Capital City Cross was one of the first cyclocross races in Iowa. Now the progeny of BIKEIOWA Racing Team and located in Stone Park in Des Moines, the race has been around forever. And yet its organizers aren't satisfied doing the same old. In fact, this year Capital City Cross will feature two days of racing with four different events at two separate venues.
"Much of the thought behind "unsanctioned Sunday" was because Iowa does not have many USA Cycling officials these days," said BIKEIOWA's Scott Sumpter. "So we'll officiate Sunday on our own, plus the fun aspect of RELAYCROSS will bring a lot more folks to the event."
The collaboration with Midstate is, in part, down to the shortage of officials, and in part down to the lack of a firm venue for a separate Midstate weekend. "We all believe that a few quality races can supersede quantity (weekly races with smaller turnouts).
Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!
So what the heck is short track CX? "An unsanctioned mini-cyclocross course, similar to the first Night Cap Cross. It actually happens at the same venue (Mullets). The course will be short and tight and hopefully flowy and fast with some unique features."
Is he talking about gravel? "Yes, everyone is a 'gravel racer' these days... the hype is unreal, yet very real... Gravel pretty much goes year 'round now and its entry point is even easier than CX, which I touted for years as the entry point to competitive cycling."
Is Iowa cyclocross hurting for lack of Jingle Cross? "I don't think the absence will affect us much going forward. Trek Cup is fulfilling for the folks who need to attend/race an event like Jingle Cross. So many locals weren't racing Jingle Cross since the competition was so fierce. Plus it really messed with the local race schedule when it moved to September versus 'Jingle' weather."
Thanks, Scott! We'll see you in Des Moines!
So, for those of us competitive or compulsive enough to shudder when reading "no Midstate Cross the weekend after," what are our options that first weekend in October? For Eastern Iowa folks there are options both days in Illinois and Wisconsin. Personally, I can highly recommend Badger Prairie Cross in Verona (Madison), Wisconsin Saturday October 1, and Schiller Woods CX in Chicago Sunday October 2.
Badger Prairie Cross was twice the venue for USAC Cyclocross Nationals, and it didn't disappoint. Schiller Woods is a first time venue, true, but it's also the first race in the Chicago Cross Cup, filling in for our beloved Caldwell Woods (which is under construction). ChiCrossCup races are big, welcoming, and fun, so you can't go wrong. Better yet, make a weekend of it and do both -- the two are only a couple hours drive apart.
Tondro Pray Bike Park in Cedar Falls is a flat, sprawling 20-acre flood plain repurposed after the 2008 floods as a park for BMX bicycling, cyclocross, and mountain biking. The pump track and MTB skills areas see plenty of action, but the park on the whole is usually a relatively quiet spot nestled just north of the Cedar River.
But not next weekend.
September 17 & 18 Tondro Pray will host the seventh edition of Twisted Cross, the first weekend of racing in Iowa's 2022 cyclocross season.
Over the years Twisted Cross has been in September, November, and October. It's been nice weather more often than not, but it's also been flooded (almost cancelled) and snowed on. But it has always been a good time. This year Twisted Cross promises more of the same.
Twisted Cross has a long history of spoiling racers with free food and drink. This year? "Yep!" says Kimberly Breuer of Cedar Valley Cyclists. "We'll have Single Speed beer, Verve Kombucha, pizza from the Other Place, Fat Cup Coffee."
Pretty amazing, but that's not all. "Raffle prizes from Maple Lanes, Fit Gym, KJ and Kompany, Ninja U, Prairie Yogi Massage, Hansen's Dairy, and Transcend Mind-Body Wellness & Floatation Clinic. Hall Bicycle is providing on-site mechanical support. And historic Black Hawk Hotel is providing a discount on hotel rooms."
On a shorter course there's even a doggy cross and a kid's race. And check out the medals!
Twisted Cross 2022 is September 17 & 18. Pre-registration is cheaper and easier for all, plus racers will be staged by their USAC ranking at the close of pre-registration. (Register on race day and you will start behind pre-registered riders.) Pre-register by Thursday at noon at BikeReg.com.
Shorter days and cooler weather have made it feel like cyclocross season lately. With Labor Day Weekend here and gone, the season is getting a late but solid start with two beginner's clinics and a mid-week training race. And we still have Cannonball Cross to look forward to in November. (More on that here.)
The Des Moines area has had the jump on Eastern Iowa this year, with a Renegade Cross beginners' clinic and Valley hot laps every Wednesday in August. But we're catching up fast with the Twisted Cross Beginners' Clinic Thursday, Cross Curious with Corridor Devo in Coralville Sunday, and the IC Community Cross training race next Tuesday evening.
Everyone Begins Somewhere
Community 'Cross Tuesday night
"No frills, just fun." Says the Facebook event. "A fast yet challenging course with plenty of room to spectate and heckle." Tuesday night at 5:30? This has to be Iowa City Community Cross 2022.
The course Tuesday will be what everyone has come to expect in Upper City Park. "I think the course ends up a little under a mile total distance."
We hope so too! Register for Community Cross today at BikeReg.com.
Most folks had Cannonball Cross penciled in for Labor Day Weekend this year, and that was no surprise. That had been its date since its inception in 2016. The big surprise was the sudden date change to mid-November.
Trek was the week before Jingle Cross, so the only real chance to race beforehand was Pella's since-deceased Dirty Wooden Shoe. Cannonball Cross was filling a void, but when it hit the calendar on Labor Day weekend there was definitely some grumbling from roadie and MTB types about cyclocross encroaching on traditional summer dates.
"So, we are moving forward with a new date. Same great race minus the bugs!"
Does the constricting 'cross schedule signal hard times for the sport we love? "While cyclists have a tendency to move around disciplines, I think 'cross offers such a unique environment that it will never really lose its draw. It's an extremely social and high-energy setting, which makes every race an exciting experience. It takes a certain mindset to race 'cross, and the die-hards will never really walk away from that. The unique nature of the discipline continues to draw new people as well, similar to the traction gravel has been getting.
"The success of the UCI and World Cup races was a unique experience felt around the world -- it was even voted best World Cup at one point. That kind of impact can't be overstated.
"We lost a fantastic race, but it also leaves space for organizers, racers, brands, and fans to step up to the example Jingle Cross created. They showed us that the sky is the limit, and it's our turn to make sure that legacy carries on."
Thank you, Matt! More on Cannonball Cross 2022 later, but just for the record registration for November 19 & 20 is already open at BikeReg.com. Don't miss it!