"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.
So Fun It's Frightening
Nothing Says Cyclocross like a Halloween Costume
Save some energy if you race Saturday morning, or get a good warm up if you race later, because at 1:30 Saturday it's game on for the third annual Spooky Cross Costume Race.
"The Costume Race will have the same format as last year with a shortened course and two laps," explained Guiter. "There are three criteria our judges will be looking at in crowning the winner: 1) Your finishing position in the race, 2) Your costume, and 3) Theatrics (your character).
"This will be the third year of the Costume Race and I'm anxious to see if our returning two-time winner will take it again this year. I'm not sure on the algorithm the judges have for determining the winner, but I'm sure it's quite complex."
BIKEIOWA's Jason Scholbrock offered some advice for newcomers to the Costume Race: "Make it fun, make it clever (see Vance Fletcher last year), and make certain you can ride your bike in it.
"Josh Rice from Lincoln won the first two Costume Races and rightfully so... in 2018 he rode a cargo bike disguised as a beer truck a la Smokey and the Bandit, complete with a hefty stash of cold Busch Lights which were consumed on the steep run-up.
"Oh, and I am very much looking forward to it. The Costume Race is the highlight of every Iowa cyclocross season!"