"Our courses can benefit both the mountain biker and the roadie, and with this venue it maybe leans a little more toward the mountain biker's side of the spectrum due to the geography. With a couple tweaks here and there, we've come up with a course that flows well and settles a little more in the middle of the two disciplines. A couple final adjustments will depend on if we have full access or even partial access to the road like we did a few years ago."
Unfortunately Spooky will only be one day this year, Saturday October 30. "When I first contacted the city about Spooky, things were still a bit uncertain as far as where we'd be at with Covid, restrictions, and safety measures," explained Guiter. "In the end we just opted for the one day event. As always, the City of Altoona has been amazing to work with and has continued to support our racing community. This has been an odd year of racing and I'm thankful we're back to hopping barriers again."
Dress for Success
Of course, the highlight of every Spooky Cross is the two lap Costume Race. Guiter promises a photo of this year's trophy on Facebook this week, just so you know what's at stake. To make it your own you have to win over the judges based on:
1.) Your finish in the race
2.) Your costume
3.) Theatrics (your character)
The Costume Race is free and everyone is encouraged to participate. For the rest of the Spooky Cross race schedule, register at BikeReg.com today.
Lion's Park to the north also has parking and you can ride the bike trail less than two minutes to the course. More details will be emailed to registered riders, so register now.
Six Weeks to Nationals
Losing most of the 2020 season to the pandemic has made us feel lucky to race cyclocross at all, but we've lost some race opportunities. With six weeks until Nationals -- in Chicago, no less -- Iowa has only four racing days on offer after Spooky. Anyone wanting to race their best at Nationals, or score some points before then, will need to broaden the scope of their race calendar.
As detailed on the CRANDIC Calendar, the Sunday after Spooky is Campton Cross just west of Chicago. The first weekend in November will feature two races in the Iowa City area, City Park CX Saturday November 6 and Creekside Cross Sunday November 7. If you'd rather travel for a big race with better points, Groundhog PSI-clocross that Sunday is a great choice, or maybe the two day Fulton Star CX in Minneapolis.
Again near Minneapolis is Croix Cross November 13 & 14, and the Minnesota State Championship November 20 & 21. Closer to home Saturday November 20 is Valley Cross in West Des Moines or even the Wisconsin State Championship at the Trek headquarters in Waterloo. Sunday is Wheeling CX in Chicago.
Over Thanksgiving weekend South Dakota's State Championship is Friday in Sioux Falls. After that it's just the Iowa State Championship in Altoona Saturday December 4 with the US National Championships starting just a couple days later in DuPage County Illinois (speaking of which, discounted "early bird" fee ends November 2 -- sign up now.).
Still "TBD" -- but sure to be sweet if it happens -- is Montrose Harbor in Chicago Sunday December 5, just before Nationals. Typically the last race of the Chicago Cross Cup, the Illinois State Championship, and recently a very worthy Midwest Regional Championship, sandy Montrose Harbor is about as challenging and fun as a race can be. If you're lucky enough to attend the whole National Championship, start your visit a couple days early on the shores of Lake Michigan. You won't be sorry you did.
The Grand and Other Big Things to Come
Jingle Cross is over. There was a time, before the World Cups came to the USA, when Jingle Cross was Thanksgiving weekend or later and felt like the culmination of the season. All the more reason that while we nurse our tired legs, skinned knees, and bruised egos, we also look forward to a lot of great cyclocross racing ahead in this 2021 season.
First and foremost for us Eastern Iowa types is The Grand this weekend in Des Moines. Two days of cyclocross brought to you by the Phoenix Syndicate, The Grand unfolds around The Sands Volley Ball Club right in the heart of the city.
For 2021 Scheels DSM stepped up from team sponsor to be the the title sponsor of The Grand. Bike Rags, Merchants Bonding Company, and DSM Stamp are also sponsoring the race. Online registration closes Thursday night, so get it done at Bikereg.com.
Spooky Cross and Beyond
Of course, this wouldn't be October if we weren't looking forward to Spooky Cross at the end of the month. This year Spooky will be just one day, Saturday October 30, but will offer plenty of cyclocross fun nonetheless. More on Spooky Cross later.
The first weekend in November will feature two races in the Iowa City area. Sadly, Bobber's Cross won't be happening, as the marina campsite/bar & grill will already be closed for the season. Creekside Cross in Coralville is still a go for Sunday, November 7, and will be presented by Corridor Devo. For Saturday, November 6, Goosetown Racing/New Pi has plans for a new race in Iowa City's Lower City Park. We'll have more on that soon.
Saturday, December 4 will be the Iowa State Cyclocross Championship in Altoona. That's just days before the start of the USA 2021 National Cyclocross Championship near Chicago December 6-12.
Next week more details about the local races above, plus some teasers for great racing options throughout the region. Check the CRANDIC Calendar for all the latest. And get ready. There's plenty more great racing to come.