Practice races like the Chamois Time CX race last week and the Creekside Midweek Mayhem this Thursday show how low-key, grass roots events can turn out 'cross racers both new and long in the tooth. This weekend and the one after, though, will showcase the other extreme of the cyclocross spectrum as World Cup cyclocross returns to Trek CX Cup in Waterloo, WI and Jingle Cross here in Iowa City, IA.
It's like a bit of European cyclocross in our own back yards -- instead of the participatory sport we know and love, for these two weekends cyclocross is transformed by the spectacle of the very best in the world. There are only nine World Cup races in the 2018-19 season. The first two are here in Waterloo and Iowa City. The best in the world will race here. Watch in awe.
In their own ways both Trek and Jingle Cross are changing the sport. Jaws dropped last year when Jingle Cross, a volunteer effort at Iowa City's Johnson County Fairground, was voted the best World Cup race in the series. The race's focus on fun and commitment to 'cross racing for everyone has won over fans for years -- just ask crowd favorite Helen Wyman.
Both of these races depend heavily on volunteers to make their magic happen. Whether setting up the course, working registration, or serving as crossing guards, anyone can help and have fun doing it. If you're able, consider volunteering before during or after the Trek CX Cup or Jingle Cross.
Unlike their European counterparts, Trek CXCup and Jingle Cross have both maintained healthy schedules of amateur racing alongside their elite and World Cup events. This year Jingle Cross has even returned to its roots with three full days of racing for every amateur category. That means there are races there for you, whatever your age or skill level. Cheer, help, and race!