"State is a really balanced course," said Steve Tygrett of CRANDIC Racing. "There are some long grindy uphills that reward you with nice flowy descents. The technical sections are always challenging: off camber 180s that get sketchy when muddy, a rough cut single track section which often has stray logs and a slippery hill at the end, sharp turns at the bottom of descents, and fast sweeping off camber turns. The wildcard is the paved start/finish hill. It really sucks the energy out of you, and can be decisive in races. I've seen some slow, painful climbs up that hill on the last lap.
"The hill also provides a great place to watch the races, as much of the course can be viewed from the top. Overall I'd say the course for State really hits all the skill sets required of a cyclocross racer. While a lighter rider who can climb well will have a slight advantage, you still need to have good bike handling skills to be successful here.
"Two years ago the course was changed slightly. Instead of climbing the entire paved hill, riders had to climb or run the steep grass hill below the shelter house. After riding across the top of the hill, riders encountered a tight off camber 180, which saw a lot of crashes. After a slight decent riders would come out onto the steepest part of the paved hill to the finish. It rained all day last year, so that feature was taken out. Hopefully it will be back since it adds some great technical elements, which makes riders have to decide to ride or run."
"Last year we had to take out some features due to the rain," explained Race Director Justin Guiter (Zealous Racing), "but hopefully the weather will cooperate this year and we'll be able to reinstate those sections. Generally the course layout at Lion's Park has remained similar throughout its time as a State Championship, with some different additions year to year. The everlasting theme is great flow throughout and a few challenging sections but nothing outlandish."
"We are so thankful for the City of Altoona and their continued support of cyclocross in Central Iowa. We've had events in Altoona for over 10 years now and we hope to continue this great relationship. Weather this time of year is always a crap shoot. I recall one of my first races at Lion's for State CX. There was about an inch of snow on the ground, just enough to have a nice white coating and plenty cold. Another year, I started my race and it was -11 only to jump right back in my car following my race to see it had climbed to a balmy -8.
"Up until last year it has primarily been dry and we were a little nervous what the city would say when they saw the park after the 25 degree downpour we raced in. I suppose it's a good sign when the City workers are joking with you that's it's going to be a wet one.
"Immediately following the race last year, Paul Jensen and I reached out to the City and let them know of the condition of the park after the race. We offered up any service our team could provide to help keep the park looking great. They simply told us they'd re-evaluate in the spring. We discussed it during our Parks Board Meeting and they even mentioned they couldn't tell we'd even been there last year. Again, so happy we have a great community to work with.