Ever since World Cup Waterloo was announced right before the World Championships in Bieles, there has been a little extra excitement surrounding the U.S. World Cups this year. The previous two years have no doubt been exciting, but after logistical challenges left some of the Europeans at home in 2016, knowing that Iowa City and Waterloo are less than four hours apart meant there was a better chance the Europeans would come to the U.S. in large numbers.

News about riders committing to race in the U.S. has been trickling out over the past month, but the release of the Women’s and Men’s start lists for the World Cup verified that U.S. cyclocross fans will get to see many of the world’s best cyclocross riders at Jingle Cross and World Cup Waterloo.

Anticipation has grown and now, Jingle Cross is here. The three-day cyclocross festival at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, located just south of Iowa City, kicks off on Friday with the Musco Lighting Friday Night Lights and then continues with night races again on Saturday and culminates with the UCI Telenet World Cup on Sunday.

Helen Wyman doesn't love the dry grass of CrossVegas and skipped the race this year, but found fresh legs and her favorite conditions waiting for her in Iowa. 2016 Jingle Cross Day 1 Night Race - Elite Women. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Helen Wyman doesn’t love the dry grass of CrossVegas and skipped the race this year, but found fresh legs and her favorite conditions waiting for her in Iowa. 2016 Jingle Cross Day 1 Night Race – Elite Women. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Iowa Football Kicks the World Cup Off to Sunday

One of the big changes to the 2017 World Cup is the schedule. Last year, the World Cup was held on Saturday afternoon and the C1 was run on Sunday afternoon. This schedule was similar to the traditional Jingle Cross schedule that had the C1 event on Saturday and C2 races on Friday and Sunday.

In 2017, the program is changing thanks to Iowa Football. Anyone who went to a large Midwestern state school knows the role football plays in these communities, and up until this year, Jingle Cross has never conflicted with an Iowa Football game. All things, as they say, must come to an end, and with Iowa hosting a game against North Texas at 2:30 p.m., the World Cup had to move to Sunday afternoon.

Although the move may create headaches for fans looking to leave town on Sunday afternoon, they may be the real beneficiaries thanks to better cyclocross racing. Last year, most of the World Cup racers skipped Friday night’s C2 and Sunday’s racing at Jingle Cross is always a subdued affair as amateurs race and leave town to get home for the coming work week. With the C1 event on Friday night, many of the top riders are registered to race and will hopefully be toeing the start line to go after the C1 points and money. And riders will likely be saving some fireworks for Sunday’s World Cup instead of participating in bunched racing like we often see at the end of long cyclocross weekends.

Reading the Weather Tea Leaves

With its traditional late November or early December date, Jingle Cross has always been known for its epic weather conditions. One of the big questions heading into last year’s race was if Jingle Cross would be a World Cup-caliber course during the drier September conditions. Perhaps the Grinch did a rain dance on his perch atop Mt. Krumpit in 2016, and on Thursday afternoon, the day before the start of last year’s event, a massive rain storm came blowing through Iowa City, dumping buckets of rain on the Fairgrounds. The rains brought the famed Jingle mud to life and the result was an epic Friday night race—and scores of broken derailleurs for amateur racers.

Mother Nature rewarded Iowa with epic rain the night before, and epic mud on race day. 2016 Jingle Cross Day 1, Elite Men. © D. Mable / Cyclocross Magazine

Mother Nature rewarded Iowa with epic rain the night before, and epic mud on race day. 2016 Jingle Cross Day 1, Elite Men. © D. Mable / Cyclocross Magazine

The Grinch struck again on Saturday with temperatures that soared into the 90s and forced riders to battle both the heat and the Jingle Cross course. Much of the course dried and several parts were routed around the worst mud, so even in the relative absence of traditional Jingle Cross conditions, the course passed muster with its multiple trips up and down Mt. Krumpit and other challenging features.

This year, the forecast again calls for things to be hot, with temperatures for Friday and Saturday projected to be in the 90s. This forecast would provide amateur racers with conditions that could not possibly differ more from the temperatures that have dipped into the teens at previous Jingle Crosses. The pros, however, will likely be grateful to the Musco Lighting company for providing the lights for cooler Friday and Saturday night racing.

The question is, will it rain on Sunday? Scattered thunderstorms in Iowa this time of year can bring a lot of rain in a hurry, and as we have seen in the past, it does not take much to turn the mild-mannered grounds of the Johnson County Fairgrounds into the famed Jingle Mud. We are not regular weather watchers, but we will be keeping our eyes on the forecast as the weekend moves on.

Riders Venture Into the Grinch’s Lair on Mt. Krumpit

In our interview with John Meehan, the race director for Jingle Cross—and noted cyclocross ginger—said giving amateur riders the opportunity to ride the World Cup course is very important to everyone involved with the event. Amateurs, and pros, will get the opportunity to race the World Cup course on Saturday. Traditionally, the Friday night course has included the famed Mt. Krumpit ride/run-up where a DJ and beer tent help make it one of the best parties in cyclocross. In 2016, the run-up was not included in the course, but organizers improvised and the Mt. Krumpit party was still top notch.

2016 Jingle Cross Day 1, Elite Men. © D. Mable / Cyclocross Magazine

Mt. Krumpit is always the place to be under the lights at Jingle Cross. 2016 Jingle Cross Day 1, Elite Men. © D. Mable / Cyclocross Magazine

The Friday night course is similar to the one used in 2016.

2017 Jingle Cross Friday night course. photo: courtesy

Riders start by heading down the long start/finish straight and out toward the aptly named Holly Jolly Hell Hole, which turned into a muddy swamp after the rains last year, giving the course an extra Euro-style touch. One noticeable absence, at least according the course map, is the Yule Logs that traditionally forced riders into an early dismount and run. Apparently, you cannot win them all.

Kerry Werner (Kona) is on pace for his best-ever cyclocross season of his young professional career. photo: Jingle Cross Day 3, Werner's top 10 finish. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

The South Pole turned into a muddy swamp in 2016. Kerry Werner, Day 3 2016 Jingle Cross Festival. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Riders will then head to a long climb up Mt. Krumpit, just west of the iconic Krumpit Run-Up. The climb is a long grind to the top of the steep hill, and any mud makes it that much harder to maintain traction and get to the top. After passing the partying fans, riders then rip down the Bobsled Bomb, which is an incredibly fast downhill with a sharp turn at the bottom. Riders handled the bomb pretty well in 2016, but this is definitely one area to quickly become a fan favorite by hitting the bottom with too much speed.

Jennifer Nowlin descends Mt. Krumpit. 2016 Jingle Cross Day 1 Night Race - Elite Women. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Jennifer Nowlin descends the Bobsled Bomb off Mt. Krumpit. 2016 Jingle Cross Day 1 Night Race – Elite Women. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Riders will then make their way through the fairground barns, including the Grinch’s Lair, which has historically been accompanied by a creepy soundtrack of ostensibly the Grinch making Grinch noises. Needless to say, part of the success of Jingle Cross is Meehan and his team have never been afraid to fully embrace the Jingle Cross theme, no matter how cheesy it might be.

Riders have one last climb up and around a set of bleachers on the side of Mt. Krumpit and then they work their way back to the start/finishing straight.

While the Friday night course is challenging and fun, the World Cup course is on a whole different level.

2017 Jingle Cross World Cup course. photo: courtesy

Riders make their first ascent of Mt. Krumpit at the iconic Krumpit Run-Up, which is a long, steep hill section that doubles as one of the best spectating locations. Last year, the Krumpit Run-Up was mostly unrideable during the World Cup thanks to a small pit of the peanut butter Jingle Mud at the bottom. A handful of riders were able to ride it on Sunday, so if conditions are dry or dry-ish, do not be surprised if riders are able to ride the feature. After making the climb, riders then quickly head straight back down and quickly undertake the second Krumpit climb.

Rob Peeters rode the very long run-up. 2016 Jingle Cross UCI C1, Day 3, Elite Men. © D. Mable / Cyclocross Magazine

Rob Peeters was one of the few riders who rode the Krumpit Runup in 2016. 2016 Jingle Cross UCI C1, Day 3, Elite Men. © D. Mable / Cyclocross Magazine

Earlier this summer, we wrote about USA Cycling’s “Landscape and Cyclocross” guide that talked about how to build sustainable relationships with race venues. The second climb demonstrates what such a long-term relationship can yield. Meehan and his team worked with the Fairgrounds owners to build a long singletrack-esque climb through the woods to the top of Mt. Krumpit. The climb features a bridge that has claimed many an amateur rider who has hit it too hot, and it can be a significant challenge when wet.

After reaching the top, riders get the opportunity to catch their breath as they lose it gazing out over the entire venue from atop Mt. Krumpit. The descent is via the Luge Run that features a set of switchbacks that has always been a must-see location on the course. (Perhaps because it has been the site of many a Jingle Wreck in the past.) In 2016, the final descent off of Mt. Krumpit was a ripping section that had riders hanging on to whatever traction they could find lest they continue onward into the barn near the bottom. In our discussion, Meehan said this descent should have a bit of a different approach after he saw just how fast the pro riders went down it. The course then rejoins the Friday course and features one more small Krumpit Klimb near the bleachers.

Ellen Noble on the rise at Jingle Cross. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Ellen Noble descends off Mt. Krumpit. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Cyclocross Stars Will Shine Bright on Friday Night

With the World Cup on Sunday, we were curious how many of the top riders would chase the C1 points and money on Friday night. The answer, based on a perusal of the start lists below, is a lot of them. Jingle Cross uses for its registration, which conveniently allows us to take a look at the‘s excellent race predictor for Friday night’s race.

Heading up the Women’s start list for Friday night is Katie Compton, who is joined by most of the U.S. World Cup contingent. The entire 2016 World Cup podium of Compton, Caroline Mani and Kaitlin Keough—who has been traveling to Iowa City from nearby Wisconsin for a decade now—is registered, as is last year’s Friday night winner Helen Wyman.

Kaitie Keough (right) has been racing at Jingle Cross for years. Amanda Miller (middle) joined her on the podium in this Women’s Cat 4 race. photo: courtesy

Ellen Van Loy, Nikki Brammeier and Maghalie Rochette round up the other riders the numbers place in the top five. Last year’s World Cup U23 winner Ellen Noble is also registered to race in Friday’s C1,

2016 Jingle Cross World Cup, Elite Women's podium: L to R: Caroline Mani, Katie Compton, Kaitie Antonneau. © D. Mable / Cyclocross Magazine

The entire Women’s World Cup podium is registered for Friday night. 2016 Jingle Cross World Cup, Elite Women’s podium: L to R: Caroline Mani, Katie Compton, Kaitie Antonneau. © D. Mable / Cyclocross Magazine

For the men, Kevin Pauwels heads up a field that will include many of the top riders fans will also see on Sunday. Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, along with Laurens Sweeck and Tom Meeusen, are absent from the start list, but an impressive list of riders will still be toeing the line. After Pauwels, the top-ranked riders include Toon Aerts, Corne van Kessel, Michael Vanthourenhout, Jim Aernouts, Quinten Hermans and Lars van der Haar.

Stephen Hyde will be taking advantage of the opportunity to race against the world’s best, as will much of the American World Cup contingent.

Hyde relaxed before the start. 2016 Jingle Cross World Cup, Elite Men. © D. Mable / Cyclocross Magazine

Stephen Hyde is looking to continue his Jingle Cross success in 2017. © D. Mable / Cyclocross Magazine

Saturday’s start list is very different from Friday’s. With only C2 points on the line and a late start time, many of the top riders are choosing to get some extra rest ahead of Sunday’s World Cup. Ellen Noble and Caroline Mani head up the list of registered women, although registering does not necessarily guarantee they will race. Several young stars, including Katie Clouse, Petra Schmidtmann, KK Santos and Turner Ramsay are making the trip to Iowa City, so Saturday’s race will provide them with the opportunity to shine in a UCI setting.

On the Men’s side, Jim Aernouts and Steve Chainel head up the list of registered riders. Tobin Ortenblad and Jeremy Powers are both registered, but again, it remains to be seen if they will race.

It is also worth noting that several Montana Cross Camp attendees who we have been hearing from will be racing in the Men’s Cat 1-2 amateur races, including Alex Morton, Magnus Sheffield, Dillon McNeill and Nathan Knowles. They will also be joined by young stars Tyler Reynolds and Nick Carter. We will be keeping our eyes on this race while we prepare for the UCI races Friday and Saturday.

The Friday and Saturday starts lists are below.

Jingle Cross Schedule and Broadcast

(All times Central time zone)

Friday: Women – 7:15 p.m., Men – 8:30 p.m.

Saturday: Women – 7:30 p.m., Men – 8:45 p.m.

Sunday: Women – 2:00 p.m., Men – 3:30 p.m.

The UCI World Cup races will be broadcast on NBC Sports Gold via the Cycling package this season. The package costs $40, but it does allow you to watch coverage of Spring Classics such as Paris-Roubaix. There will be no broadcast of Friday or Saturday’s races.

Cyclocross Magazine will be on-site in Iowa City all weekend. Follow us on Twitter (@cyclocross) for updates from Friday and Saturday’s C1 and C2 races.

Friday Night Start Lists - 2017 Jingle Cross C1

Women Men 
FirstLastTeam FirstLastTeam
ElleAndersonElle Anderson RacingJimAernoutsTelenet Fidea Lions
CrystalAnthonymaxxis-shimano pro cyclocrossToonAertsTelenet Fidea Lions
DanielleArmanTenspeed HeroThijsAertsTelenet Fidea Lions
NikkiBrammeierRider - Boels Dolmans Cycling TeamJoshBauer??!
NikkiBrammeierBoels Dolmans cycling teamSteveChainelTEAM CHAZAL CANYON
KatieClouseAlpha Bicycle Co. - Vista SubaruMaxxChanceEVOL DevoElite Racing
KatherineComptonKFC Racing p/b Trek/KnightAnthonyClarkSquid Squad
BethanyCrumptonStorey RacingMattClementsRotor Bike Components
NicoleDorinziPro Mountain OutfittersTylerCloutierTransitions LifeCare p/b Garneau-Easton
rebeccafahringerStan's NoTubes p/b Maxxis / gofahrTylerCurtisSpin Racing
AliciaFranckMarlux - Napolean Games CT - BelgiumConnorDilgerAbove and Beyond Cancer Cycling
SunnyGilbertVan Dessel Factory TeamNicholasDinizNCCH Elite p/b MGCC
SofiaGomez VillafaneJamesDriscollDonnelly Sports
RebeccaGrossZero D RacingJeremyDurrinNeon Velo Cycling Team
KimHurstCowbell CoachingBrannanFixAlpha Bicycle Co.-Groove Subaru
KatieIsermannPSIMET RacingAndrewGiniatPony Shop CX Team
EmilyKachorekSquid SquadJulesGoguelyApex / NBX / Hyperthreads
SiobhanKellyTo Wheels Epic Sports PerformancelancehaidetDonnelly Sports
KaitlinKeoughCannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.comGageHechtAlpha Bicycle/Groove Subaru
LindsayKnightTen Speed Hero CXQuintenHermansTelenet Fidea Lions
MariaLarkinThe Meteor p/b AlliedStephenHydeCannondale P/B
SuzieLivingstonTOPO Designs CXEliIserbytMarlux - Napolean Games CT - Belgium
AnyaMalarskiTransitions LifeCare p/b Easton-GarneauCodyKaiserLangeTwins / Specialized
JenniferMalikAmerican Classic Pro CXMichaelLarsonTeam Handmade
CarolineManiJustinLindineApex / NBX / Hyperthreads
CassandraMaximenkoVanDessel/Atom Composite WheelsTravisLivermonMaxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross
NicoleMertzThe Meteor p/b AlliedBouloMathieuTeam Pays de Dinan
FleurNagengastTelenet Fidea LionsKevinMcConnellIowa City Cycling Club
AmandaNaumanSDG - Muscle MonsterGarryMillburnSpeedvagen MAAP
EllenNobleAspire RacingIsaac Nilesgarneau easton p/b transitions lifecare
EmilyNordahlWheel and SprocketTobinOrtenbladSanta Cruz / Donkey Label Racing
Beth AnnOrtonAmy D FoundationJonathanPage
GrayPattonFreddie Fu Cycling TeamJonathanPage
TurnerRamsayAlpha Bicycle Co. - Groove SubaruKevinPauwelsMarlux-Napolean Games CT - Belgium
KelliRichterPSIMETSpencerPetrovAspire Racing
MaghalieRochetteClif Pro TeamDylanPostierGarneau-Easton p/b Transitions LifeCare
KatherineSantosAmy D FoundationJeremyPowersAspire Racing
PetraSchmidtmannVan Dessel CyclesKyleRussBrazen Dropouts Cycling Team
CarolSeippOrion Racing p/b K'ul ChocolateBjornSelander
EmilyShieldsKen's Bike ShopDaanSoeteTelenet Fidea Lions
Ellenvan LoyTelenet Fidea LionsTylerStein
RubyWestCannondale devo teamChristianSundquist
LilyWilliamsPony Shop CX TeamEricThompsonMSPEEDWAX.COM
JulieWrightTeam AvericaAndrewThompsonBirchwood
HelenWymanBryanTyersLakeside Storage Cyclocross
Larsvan den HaarTelenet Fidea Lions
Michaelvan den HamGarneau - Easton Cycling p/b Transitions Life Care
Cornevan KesselTelenet Fidea Lions
MichaelVanthourenhoutMarlux-Napolean Games CT - Belgium
DieterVanthourenhoutMarlux - Napolean Games CT - Belgium
KerryWerner Jr.Kona Factory CX Team

Saturday Night Start List - 2017 Jingle Cross C2

Women Men 
FirstLastTeam FirstLastTeam
DanielleArmanTenspeed HeroJimAernoutsTelenet FIdea Lions
KatieClouseAlpha Bicycle Co. - Vista SubaruJoshBauer??!
NicoleDorinziPro Mountain OutfittersSteveChainelTEAM CHAZAL CANYON
RebeccaFahringerStan's NoTubes p/b Maxxis / gofahrMattClementsRotor Bike Components
SofiaGarcia VillafaneTylerCloutierTransitions LifeCare p/b Garneau-Easton
SunnyGilbertVan Dessel Factory TeamTylerCurtisSpin Racing
RebeccaGrossZero D RacingKevinDayEndurance 360
ClaraHonsingerAndrewDillmanThink Green
KimHurstCowbell CoachingBrannanFixAlpha Bicycle Co.-Groove Subaru
KatieIsermannPSIMET RacingMarkFlisX-Men/ Trek/ Storm Cycles
SiobhanKellyTo Wheels Epic Sports PerformanceAndrewGiniatPony Shop CX Team
ArleyKemmererFearless Femme RacingJulesGoguelyApex / NBX / Hyperthreads
LindsayKnightTen Speed Hero CXlancehaidetDonnelly Sports
SuzieLivingstonTOPO Designs CXCodyKaiserLangeTwins / Specialized
AnyaMalarskiTransitions LifeCare p/b Garneau-EastonMichaelLarsonTeam Handmade
CassandraMaximenkoVanDessel/Atom Composite WheelsJustinLindineApex / NBX / Hyperthreads
NicoleMertzThe Meteor p/b AlliedSkylerMackey
AmandaNaumanSDG - Muscle MonsterKevinMcConnellIowa City Cycling Club
EllenNobleAspire RacingJustinMorganTop Club CX
EmilyNordahlWheel and SprocketTrevorO'DonnellLakeside Storage Cyclocross
Beth AnnOrtonAmy D FoundationTobinOrtenbladSanta Cruz / Donkey Label Racing
GrayPattonFreddie Fu Cycling TeamJonathanPage
TurnerRamsayAlpha Bicycle Co. - Groove SubaruSpencerPetrovAspire Racing
KelliRichterPSIMETDylanPostierGarneau-Easton p/b Transitions LifeCare
RachelRubinoFearless Femme RacingJeremyPowersAspire Racing
KatherineSantosAmy D FoundationChristianRicciLakeside Storage Cyclocross
PetraSchmidtmannVan Dessel CyclesKyleRussBrazen Dropouts Cycling Team
CarolSeippOrion Racing p/b K'ul ChocolateBjornSelander
EmilyShieldsKen's Bike ShopTylerStein
SarahSzefiPSIMET RacingJohannesStromskiKMS Cycling - Killington Mountain School
RubyWestCannondale devo teamChristianSundquist
LilyWilliamsPony Shop CX TeamEricThompsonMSPEEDWAX.COM
JulieWrightTeam AvericaAndrewThompsonBirchwood
BryanTyersLakeside Storage Cyclocross