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Happening this weekend: Cycle for Survival and Universal Sole Trail Challenge

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Oh, Mother Nature. You really know how to challenge us Chicagoans in the winter, especially this winter. You've thrown us bitter cold, messing with our outdoor runs. You've crippled our roads with snow and ice, forcing many of us to leave our bikes stored until the ground thaws (which we hope is soon). You've managed to challenge our workouts and training, whether it's turning to the gym or piling on the layers and Yaktrax.

But ruin our races and endurance challenges? No way!

More than 500 Chicagoans are putting some purpose to their pedaling on Feb. 8 at the Cycle for Survival, a national high-energy indoor team cycling event that raises money for rare cancer research. This energy-packed spin comes to Chicago for the fifth time with doctors, patients, survivors, friends and family coming together at Equinox The Loop to ride, raise money and share their stories. Together with founding partner Equinox, Cycle for Survival has raised more than $37 million to fund 85 clinical trials and research studies led by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

While those 550 riders are burning calories indoors on the bike, Chicago runners could take their runs to the treadmill where they don't have to battle snow, ice and bone-chilling winds coming off the lake. But ask a runner if he'd prefer the treadmill or the trail and he's most likely to answer the trail. For runners looking to race on the trail or simply try something new this weekend, they can meet their match at the Universal Sole Trail Challenge happening at Bullfrog Lake in Willow Springs on Feb. 8. Joel Feinberg, Universal Sole's owner, will be the first to tell you that trail running races are anything but easy, but that's part of the fun. You're not going for a PR, you're just looking to make it to the finish line. And when you have a course to conquer that's covered in snow and features terrain that winds, dips and climbs unlike what you'd find on the Lakefront Trail, you earn bragging rights, too.

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