Cyclocross, many would say, could use a post-World-Championships shot in the arm. Something to continue the excitement of thrilling competition and engaged fans. A crew in Iowa is hoping to do just that at their annual late-September central Iowa race: Capital City Cross.
“Whether good or bad, the Iowa cyclocross scene has taken off as far as the number of events taking place,” said Josh Magie, an organizer for the event. “There is an event nearly every weekend this fall. Unfortunately, that has led to events with low attendance, and very small fields. That made us take a look at what we could change to put some excitement back into Iowa cyclocross.”
That change was to add a single speed race at the end of the race day on Saturday. But not just any single speed race, the CCCXSS Xtravaganza, with a one-thousand dollar cash prize for the winner.
The single speed is such a cool different element to cyclocross. In some ways its a lot more simple and allows you to read the course in different way.” Sarah Sturm - 2019 SSCX U.S. National Champion
“This is the largest cash purse for a single speed on earth, ever,” said Scott Sumpter, founder of the race weekend’s sponsor, Bikeiowa.com. “Or at least in the U.S. or maybe Iowa. Well, for sure Des Moines. This is for sure the largest single speed prize purse in Des Moines!”
“A thousand bucks for a single speed race?! Does it come with snacks?” Sunny Gilbert - 2019 SSCX World Champion
The race is open to the first 100 people to sign up and requires only a $10 entry fee, but there is a catch.
“Racers must have registered for, and raced a Capital City CX race earlier in the day,” said Magie. “The most logical thing was to require everyone to race earlier in the day, and we are going to stage the start line in reverse order of category, Cat 5s in front, Cat 1’s in back and women can drop a category, moving them up on the start line. We also leveled the field with the timing. The Cat1/2/3s would be just coming off of their race, while the Cat 5s would be on a few hours of rest.”
“Single speed, of course, we take it seriously, but we don’t. It’s a laid back way to still get out and enjoy racing.” Meredith Miller - 2018 SSCX U.S. National Champion
For more excitement, the race will be a five-lap miss-and-out format, with the last 20% of the field being eliminated on each lap, making every lap a go-for-broke race. Each successive lap will be restaged, again with lower categories in the front, and faster riders at the back. Winner of the fifth lap takes the prize!
Anyone is welcome to jump in the race, regardless of bike, though geared bikes will be modified to prevent shifting.
The CCCXSS Xtraveganza is only one of the many things in what is hoped to be a great weekend of racing in the Midwest. The BikeIowa Racing Team and Midstate Racing collaborated to fill both Saturday and Sunday with unique and fun events.
“We wanted to bring back some of the exciting, fun, and carefree attitude that got a majority of us into this sport,” Magie said, “and make one action-packed weekend with the categorized racing on Saturday and some fun relay events on Sunday.”