The Jingle Cross Cyclo-Cross festival is back in Iowa City after last year’s cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the three-day festival, cyclists from the United States and Europe participated in cyclocross and gravel races. Hundreds of spectators bundled up to watch the races at the Johnson County Fairgrounds.
In cyclo-cross races, cyclists have to navigate different terrains like mud, sand, grass and pavement. The course features obstacles requiring riders to quickly dismount and carry their bikes up hills and stairs before remounting. These races can sometimes last over an hour.
Jingle Cross’s course is holiday themed, with sections like the Holly Jolly Hell-Hole, a muddy creek bed; the Grinch’s Lair, a long sandtrap; and the Christmas Barn, decorated with string lights. The biggest challenge is Mt. Krumpit, a large hill with a great view of Iowa City. Riders must climb and descend Mt. Krumpit on three routes, each with different twists and turns.
Jingle Cross hosted the Union Cycliste Internationale, or UCI World Cup, for the fifth time. This season cyclists will compete in 16 races. Iowa City is the third stop and last in the United States. The rest will take place in Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Italy and the Netherlands. Eli Iserbyt from Belgium won first place in the Men’s Elite section with a time of 59:10, and Marianne Vos from the Netherlands won first place in the Elite Women’s section with time of 53:46.
Saturday’s competition was UCI C2 Elite Women and Men’s races. Manon Bakker from the Netherlands won with a time of 57:53, and Niels Vandeputte from Belgium won with a time of 1:01:20, respectively.