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Your guide to Jingle Cross-World Cup weekend in Iowa City

Event featuring dozens of bicycle races runs Thursday through Sunday

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IOWA CITY — The Jingle Cross-World Cup of cyclocross kicks off three and half days of festivities Thursday in Iowa City.

Packed with music, beer, food and lots of lots of bikes, the centerpiece of the festivities is the amateur and professional cyclocross races up and down Mount Krumpit at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, 3109 Old Highway 218 South. To help spectators navigate the event, here’s a guide to get the most out of the weekend, including ticket information, schedules, weather and more:

1. Where do I start?

Cyclocross enthusiasts can attend an opening Jingle Cross World Cup Hole Shot Party with cyclocross team introduction and professional fireworks beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area, 579 McCollister Blvd. Festivities continue Friday and throughout the weekend at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, 3109 Old Highway 218 S.

2. When are the must-see World Cup races?

Jingle Cross, which has been held since 2004, features dozens of races. What makes this year special is Iowa City won a bid to host a Telenet — UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup on Saturday. It’s one of the top cyclocross races in the world. The 40- to 50-minute women’s race begins at 3:30 p.m. with awards at 4:20 p.m. The 60-minute men’s race begins at 5 p.m. with awards at 6:15 p.m.

3. Tell me more about the other races

Friday has more than 20 races for different age groups and bike styles, such as single speed and fat tire bikes. The races run from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday. Among the highlights are the championship level Volkswagen UCI Elite Women, C2, and Volkswagen UCI Elite Men, C2, races at 7:45 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively. Sunday offers another 20 races beginning with children at 8 a.m. The weekend closes with the Volkswagen UCI Elite Women, C1, and Volkswagen UCI Elite Men, C1, at 3:45 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively. Those interested in racing can register on-site as online registration has closed. Fees range from $25 to $55 per race.

Review the full race schedule here: JingleCross2.com/index.php/schedule/schedule-iverview.

4. Where should I watch?

Spectators line the 2-mile marked course running through the woods, barns, fields, sand and mud in a first-come, first-served fashion to cheer on or heckle riders, as is customary at cyclocross races. Stadium seating is set up in some areas as well. If you can’t make it, NBC Sports Network is streaming the Iowa City World Cup races at NBCSports.com/live from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and plans to rebroadcast the races on the UniHD channel on Sept. 26.

5. Should I bring my bike?

Yes. Since it’s a biking event, many are expected to bike rather than drive to the fairgrounds. The Iowa Bicycle Coalition is offering valet bike parking and the western lane of the four-lane Riverside Drive is to be closed to cars from the fairgrounds to the bike trail along Mormon Trek Boulevard to accommodate bike traffic.

Saturday morning has an off-site road and gravel bike ride called the Jingle Cross Road Fondo and Gravel Grinder open to anyone. Registration is $75 and also includes a World Cup ticket. Riders should park on the old runway at the Iowa City Airport, which is accessible from Mormon Trek Boulevard across from the Colonial Lanes. Register on site or online through Thursday night at bikereg.com/the-volkswagen-jingle-cross-fondo.

6. Who should I look for?

Top U.S. and international racers are expected to participate. Keep an eye out for Katerina Nash, from the Czech Republic, and Katie Compton, the current U.S. national champion, on the women’s side, and U.S. cyclocross champion Jeremy Powers and reigning world cyclocross champion Wout Van Aert of Belgium on the men’s side. Retired professional cyclists Christian Vande Velde and Jason McCartney are expected to be on hand as announcers and to participate in the fondo.

7. Do I need a ticket to watch?

Admission and parking is free for Friday and Sunday events, but fees exist for the World Cup events on Saturday. Saturday World Cup tickets cost $15 and parking at the fairgrounds costs $10. A VIP ticket, which includes all-you-can-eat food and drinks and access to a special viewing area, costs $135.

Tickets are available online at jinglecross2.com/index.php/buy-tickets, on site or in advance at MidWestOne Bank locations in Iowa City, Coralville and North Liberty, as well as Geoff’s Bike and Ski and World of Bikes in Iowa City, Scheels and Trail’s End Bike and Triathlon in Coralville and Sugar Bottom Bikes in North Liberty.

8. Don’t forget the beer

Downtown Iowa City is also hosting a festival Saturday featuring beers from 50 breweries. The Northside Octoberfest, which is closing several streets along Linn and Market Street, is scheduled from noon to 3 p.m., leaving just enough time to make it to the World Cup races. Tickets are $48 and include admission to the World Cup races.

The fairgrounds is having its own beer fest. Portland-based Deschutes Brewing Co. is setting up kiosks throughout the grounds to sell its selection of craft beer, including Mirror Pond Ale, Black Butte Porter and Obsidian Stout. Beers are $5 each, or five for $20.

Also, nearly 20 vendors are offering a variety of foods at the fairgrounds throughout the weekend.

9. Can I get a lift?

Iowa City is providing free parking garage access for the entire day Saturday and complimentary shuttles to and from the fairgrounds from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Limited parking is available on site at the fairgrounds for $10 on Saturday or free on Friday and Sunday.

10. Summit Mount Krumpit

Make sure to climb Mount Krumpit. The high vantage point offers a spectacular perspective view of the full course.

Jay Herman, of Groove Announcing and Event Services, plans to resume his post in the wooden-shack announcing booth atop the hill to emcee and DJ on Friday evening. Deschutes is to have beer for sale in a hilltop gazebo.

11. Did I just see the Grinch?

Probably. Jingle Cross is typically held in November or December, which inspired a Dr. Seuss “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” theme, hence dubbing the hill Mount Krumpit. A full-costumed Grinch character is often seen throughout the fairgrounds and even pedaling a bike on the course.

12. Will it rain?

The Friday forecast calls for a high of 86 degrees with partly sunny skies during the day and mostly clear skies in the evening. Saturday’s forecast is mostly sunny with a high of 85, followed by a 20 percent chance of showers in the evening and a low of 65. Sunday could get dicey. The forecast calls for a 40 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms and a high of 80 degrees.

For more information about the event, visit http://jinglecross2.com.

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