Organizers of this month’s eastern Iowa bicycle race known as a “cyclocross” say the sport and the event are seeing phenomenal growth. The event is drawing some of the world’s top bike racers, including competitors in the Tour de France.
Dr. John Meehan, one of the founders of Jingle Cross Rock, says they’ve surpassed participation records for the three-day race, which benefits the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. He says they’ve already exceeded all prior pre-registration numbers from previous years and with two-and-a-half weeks left before the event, the numbers are expected to balloon well over a thousand participants before the event arrives. Participants use hybrids, a cross between road bikes and mountain bikes.
Meehan, who is a U-I graduate and now practices in Seattle, Washington, says there’s something very distinctive — and challenging — about the cyclocross. “You have to hop off the bike, pick up the bike and carry it over these barriers that are about knee high, they may be logs, they may be wood planks,” Meehan says. “They’re what’s called forced dismounts, meaning you have to get off the bike.
As you jump over the barrier, you set the bike back down and you jump back on it and you keep on going. That’s what makes it quite different from regular bike racing and that’s why it’s like a steeplechase.”
The event is scheduled for November 27-29 at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Iowa City. To learn more, visit the website: ww.jinglecrossrock.com.