CRANDIC TT & Night at the Oval
CRANDIC Racing Club is thrilled to present two bike racing series over the summer of 2019, the CRANDIC Time Trial Series at Big Grove Solon and Night at the Oval at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids. Two very different races that we love dearly.
At first glance these races couldn't seem more different: the time trial is "the race of truth," just you against the clock, while Night at the Oval is track-inspired pack racing at its finest; the TT in Solon is along Sutliff Road, one of the most beautiful and bike-friendly spots in the Corridor, while NatO is in industrial Cedar Rapids at Hawkeye Downs, a race track typically reserved for cars, go-cart, semi trailers, and the like. Despite their differences, a closer look at these two races reveals both their similarities and the reasons that we love them so.
A great place to start
In their own ways both races are perfect for beginners. Hawkeye Downs is a big, wide track without so much as a corner, so NatO riders have all the space they could want as they practice pack riding and racing techniques. On the other hand, in a TT riders start at set intervals, nearing each other only to pass, so beginners can go all out without worrying about bumping elbows or touching wheels.
Just as important, both series are mid-week, informal events that are welcoming to beginners but hard enough to challenged even seasoned racers.
Simple, but never easy
Every wanna-be racer has ridden a time trial. The minute we feel competitive on a bike we test our strength on a set course by timing ourselves. A time trial, simple as that. What makes it hard is concentrating, pacing, and wanting to go faster next time.
While at Night at the Oval each race is different, they mostly come down to a sprint. But the nuances of drafting other riders, finding the right position, and timing the jump to perfection make every sprint different, and every sprint a challenge.
Hit the road
It may not be the sexiest thing out there these days, but road cycling is the basis of all bike racing. Navigating a cyclocross start is all but impossible without pack riding skills. In the right conditions drafting features even in gravel or mtb racing. Pacing well is essential to any race. And all bike racing disciplines reward fitness won on the road.
Bike racing came from the road. Its most essential skills are still right at home there.
Two series, too fun
CRANDIC is committed to making these races fun for everyone. For the crusty old roadie that's not hard at all: Yell "go" and they're happy, and they'll find plenty of competition at either of these races. For beginners – whether they're new to the road, or to bike racing in general – we say welcome, ride hard and have fun, and let us know if we can help.
We're CRANDIC Racing Club. We love to race.
Ready or not, bike racing season is upon us. It seems late this year, especially after a cold, long winter and with the absence of a few early season favorites like Kent Park and the Hills Spring Classic. Of course, we never stopped racing – with fat bike craziness, gravel races and trail runs, even an early mtb race at Sylvan Island – but now we're getting into the heart of bike racing season, also known as the slow build-up to cyclocross.
Iowa City Cycling Club's Chris Lillig Memorial Cup is just a week away, featuring the Iowa City Road Race and the Old Capital Criterium. It will be interesting to see if this year the traditional "I'm not in shape yet" finally gives way to legions of Zwift zombies soft-pedalling into the sunlight. But even for those of us who hibernate through winter instead, there's no good reason not to toe the line in an effort to race into shape.
The Iowa City Road Race is actually south of town in Kalona, the heart of Amish country. The race stages at the Fairview Mennonite Church, then rolls through one to four hilly 13-mile laps of beautiful farmland. Manure can be a road hazard, especially in wet weather. And races are neutralized for passing horses and buggies, as even the steadiest workhorse can be spooked by large packs of riders. Two waves of races, from 9 and 11:30am, allow for fields of every category and age group, from juniors to masters (including masters women 40+/50+/60+!). This road race is a favorite for a reason, and as long as the weather is good it should not be missed – Just ask those who have raced it in 40˚ rain!
The Old Capital Criterium is a .8-mile six-corner loop around downtown Iowa City's Pentacrest. Each lap – whether 8 or 10 for beginners or 40 for the open race – the 50-foot climb feels steeper, and the subsequent descent faster, until someone gets away or the whole pack sprints to the finish. The day includes a full slate of juniors development races, as well as free kids' races at midday for those 9 and under. Now in it's 42nd year, the Old Capital Crit is still a great rush for racers and spectators alike.
Sign up to race, or sign up to help out. But definitely make it downtown for this classic Iowa City day of bike racing.
Special thanks to Justin Torner Photography for all the retro race photos.