children participate in activities created just for them, watch the Chicago Sky’s McDonald’s Fly Kids tumble, enjoy great food and drink, and dance the night away at the block party with 16 Candles, the best cover band in Chicago!

My friend and cycling mentor Jon Knouse created the Glencoe Grand Prix six years ago to raise money for the Glencoe Educational Foundation in a way that the whole community could participate in and enjoy.  He married his love of racing with his passion for the community and as a result, the Glencoe Grand Prix has become a signature event for the Village of Glencoe and a wildly successful amateur and pro cycling race.  When I caught up with Jon recently, he shared with me why he developed the GGP, how it has grown, and what it means to him.

When Jon started racing regularly back in the early 2000’s, he thought Glencoe would be the perfect venue for a bike race because of its small town feel and its lovely downtown area.  It reminded him a lot of the scenic towns in Wisconsin that hosted the criteriums (short course bike races generally held on closed-off town or city streets) he was racing in.  When he decided to pursue the idea, the Village of Glencoe found a way to say yes.  It has, along with the community and many other Glencoe organizations, continued to provide great support to the race.  Knouse’s cycling friends also supported his efforts in the beginning with donations to the foundation to help make the event go.  Without them, he said, it would have never gotten off the ground.  Six years later, he loves that though the GGP has grown exponentially it has managed to maintain that small town feel.

Jon said that in the end, the Glencoe Grand Prix is about community.  It is an event where everyone comes together, has a great time, and shares with the outside world how wonderful Glencoe is and what it has to offer.

The Sixth Annual Glencoe Grand Prix takes place this Saturday, June 2nd.  Amateur races run from 8:15am – 3:45pm.  The BTIG Women’s Pro Race begins at 4:30pm and the AT&T Men’s Pro Race begins at 5:30pm.  Great activities run all day. To find more detailed information about the race and its surrounding activities, visit http://www.glencoegrandprix.com and choose the flyer option in the menu.

Photos 1 and 4 courtesy of Josh Dreyfus at joshdreyfus.com, photo 2 courtesy of Andy Rogers, and photo 3 courtesy of Brian Lee.

And one more thing…

I was thrilled to be included in the GGP pre-race event held at Alberto’s Cycles in Highland Park with actor Matthew Modine.  Modine (appearing this summer in The Dark Knight Rises, the latest installment in the Batman Series) is an avid cyclist who created the foundation Bicycle for a Day with a mission “to help empower individuals with tools which they can use in their everyday lives to make a measurable, tangible, difference to our community, our environment, and our personal health.”  It was a great evening filled with talk of movies, biking, and global issues that touch all of us.  Visit bicycleforaday.org for more information about Modine’s foundation and to find out how you can become involved.

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