Jingle Cross is over. There was a time, before the World Cups came to the USA, when Jingle Cross was Thanksgiving weekend or later and felt like the culmination of the season. All the more reason that while we nurse our tired legs, skinned knees, and bruised egos, we also look forward to a lot of great cyclocross racing ahead in this 2021 season.
First and foremost for us Eastern Iowa types is The Grand this weekend in Des Moines. Two days of cyclocross brought to you by the Phoenix Syndicate, The Grand unfolds around The Sands Volley Ball Club right in the heart of the city.
For 2021 Scheels DSM stepped up from team sponsor to be the the title sponsor of The Grand. Bike Rags, Merchants Bonding Company, and DSM Stamp are also sponsoring the race. Online registration closes Thursday night, so get it done at Bikereg.com.
Spooky Cross and Beyond
Of course, this wouldn't be October if we weren't looking forward to Spooky Cross at the end of the month. This year Spooky will be just one day, Saturday October 30, but will offer plenty of cyclocross fun nonetheless. More on Spooky Cross later.
The first weekend in November will feature two races in the Iowa City area. Sadly, Bobber's Cross won't be happening, as the marina campsite/bar & grill will already be closed for the season. Creekside Cross in Coralville is still a go for Sunday, November 7, and will be presented by Corridor Devo. For Saturday, November 6, Goosetown Racing/New Pi has plans for a new race in Iowa City's Lower City Park. We'll have more on that soon.
Saturday, December 4 will be the Iowa State Cyclocross Championship in Altoona. That's just days before the start of the USA 2021 National Cyclocross Championship near Chicago December 6-12.
Next week more details about the local races above, plus some teasers for great racing options throughout the region. Check the CRANDIC Calendar for all the latest. And get ready. There's plenty more great racing to come.
So What's new this year?
This will be the third edition of The Grand, but the first presented by the Phoenix Syndicate. Race Director James Armstead explained: "We are a whole new team this year all from different groups and different experiences. We are really excited about this group coming together to make something really awesome this year. We aren't trying to reinvent the wheel, but we found some new great partners to work with who really want to support the community and grow their brands!
It turns out there is plenty new about the race this year. "There has been some great work going on within the local Juniors scene, and we wanted to do our part. To help grow the next generation of racers as much as we can, we created the Garmen Partners Junior Fund, which will allow anyone racing in our Junior races to race for free.
"Stealing a page from Trek Cup, we are going go try and have a decent party area for people to hang out and experience cyclocross even if they aren't racing. We will have free beer, music, and of course awesome cyclocross.
"The changes to the course will also allow us to open up the middle part where the food trucks were last year. We are going to have a few teams have tents there, some food, music, and will hopefully create a really awesome community compound for everyone to come together and have a great time together.
"We are working through ideas for how the course will change day to day, although we aren't 100% sure we are going to "just flip the course" this year. Nothing is off the table!"
Womens' clinic Friday evening
To start out the weekend of racing the Phoenix Syndicate is offering a free women's clinic Friday afternoon. "This idea came out of conversations with people while I was on the BikeIowa team," explained Armstead. "We just never got around to coordinating it all. One of the Phoenix Syndicate's foundations was to make sure we had 30% of our team be women at all times, and with that more and more of our focus has been around how to grow that group and ensure women have a safe place to come learn and experience the sport of cycling.
"The clinic will be a general walk through the course for anyone who is entirely new and wants to ensure they can ride/run all of the obstacles without getting hurt, or even for those who haven't raced in a few years who just want to have a quick look at the course while getting back into it all. Hopefully we see a good turnout!"