This coming weekend in Des Moines is perennial favorite Capital City Cross. The course, or something like it, will be very familiar to dozens of Des Moines racers who ride the Renegade Cyclocross Practices each Tuesday night at Stone Park. But this weekend's races there will also attract racers from across Iowa and even from Nebraska, Minnesota, and South Dakota.
"I like to think of Capital City Cross as one of the races that help launched the Central Iowa Cyclocross scene," said BIKEIOWA's Scott Sumpter. "I know it was one of my first local races outside of the Newton races back in the day."
"It's always been a low-key grass-roots race. The course is super spectator friendly as it is fairly compact with all the elevation at the South side, where folks congregate for the best seat in the house to watch the racers on the barrier and hill sections."
The race is also about as welcoming as can be to beginners. The park is mostly flat and fast, but the BIKEIOWA crew do a great job of using what elevation they have. They tape off a course that is twisty and flowing, often changing but always fun. And if they can arrange some mud this weekend, all the better.
This Capital City Cross will be the tenth in twelve years. It's a two-day event this year as there's no Relay Cross Sunday. New for 2019 are a three-lap Fat Bike Race Saturday and a free Capital Kid's Race for those nine and under, plus a separate mini Capital Kid's Course near the playground that kids can practice on with parental supervision.
Stone Park is a small neighborhood park just a few minutes from downtown Des Moines. There are not many amenities at the park, but there are convenience stores and restaurants just minutes away. Bring what you need, but you'll be close to anything you could want.
Capital City Cross is under two hours from Iowa City, and right about two hours from Cedar Rapids. Registration is on BikeReg.com. The weather forecast currently promises rain Friday and Sunday, so pack some waders and mud treads.