"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.
'Cross practices have begun. Two early season favorites, Cannonball Cross and Dirty Wooden Shoe, are only a week or two away. (C
heck CRANDIC Calendar for more.) The 2019 cyclocross season is truly here, and there's a lot to look forward to.
Cannonball Cross and Dirty Wooden Shoe mark the start of cyclocross season.
Sign Up How
So what's new this year? For starters, signing up. If your eyes gloss over at USACycling announcements you might have missed their new partnership with East Coast based BikeReg.com. Instead of splitting the honors, BikeReg.com will now handle all online registrations for USAC-sanctioned events. It works similarly to what you've done through USACycling in the past, but it will be nice to have all races in one spot.
This also makes us wonder if USAC's national ranking system will give way to BikeReg's own crossresults.com. Reportedly, though, for now the two systems will continue separately.
As for actual races, so far the news is a bit of a mixed bag. There is no Intergalactic Cyclocross Championship on the calendar for 2019 ("Too many great races this year filling the calendar already!"). But a great venue with that kind of history is bound to return at some point.
In Iowa City, there's no final word yet on a practice race at Coralville Creekside Cross, but a weekday evening event, City Park Community CX, was just announced for Wednesday, September 4.
With two World Cup races nearly in our backyards and a full season of great Iowa cyclocross races, why are we so excited about the FayetteCross UCI race in October down in Arkansas? Worlds 2022.
When the UCI announced Fayetteville as the site for Cyclocross Worlds, some people were left scratching their heads. Mountain bike fans, though, already knew BikeNWA as the folks who made Northwest Arkansas a mtb mecca. They and the UCI both knew that with enthusiastic backing from the Walton Family Foundation (Walmart), BikeNWA is more than capable of remaking Fayetteville into a cyclocross destination.
As VeloNews reported back in February, "For the next three years, cycling advocates and organizers in Northwest Arkansas will work to create a grassroots cyclocross scene to support the world’s biggest cyclocross event." Our first chance to race what will become Worlds 2022 is FayetteCross, October 5 & 6, 2019! (500+ miles from Eastern Iowa, about 8 hours of driving.) More soon!
MidWest REgional Championship
Last year, after missing the Chicago Cross Cup's season finale at sandy Montrose Harbor, we were disappointed to hear that it would no longer serve as the Illinois State Championship. What we didn't know at the time was that instead, for 2019 Montrose Harbor will be the MidWest Regional Championship. Considering that Nationals is nearly 2000 miles away on the West Coast this year, and that Iowa's State Championship is slated for November, Montrose Harbor will be the place to be Sunday, December 8. (Montrose Harbor, Chicago is 240 miles away, around 4 hours drive.)
photos courtesy of SnowyMountain Photography
Even further up the road, but no less exciting, Cyclocross Nationals 2020 will be in Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Illinois. It's a new venue and we don't know much yet, but not since Madison have Nationals been so close to home. If you weren't worrying about your points before you may want to start -- the next two years are one long build up to Cantigny Park! (Wheaton, IL is 200 miles or so, around 3 hours.)