This coming weekend, October 21 & 22, BIKEIOWA will host two days of cyclocross at a new venue, The Sands Volleyball club just off Grand avenue in the heart of Des Moines. According to Race Director James Armstead, "The most obvious feature of The Grand that everyone thinks of is...sand. There will be sand. It may not be used in the way every one thinks, although we did toss around the idea about a sand pinwheel (joking, that would be horrid)."
"People will be surprised by this venue. Most people in Des Moines, know where The Sands is and have looked at it on google maps. But this won't be just another wide open field race. There is a large wooded area, a fantastic open area with some great small hills, some sand, and an amazing patio and area for a great party. The owners have been more than welcoming to this idea and have done an amazing job accommodating us in this new venture."
The Sands will also be pouring beer from BIKEIOWA's sponsor, Oskar Blues. It will feature food from Big Acai food truck both days and pizza from 515 Pi Saturday.
This is the first year for The Grand, but it was born out of the ashes from two separate teams and a few different races. "When Flat Tire Lounge/Level B Racing ended and a good chunk of our team joined up with BIKEIOWA we wanted to bring something new and fresh back to Des Moines," said Armstead, "New venue, new ideas, new team members, and a growing cyclocross community. This year is a rebuilding year. BIKEIOWA Racing is back and is helping to grow the cycling community over the next few years. We hope that this race will become a staple in the Iowa racing schedule similar to how Nite Cap became everyone's love a few years back.
"As race promoters we strive to make the event appealing to every level. As a new race, we are focusing on getting as many people as we can to come and experience this new race and venue with us. We want to learn how novice racers enjoyed it and what they hated, and we want the same from the more expert level racers as well. This should be an awesome race for all levels."
Mid series IowaCX
Saturday and Sunday of The Grand are days 8 and 9 of IowaCX, meaning it marks the very middle of the series (http://iowacx.com/). "The IACX is a great new addition to the racing calendar this year. As Iowa racers ebb and flow with their interest in the sport, the promoters need to grow with it. Jacob and team did a great job identifying and looking at other regions to see how they are growing their communities. It will be great to see how the series ends up and watch as the competition heats up towards the end of the year. I’m hopeful the series will bring some good consistency for racers over the next few years."
The Sands is so close that it would be easy after racing to take the trail into downtown Des Moines and explore. There are also some great mountain bike trails (the Center Trails) nearby, some of the best in the area. Finally, "There has been some talk of an after party at Sully’s across the street Saturday after the race. If you are around, most definitely hit it up to let us know what you think and what we can do differently for next year. Or, just come to smell Sumpter’s beard. Your choice."
The Sands in Des Moines is under two hours from Iowa City by car. So far, at least, the weather forecast looks fine for the race with a better chance of rain later Saturday. Check out The Grand at BIKEIOWA.com.
Originally published by Goosetown Racing Club