Jinglecross finishes with biking, beers, and speedos

Iowa City’s Jinglecross Festival closes with spoof races and the Cyclocross World Cup.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

Clif Pro Team's Katerina Nash from the Czech Republic celebrates while crossing the finish line during the UCI Telenet Women's World Cup cyclocross race at Jinglecross on the Johnson County fairgrounds on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. Sunday began with a kids events, a speedo race and a dog race followed by the women's and men's UCI world cup races. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Sarah Watson

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As the final day of Jingle Cross came to a close, Mathieu van der Poel and Kateřina Nash walked away victorious in the World Cup Race, thousands of spectators stowed away their cowbells, and officials handed out trophies.

The morning before the Cyclocross World Cup race, spectators competed in a number of family-friendly races such as Doggy Cross, Race the Grinch, and the Single Speedo Spectacular.

LuLo Maxx’s Doggy Cross, a new event, had dogs and their owners racing over obstacles, crawling under barriers, and owners rolling over the finish line. 

Former Hawkeye wrestler Thomas Gilman, who attended the festival to support wrestling coaches competing in the Fat Tire division of amateur races earlier in the day, said he saw an opportunity to bring his dog out for some fun. 

“We brought Kizer out today because we’d seen dogs out here the other day and someone asked us if we were racing him.” Gilman said. “She said, ‘Oh, go sign up, it’s a race,’ so we brought him over, and we raced him, just like that.” 

The Grinch made an appearance at the Race the Grinch event. The notorious Christmas humbug sat smiling on his tricycle and waved long green fingers behind him at the kids lined up on their bikes. Needless to say, the Grinch finished close to last. 

Another race leading up to the World Cup was the Single Speedo Spectacular in which athletes rode a short version of the course in costumes and swimsuits. 

“[The race] started out as a joke,” race director John Meehan said. “Ten years ago, I challenged some guys to just wear Speedos because it was really cold and do it on their single-speed bikes.” 

After those events ended, excitement started buzzing in the air as the clock ticked closer to 2 p.m., when the women’s World Cup race was scheduled to start.

Michael Roony, the manager of Sports Development at the Iowa City/Coralville Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, estimated the number of people in attendance was 10,000 to 15,000.

Spectators, armed with cowbells and noisemakers, gathered around key spots near the race course and the giant screen near the finish line. Every time cyclists zoomed by, a chorus of cowbells, cheers, and raised beer mugs greeted them.

“I think Jingle Cross just has a ton of positive energy; everybody is super-happy,” Iowa City resident Colleen Davis said. “There are great, close-knit community of bikers here; it just seems super-positive, and supportive, and fun.”

Leading the entire second half of the race, Nash of the Czech Republic beat previous world champion Sanne Cant of Belgium.

For the men, Mathieu van der Poel finished in front, beating the previous Jingle Cross Champion Wout van Aert, whose front tire popped toward the beginning of the race.

RELATED: UCI Telenet Cyclocross Jinglecross World Cup in Iowa City

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