Organizers for Jingle Cross, Inc are making final preparations for the biggest weekend of bicycle racing in the Midwest region, Sept. 22-25.

The Volkswagen Jingle Cross Cyclo-Cross Festival will be held at the Johnson County Fairgrounds for a thirteenth year. New events have been added for Saturday, including World Cup cyclo-cross races for professional athletes and the Volkswagen Jingle Cross Gravel Grinder and Road Fondo by Clif Bar for recreational riders. Elite races on Friday and Sunday will be part of the national Pro Cyclocross Calendar (Pro CX).

The festival features over 60 cyclo-cross races for amateurs and professional cyclists, kid’s races, live music, fireworks (9/22/16), great food, featured beverages from Deschutes Brewery, and much more.

Jingle Cross began in 2004 as a small local race, and has grown to national prominence with more than 2,500 registered participants and thousands of spectators. The Pro CX and amateur races for Volkswagen Jingle Cross Cyclo-Cross Festival on Friday and Sunday are free for spectators.

The spotlight for international cycling will be on Iowa City on Sept. 24 for the Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup races for men and women. Traditionally held in late November or early December, the 2016 event moved to September to accommodate the inclusion of World Cup cyclo-cross races for the first time. Sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the governing body for the sport of cycling, this prestigious event is the second of nine World Cup races for the 2016-17 season.

Tickets for the Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup races cost $15, and are available online at www.jinglecross.com or locally at any MidWestOne bank location. Children ages 10 and younger will be admitted free on Saturday. NBC Sports Network will stream the event live online Sept. 24 from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. (ET), and will re-air the event on its national network from 6-8 p.m. Sunday and 10 p.m. – 12 a.m. Monday (all times ET; check your local listings).

“Cyclo-cross is traditionally a European-based sport. This year the international schedule features not one, but two cyclo-cross World Cup events in the United States, Las Vegas and Iowa City. Having back-to-back races on American soil speaks volumes for the growth of the sport here. Jingle Cross brings another quality venue and organization to the world stage,” said Micah Rice, vice president of national events for USA Cycling. “Jingle Cross continues to be a top event for the Professional Cyclo-cross Calendar as well. Spectators are in for real treat to have a variety of events for all levels of cyclists for three full days.”

The new Volkswagen Jingle Cross Gravel Grinder and Road Fondo by Clif Bar has been added to the schedule for amateur cyclists. Former pro cyclists Christian Vande Velde, Jason McCartney and Tim Johnson will participate in the ride and in post-ride activities. McCartney and Vande Velde are both former pro road cyclists who competed in Grand Tours, and Johnson is a six-time U.S. Cyclo-cross national champion. Participants can take part in either a 60-kilometer ride that rolls over a road-gravel-dirt course, or a 70-km road-only course. Both fondo ride options will begin at 8 a.m. CT on Saturday at the Johnson County Fairgrounds. Registration is $75, and the entry fee includes a commemorative T-shirt, socks, water bottle and admission to the Telenet UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup.

“We are excited to bring World Cup and Pro Cyclo-cross races to Iowa City and make this such a prestigious event for the state and the Midwest,” said Jingle Cross race director John Meehan. “This is an opportunity to watch the best bike racers in the world right here in Iowa City. For amateur riders, it is one of the few times they can race the same course as the world’s best racers. And for spectators, you can’t beat the high-energy racing all three days in a fun-filled party atmosphere, with announcers, music, food and beverage options all around the course.”

Meehan is a pediatric surgeon and is world-renowned for pioneering minimally invasive robotic surgery for children. He now lives in Seattle, Washington, but returns to Iowa every year to manage the Jingle Cross event. Meehan received his medical degree from the University of Iowa and worked at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. All proceeds from Jingle Cross have been donated to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital since the first year, and this will continue in 2016.

“I wanted to make more than just a great bike race. I wanted it to also have a special purpose. I am so proud that this event has grown to be in the international spotlight, but still has its heart here in the local community to help others. Jingle Cross has extraordinary partnerships with Iowa City officials and Convention and Visitors Bureau,” added Meehan, who has worked closely with Josh Shamberger, the president of the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and his staff.

For a detailed schedule of events, visit the official Jingle Cross website. Follow the race on Facebook and on Twitter. Follow the Pro Cyclocross Calendar on Twitter at @USACProCX

Photo Credit:
Jeff Corcoran/JingleCross 2015 

Date of publication

Monday, September 12, 2016