"If you like hilly courses as much as I do, you'll definitely like Cornerstone Cross," said Seamus O'Connor-Walker. "Last year the courses took good advantage of the elevation change in the area. Both were mostly grass with one or two gravelly turns. In addition to the hills there were some good technical sections and couple of solid straightaways. "
In 2018 Cornerstone Cross was the very last event of the cyclocross season, a week after the State Championship on December 8. And it was bitterly cold.
The race this Saturday, October 5 will be two months earlier than last year, and part of the Iowa Cyclocross Series, but will stick with its unique format. "We’ve changed the categories and race times to match what everyone else is doing," said Ames Velo's Scott Wall. "So the big difference with our race is the 'short track' cross at the end of the day.
"The course is split by a gravel road and the long races use the whole thing. At the end of the day we’ll stay on the south half of the course and run several 12-15 minute races – think short track mountain biking. Last year the short track races were a lot of fun to watch as they were really intense and you could see the whole thing from one spot. The whole thing is on the side of a hill. It’s no Mount Krumpit, but you’ll know you’re climbing."
"With the race earlier this year there will be a lot more people," said O'Connor-Walker. "Last year was a good trial run, but with it being so late people were scared off by the potential for bad weather. Ames is a fairly central location. The quality of the course being as high as it is, and with the effort they put into making events a blast for spectators and racers, Cornerstone Cross will only continue to grow.
"The long/short race format is definitely unique. I was skeptical last year, but it turned out to be good fun and it ran smoothly. The long course race is just your typical cross race, so don't worry about not getting in your normal racing. Then, for the short course, you get a bonus race on a second course based on results in the first race.
"It may seem odd reading about it," said O'Connor-Walker. "But if you're confused by, or wary of, the format, my recommendation would be to go race and see how you actually like it. What harm can there be in getting a second race for free?"