This Saturday Lions Park in Altoona will host the Iowa State Cyclocross Championship for the 13th time since 2008. Nothing unlucky about that, though -- the weather looks fine, the payouts generous, and a few days later CX Nationals will start just this side of Chicago.
"We're not planning any real large changes this year for State CX," said Race Director Justin Guiter from Zealous Racing. "That venue and course has been pretty tried and true over the years. If the couple days prior are wet, we may look at going back to previous versions, but for the most part the course itself will remain the same.
"Some teammates and I were just discussing the wide range of weather we've had for State CX. I think my first or second year there was a dusting of snow. Fast forward a couple years and it was -11⁰ at the start, and then just a couple years ago it was 34⁰ and raining, as well as the nicer days sprinkled in between."
So far the weather this year looks good, dry and ranging from an overnight low around 30⁰ to a high of 45⁰. That's lucky for us, not only to avoid sub-zero temps, but also without much rain the course will likely include the grassy climb and off camber 180 and descent below the park Shelter. It's a very fun part of the course.
The rest of the course isn't bad either. Arguably one of the better balanced races in the state, there's the uphill paved start and finish, power-sapping climbs and flowy descents, off-camber turns, and even a bit of single track. The challenging course and solid pay outs ensure some strong competition from neighboring states as well.
After years of practice, Zealous Racing knows how to get this race done. "Rory from RideBiker Alliance will be provide our State CX jersey for podium pictures with the option to order after the presentation to our winners. We'll have a food truck on site this year thanks to Off the Griddle. The menu is up in the air right now, but may include vegan options. We'll also have neutral support thanks to RynoVelo out of Ankeny."
Online registration for the Iowa State Cyclocross Championship ends Thursday at 6pm.
Finally Nationals in Chicago
It's been two years in the making, yet we've heard next to nothing about the course for USA Cyling's National Championships in Chicago next week. USAC posted the course map on Facebook yesterday, just a week before the event, but no details about elevation or terrain.
No matter, though: after Nationals and almost everything cyclocross was cancelled last year due to the pandemic, this year's event has already drawn over 1400 registrants. Beyond some stiff competition, we can't tell you too much about what to expect. But we can at least shout out to those representing Iowa there.
Jeff Osborn (Team Denovo) will race the Men's 50+ Thursday.
Jim Bethea (Iowa City Cycling Club), Noah Marcus (Neff Cycle Service), and Keith Snoop will race the Men's 45+ Thursday.
Linda Cooper (Sakari Race Team) will race the Women's 55+ Friday.
Autumn Olsen (Parallel 44) will race the 11-21 Women's Non-championship race Friday.
Clayton Stephens (Corridor Devo) will race the Men's Junior 13-14 Saturday.
Axel Brandsmeier (Corridor Devo), Fin Daufeldt (Corridor Devo), and Anders Holmes (L5 RACING TEAM) will race the Men's Junior 11-12 Saturday.
Griffin Caskey (Corridor Devo) and Chase Cubbage (Corridor Devo) will race the Men's Junior 15-16 Saturday.
Autumn Olsen (Parallel 44) will race the Women's Junior 15-16 Saturday.
Vance Fletcher (Phoenix Syndicate), Jason Scholbrock (BIKEIOWA Racing Team), Kaden Snoop, Brian West (Phoenix Syndicate), and Nathan Zollman (NorthStar Development) will race the Men's Singlespeed Saturday.
Nathan Zollman (NorthStar Development) will race the Men's Junior 17-18 Sunday.
And Luke Arens (Adapt Cycling), Seamus O'Connor-Walker (University of Iowa), and Dakota Olsen (Move Up) will race the Men's Under 23 Sunday.
Go get it!
State and Regional Chamionships lead up to Nationals in December
Then over the holiday weekend are the South Dakota Championship in Souix Falls and the Midwest Regional Championship in Crown Point, Indiana, just southeast of Chicago. Whether you're building toward Nationals or just prolonging your season, get ready to race!
Valley Cross EXpected to Be Dry And Fast
"The course will be dry and fast," said Race Director Jeff Osborn. "We’ve added a run up and a couple technical spots to slow it down just a bit."
photos by Angy Snoop (angysnoop.smugmug.com)
The permanent cyclocross course has been mowed and open for riding all season. Last year, when most events were cancelled due to Covid-19, Valley Cross managed two days of racing before a tighter lockdown nixed a third. This year Saturday is the only day to race Valley Cross.
"It’s a great venue and has something for every racer," said Osborn. "Plus, all race categories other than juniors have a chance to earn some cash."
If you're in Eastern Iowa, the Wisconsin Championship in Waterloo might not be much further away than West Des Moines, and that's on Trek's amazing backyard World Cup-worthy cx course. The Minnesota Championship is another option if you want to race both days this weekend.
The day after Thanksgiving is the South Dakota Championship in Souix Falls. That's a bit of a drive, but if you're in the neighborhood and looking to race, check it out.
Region Riot Cross hosts the Midwest Regional Championship
Region Riot Cross, the brainchild of Rob Curtis of PSImet Wheels, unfolds in Lake County Fairgrounds in Crown Point. "It is a really cool course," said Baisa. "Lots of varying terrain, with forested elements, a covered bridge, out buildings, and a cool hill. There is a great section before the bridge called the surf that is all back and forth up and down a little ravine. It is a lot of fun."
That may not be so bad for more local races, but for a Regional Championship it certainly isn't ideal.
"We were able to build off the enthusiasm from the mid-week Upper City Park CX race in 2019 and 2021, which were based on a foundation laid by the Chamois Time gals in the years preceding that. Parks staff had been impressed with the turnout at those events, and were open to more events in the future. After a successful event this year I asked about a full day event, using Lower City Park and its larger area and unique features.
"Once I had the godfather of Iowa City Cyclocross, Todd Gillihan, on board to help set up and lay out an amazing course it was full steam ahead. We have worked closely with parks staff to best lay out a course that will minimize impact to the park and hopefully create more long term opportunities like this within the IC Parks system.
"It should be a fun course, well balanced between some flat and fast sections near the pond and horse shoe pits, but then finding some more challenging elements as we get behind the Shakespeare Theater and up into the big off camber oak grove near the parks main entrance. The course will pass by the historic log cabins after a long climb that boarders the upper park road. After this racers will bomb back down into the lower park and start it all over again. We think we have a great course planned out, weather looks like it will be ideal, and we are excited to take advantage of this new opportunity."
"The Corridor Devo Team and parents had been instrumental in helping Goosetown put on the Creekside Race in some of the previous years," said Sobocinski. "It seemed like a natural fit for them to take on a bigger role in the race production. They have been racing 'cross all over the state and beyond , so I trust they will put together something fun for all rider types while pushing and growing their skills.
"It's so important for these kids to have a role in actually putting on a race. They can see it's not about just showing up for your race time then going home when you cross the line. The whole production that goes into even a small local event is important to learn. "