Photos: Mix a road race and mountain bike race, add mud for cyclocross

Alex Fortner, 5, rides with the Grinch.
Alex Fortner, 5, of Champaign, Ill., rides in the kids race with the Grinch, the mascot of Jingle Cross.
Nate Ryan

A World Cup bike race — with mud, stairs and hurdles — took place in Iowa City Saturday, only the third time the U.S. has hosted a UCI World Cup Cyclocross race. And they held a weekend-long party to go with it.

Cyclocross is a bike race that combines elements of road cycling and mountain biking with added obstacles and varied terrain designed to create a grueling, fast-paced event. A course is typically one to two miles long, with racers completing multiple laps in different events that last from 30 minutes to an hour.

This year, the Volkswagen Jingle Cross Cyclo-Cross festival was moved from November to September, although it retained some of its holiday vibe. Held at the Johnson County Fairgrounds outside Iowa City, the three-and-a-half-day festival featured races for amateurs and pros. The party atmosphere included DJs, food and beverages, and a largely recreational ride before the World Cup race on Saturday.

The second World Cup race of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) season took place Saturday. Wout Van Aert of Belgium took first place in the men's race and Katie Compton of the U.S. won the women's race. It drew riders from over 10 countries, including several national champions and Van Aert, the reigning world champion. Compton is the reigning U.S. national champion.

The Minnesota Cycling Federation will host several races locally throughout fall, culminating in the Minnesota State Championships in November.

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