In 2008 the Iowa State Cyclocross Championship moved to its current location at Lion's Park in Altoona. The venue is mostly a frisbee golf course with some paved trail and road sections along with a touch of gravel. At first glance you wouldn't think much of the elevation change involved, but the race's organizers have been creative in using what they have.
"Over the years there have been minor changes here and there, but for the most part the course has had a very similar feel," said Race Director Justin Guiter of Team Emu. "Barriers and railroad ties add to the fun. Probably the most memorable feature of Lion's Park is the paved uphill finish -- spectator friendly and usually very exciting to watch."
The State Championship has been going on for some time now. In 2003 it moved from Cedar Rapids to Newton. In 2008 it moved from Newton to its current location in Lion's Park in Altoona. "This is my first year as Co-Race Director," said Guiter, "but I've been around helping with the race. I am lucky to step into this role with a such a solid foundation built over the years.
"We try to draw in everyone who has raced cyclocross. The course isn't particularly technical, so a beginner shouldn't be intimidated. However, there are areas that can catch you off guard." As is often the case, the Championship's late date late only adds to its challenges. "Being so late in the season, the weather can be a factor. It's unpredictable, but usually a bit cooler. Also, as daylight becomes an issue training outside can be tough, so a person's fitness can become a factor."
Zealous Racing opted out of this first season of the IACX series. "Being so late in the year we battle with daylight a bit. With the series having a variety of different categories, it's hard to cram all of those into a shorter day without starting earlier, and the earlier you start, the colder it can be. Hopefully those involved with the series will also chase a state medal for their category and their season doesn't end with the series wrap up."
Altoona has a lot to offer for places to eat and stay. According to Guiter: "A few of my favorites are Jethro's BBQ, which was featured on Man vs. Food, and the Sugar Shack, which has a great old diner type of feel. Also La Feria Mexican Restaurant in Pleasant Hill." And of course, Des Moines is only minutes away.
Originally published by Goosetown Racing Club