Midwest Cyclocross Report: Trek CX Cup and Jingle Cross – Kent Hammond

Recently I had the opportunity to spend a week racing bicycles in Waterloo, Wisconsin and Iowa City, Iowa. Both cities were hosting World Cup Cyclocross racing along with races for the non-pros like me.

Having once called this area of Wisconsin and Iowa home I figured why not take a week to race bikes, spend time with family and friends, crash through mud, sleep in vans, and destroy front wheels (on a warm up lap even before ever racing on the wheel, wheels you purchased over the summer instead of updating your 30 year old road bike).

Trek CX Cup: September 22nd and 23rd

Waterloo, Wisconsin’s course was a cyclocross playground with log run ups, rock barriers you could sort of bunnyhop over, three flyovers, and some crazy off camber sections. Both days I took part in the masters 45+ and the racing was dry and fast.  Each race I started fifth row and worked my way through the crowds to end up 16th and then 11th (68 racers on Sat and 57 on Sunday).

The World Cup series race was Sunday and watching the pros power through the course was most impressive. The women’s race was definitely the highlight as it saw an epic battle between Marianne Vos and Ellen Noble, with Vos taking it in the last technical sections.

Jingle Cross World Cup: September 28-30

I always thought it would be fun to race in wet, muddy conditions and Iowa City, a town I called home for about six years, gave me the opportunity to do it three times with mud a fest on Friday, Saturday, and again Sunday.

The course has become legendary for having you go right through the fairgrounds, including barns, cattle stalls, and the steep hills of Mt.  Krumpit, which for this weekend provided muddy, ankle deep run ups and balancing act descents that didn’t always leave me rubber side down.  One particular descent on Friday left me sliding on my back, crashing into wooden stakes, and having my leg run over by another racer.  It was most excellent.

Other flatter sections of the course were so swampy and unridable on Sunday that some of the Junior riders lost their shoes while running in the more than ankle deep mud (will teach their parents to not buy a size up that “you will grow into”).

With smaller fields (32 Friday, 22 Saturday, 15 Sunday) and better start positions my results improved each day with 7th, 6th, and 4th place finishes.  If that trend continued I just needed one more day in Iowa City to put the PAA kit on the podium.  Next time maybe.

-Kent Hammond