At long last, cyclocross is very nearly here. Just two weeks from now, in Mason City's beautiful East Park, Spin Devo will start up the 2021 Iowa cyclocross season with Cannonball Cross.
Now in it's fifth edition, Cannonball Cross has always marked a fast start right from Labor Day Weekend.
"Sometimes it's super hot, and sometimes it's super muddy." (photo courtesy of Cannonball Cross)
A fun, challenging course drawing competition from across the upper Midwest, the race will let you know whether you're ready to race... or not.
"It's always fun to test the legs in an early cyclocross race," said Jim Cochran (Rule # 5). "It’s nice to race against people you may not see racing in Central Iowa."
The competition can be fierce, but that may be lost on some. "What competition? I was too busy eating hand-up gummy worms to notice," said 2019 W3/4/5 winner Kimberly Breuer. "I was really nervous about Cannonball because it was my second CX race ever and it had been a long time since I had done Spooky Cross before that."
How is Cannonball Cross for beginners? "I think it's beginner friendly if you accept that you might not be able to ride everything," said Breuer. "It has just about every feature on the course – barriers, off-camber sections, tight switchbacks, stairs, a fly-over, a steep hill. All they're missing is a sand trap!"
Cochran agreed. "It’s a well designed course with challenging hills and off cambers. A variety of surfaces. Sometimes it's super hot, and sometimes it's super muddy.
Proceeds from Cannonball Cross go to the Spin Development Race Team to help kids get into bike racing.
"Cannonball Cross is definitely worth the trip. I like to treat it as a mini vacation. The park is nice for families, and there's affordable lodging in town if you want to race both days, and even some decent restaurants to pick from."
Everyone is looking forward to toeing the line for cyclocross, but the Covid-19 pandemic that effectively cancelled the 2020 season is not over yet. "While it's not ideal," said Breuer, "I trust that athletes who aren't feeling well won't show up to an event, and everyone can make themselves as distanced as they're comfortable with."
"It's hard to tell with the Delta variant," said Cochran, "But I'm currently planning on a regular season." Fingers crossed, everyone!
Cannonball Cross is in East Park, Mason City. That's about a 2 hour drive from Cedar Rapids, 2½ from Iowa City. Registration is open now at BikeReg.com.