Intelligentsia Cup vs. Tour of America's Dairyland

Hi Everyone!

TL;DR: Which do you prefer?

I’m trying to decide which of these race series to take part in. I’ve heard good things about both, but unfortunately, I can only attend 4-5 days of one of these race series. Can anyone recommend one over the other or discuss the differences between the two? Are there any specific races that you found the most enjoyable that I should target?

A little about me: I am Cat 4 and this will be my second year racing. I struggled early on, but had a couple of podiums later in the season. I have been using TR for about 1.5 years and riding for about 2.5 years. FTP is 258 (3.8 W/kg) now, but I’m hoping to have it north of 270 by the time the racing begins. This will be my A-race for the year. I live in Michigan so travel isn’t really an issue.

My wife will come with me and I plan to take work off so that I can race over an extended 4- or 5-day weekend. When not racing we’ll be relaxing and spectating. Especially looking forward to the women’s and men’s P/1/2 races.

I’d love to race twice in one day when available (either 4/5 and then 3/4 or 3/4 35+), but I don’t know if this will destroy me too much for subsequent days. If I’m there for 5 days I’ll probably take one rest day. I’ll see if I can forgo the rest day if I’m there for 4 days. I plan to use this as a learning experience, but I’d also like to be competitive in these races.

Thanks in advance!

Oh, TR peeps! (@Pete, @Nate_Pearson, @Jonathan) Are any of you planning on racing in either of these? If none of you three are going, do you think TR will have a presence at either of them? It would certainly help me make my decision :slight_smile:

Also, are there any other TR members planning on going? I’d love to meet up.

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I did ToAD last year and enjoyed the experience of the event.

I really just wanted to write that US Road, TT, and Crit nationals were taking place during the second week of ToAD in 2019 and will be during the first week of ToAD in 2020. Perhaps that means nothing to you, thought I’d share.

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I’m a bit partial here, being from right outside Chicago, but I prefer Intelligentsia. – I personally could pass on the Dundee race because of the (so absolutely stupid) hill. Glen Ellyn, Elgin, and Elmhurst are so rad though.

ToAD is amazing racing though, and the payouts are fantastic (not that you should be racing for that reason). I also have a grudge because that’s where I broke my elbow last year. – For ToAD I’ve only every raced Downer Classic and Bay View, so my advice on individual races is limited.

Both are amazingly run series, but I’d really look at your calendar once more races are posted, and see which series fits in better.

Would it be possible to show up to say, a weekend for each?


Thanks for that info, @Trippy. I didn’t realize that Nationals were at the same time. I’m not sure it effects my decision, but it’s good to know.

Yeah, I had thought about doing that and it is definitely an option.

And thank you for the insight! Looking at how these fit into my race calendar is a great way to approach this.

I am definitely not racing for the payouts :wink: I hope your elbow has healed up; I’d hold a grudge as well.

I live in Chicago and I think ToAD offers higher production value, larger fields, and more intense competition by just a bit in each of those categories. Both are great series and many people race both.

I raced both weekends of ToAD last year. First weekend was 4/5 and second weekend was 3/4 as 4/5 was sold out. Racing the 3/4 race on the second Saturday at downers was a great experience, but the next day I got blown out of the water. The races are hard–I’m not saying don’t race twice but that would be no joke.

Intelli is also super fun and also high quality racing. ToAD is all crits, but over the last few years the first weekend of intelli has a couple road races. Cat 4 racing starts on saturday on a course that is called a crit but is nearly a road race. The next day is a crit disguised as a road race, so the opposite of the day before. And Monday last year was another road race that I thought was super fun. Some people were definitely racing twice during intelli, so file under tough but doable if you want to mix in another race.

If you are thinking about midwest crit series, also check out Gateway Cup over labor day in st louis. Great racing in big fields with good crowds on fun courses.

Holler if you have more questions!


Anyone who does gateway cup says the same thing as you

I may be at ToAD…:shushing_face:



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I’m from the Chicago area and a Cat4 also, so I’m a bit partial to Intelli. I’ve done the whole week once and other years have handpicked a few races. If you do choose intelli I’d really suggest that you make sure you get to the Glen Ellyn race. It is an excellent course with many turns around a lake. Its exciting to race and exciting to watch.

There are a few very fast days, they’ve used a race track, a road race on the south side of chicago, the Elmhurst crit, the Elgin Road Race and the final day at Fulton Market (although not technical, this course is more fun than it looks).

Then there are some technical courses, W Dundee, Niles and Lake bluff.

You can have a look at NorCal cyclings YouTube channel for some pretty good course reviews.

As far as ToaD I have much less experience. But I’ve noticed that these might be the hardest, but really fun Cat4 races available. I went to I believe the Bayview crit in my first year of racing and the field started so fast I was off the back and I didn’t know WTF was going on. lol. I learned a lot that day.

I think either way you’re going to have a really great time racing. And since you are not going to be doing the whole week you can probably race a few double days.

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Hey everyone, thanks for the great advice! Leaning toward ToAD if there’s a chance Nate will be there.

It’s not often you get to meet Instagram legends :wink: @Nate_Pearson, you’ve actually responded to a couple of my wife’s comments/posts, and it seriously made her day.


You better be in the P12 field Nate. No sandbagging that 2/3s.

I believe there’s a 2 only field…

So last year there was a 2/3 field and a P12 field (but when registering it said “Category 2 (p12)”)

I only know because that was where I got taken out mid corner to break the elbow.

Thank you for the insight! Quick question for you. Do you remember if you raced 4/5 or 3/4? Those look like the two options for Cat 4 racers last year (as well as masters). Maybe the options were different when you raced.

As someone who doesn’t race crits and has no plan too, but who does live on the WI/IL border. I think I would do ToAD for the simple reason that Wisconsin > Illinois.

That being said, I will definitely be hanging out at Lake Bluff Brewing for the Lake Bluff crit as that’s something I do every year. I find it’s more fun to drink beer and watch crits than to actually take part in them.

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Narrator: That is not true.



As an Illinois resident, I beg to differ.

Wisconsin is definitely better than Illinois. :sunglasses::sunglasses::sunglasses:

edit: Anything south of Kankakee, IL is nice as well

Double up - do masters. Especially at Intelli. You’ll do very well.

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I am really hoping to get to do a few of the Intelligentsia Cup races this year!

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@Nate_Pearson you should have reg’d for Tulsa…can roll right into ToAD

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