"The BIKEIOWA RACING TEAM knows how to put on fun
and exciting events and this one will be no different."
From any other club, about any other event, a boast like this might come off as false bravado. But take a minute to unpack Capital City Cross, two days of Des Moines cyclocross this coming weekend, and it looks more like an understatement.
Here are five quick reasons not to miss Capital City Cross.
BIKEIOWA is the premier bike advocate for racers in Iowa, bar none. Their website is a welcome resource to all cyclists, a showcase for any event, and a gateway to toeing the line. While bike racers have a reputation for taking themselves too seriously, BIKEIOWA events are low-key and friendly, competitive but always fun.
2. Stone Park
A lot of great race venues have histories. Capital City's Stone Park is no exception. Renegade Cyclocross, the largest cx practice in the state, once roved the Des Moines area each week from park to park. When it grew to the point that that became impractical, the city offered up Stone Park as a more permanent home. The unassuming 8-acre park just south of downtown Des Moines has been home to both Renegade Cyclocross and Capital City Cross ever since. By now BIKEIOWA knows how to make the most of it.
3. Fast, Fun, & Spectator-friendly
Other than a hillside to the south, Stone Park is small and flat, offering a great view of the race from pretty much anywhere. It's a welcoming venue for less experienced racers and the spectators that come to heckle and cheer them on. "Look for tons of great vantage points to cheer on your favorite racers or just chill and watch the action."
The course is not intimidating, even to beginners. Mostly fast and flowy, with challenging turns and barriers. It's a great first race to try out cyclocross.
4. The Brae
There are some more technical bits on the hillside to the south, "the brae," but nothing that elicits "hell no." Short climbs and descents, an obstacle or two, a long off camber. The hillside serves up a lot of Stone Park's best cyclocross action.
As a bonus, one part of the brae often offers mud even on drier race dates. Unreliable sources from BIKEIOWA explained that it's from a septic problem in the neighborhood above, but for all of our sakes we'll just assume they were joking.
5. Des Moines
Years ago Capital City Cross helped launch the Central Iowa Cyclocross scene, even though BIKEIOWA never set out to make it much more than a fun local event. Still, this is Des Moines, with quick access from Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri, and Minnesota. Capital City Cross is well known in the Midwest, and draws competition we don't often see in Eastern Iowa. Minneapolis or Kansas City is a long trip for a 40 minute race, but at Capital City Cross you can meet some racers part way.
Don't miss Capital City Cross.
Stone Park is just less than two hours from Cedar Rapids, even less from Iowa City. Right now the weather for race weekend looks pleasant enough, with highs in the 70s and 80s and overnight lows at near-cyclocross temps of high 40s and low 50s.
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.
By now BIKEIOWA has an idea of the course they'll stake out in Des Moine's Stone Park. Some features will be very familiar -- for example, those pine trees that slap your face every lap -- some features might be totally new. Guaranteed, though, line up at Capital City Cross Saturday and you'll find artifacts of races past, ruts in parts of the park we aren't even using, lines etched into the oddest spots.
This Saturday will be more than a practice race. When the lap cards, sponsor banners, and port-o-pottys appear you know the race is on. And when racers from Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota, and across Iowa hear "Capital City Cross" they know where they'll want to be.
Register at USACycling, check for the latest at BIKEIOWA, or get nostalgic with our blog from 2017, Capital City Cross is Back. If you can make a weekend of it, check out Relaycross Sunday afternoon.
Relaycross in support of the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry
Relaycross is simple: 2 hours of racing with 4 teammates tagging in and out to pile on as many laps as possible before time runs out. The team with the most laps wins.
The race takes place at Mullets, former home of the beloved Oakley Night Cap and long time sponsor of BIKEIOWA. Relaycross is as serious or leisurely as you want. You can race all out or at a conversational pace. It's all for a good cause.
"Payouts? Yep. High fives, pride and good karma to everyone that enters.
"Pre registration and online fees? Nope! Day of only.
"Do I need a license you ask? Hell no! This is a charity race people. So please grab your donations and join us on September 16th at Mullets. Registration opens at 12:00pm and closes at 1:00pm."
This year Relaycross will be racing for the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry.
The Urban Bicycle Food Ministry is a grass-roots non-profit organization that feeds the homeless in Des Moines. Check out Relaycross at BIKEIOWA.
Have two weekends of BIG races worn you down? Has the endless cheering and world class/World Cup partying tired you out? Next weekend's low key, grassroots festivities in Des Moines might be just what you need. Saturday, approaching like an old friend you haven't seen in years, is the return of Capital City Cross to Stone Park. Sunday, for something completely different, is the non-sanctioned fundraiser "Relaycross," two hours of cyclocross fun downtown at Mullets.
On to the brae
After a two year absence, this will be the fourth edition of Capital City Cross at Stone Park, just a stone's throw away from downtown Des Moines. Home to the Renegade Cross cyclocross practice, the eight acre park between Hartford and SE 5th streets is mostly flat except for the "brae" on the south side of the park. (Brae is a Scottish term for "slope or side of hill" and is pronounced "bray.")
According to Race Director Scott Sumpter, "The brae is where the magic happens. This is where the spectators and hecklers congregate. This is the more challenging part of the course, with off-cambers, run-ups, and fast descents. From the brae you can see the whole race. Actually all parts of the park offer a great vantage point to the entire race."
Over the years Capital City Cross has become synonymous with BIKEIOWA. In 2010, the race's first year, it was held at Ewing Park and was the first race promoted by the newly formed BIKEIOWA. "We still tackle races from a grassroots angle," says Sumpter, "You'll see many first-timers, once/twice a year folks, and seasoned racers. Part of our team motto states 'we will promote both cycling and fun in our community' and we do just that. Every race we promote is fun, unique, and challenging." Register at https://www.usacycling.org/register/2017-1486.
Stone Park is close enough to downtown Des Moines to make all the restaurants, hotels, and nightlife close by. "Our top 4 spots to visit downtown for post-race eats and drinks would be Iowa Tap Room (all Iowa food and beer), el Bait Shop (superb beer selection), Mullets (great breakfast), and the High Life Lounge (offbeat homage to the Midwestern beer halls of the 1960s, dishing up old-school comfort food and in same building as Bait Shop)." Sumpter promises that "The BIKEIOWA Cycling Team will be out afterwards as well. Ask us where we will be day of!"
This year Capital City Cross is only Saturday, but make a weekend of it and Sunday afternoon you can join the fun for a 2-hour cyclocross-style relay race with 4 teammates at Relaycross at Mullets. This year the event will benefit the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry, a grass-roots non-profit organization that feeds the homeless in Des Moines. Check it out at http://www.bikeiowa.com/Event/12141.
Originally published by Goosetown Racing Club