National cycling race moves from Illinois to Iowa because of COVID-19 restrictions

Iowa City holds an annual Jingle Cross cyclocross event. (Screen shot from City of Iowa City video)

USA Cycling, the governing body for bicycle racing in the U.S., is moving this year’s national cyclocross competition to Iowa City, due to COVID-19 mitigation restrictions at its original planned location.

The 2020 Cyclocross Nationals were originally scheduled to take place in DuPage County, Illinois, but because of the state’s restrictions on gatherings and events, USA Cycling announced it would not be able to hold its national competition there.

Beth Marchetti, the executive director of the DuPage convention and visitors bureau, said in a statement that she believed the most “responsible” action was to postpone hosting the event until next year.

“With the popularity of cycling and cyclocross in Chicago and surrounding areas, we believe this event will be one of the largest cyclocross national championships for USA Cycling, both in terms of competitors and spectators,” Marchetti said in the statement. “Taking that into account, and our current environment here in Illinois, we feel the most responsible action is to postpone hosting the event until 2021.”

Instead, USA Cycling is moving the event to Iowa City at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in December. While the organization has canceled most of its major national races this year, it is continuing to move forward with its cyclocross event.

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In Illinois, gatherings of only 50 people or fewer are allowed. In Iowa, mass gatherings are allowed, but people are required to maintain a six-foot distance from each other.

Iowa City is home to Jingle Cross, a hugely popular cyclocross event that draws international racers to the Midwest for the three-day event. Jingle Cross organizers announced earlier this month that the event is canceled this year, due to COVID-19.

“We are excited for the opportunity to host the 2020 Cyclocross National Championships,” said Josh Schamberger, president of Think Iowa City in a news release. “The CX community knows us well so we are thankful for this opportunity. We also very clearly know what our community, state and world is facing with the COVID-19 pandemic. To that end, we have already begun aligning local/state medical officials”.

Johnson County supervisors recently passed a face mask mandate, requiring people to wear them in public or face a fine. It’s unknown how the new mandate will work with the event.

Both USA Cycling and Think Iowa City did not immediately respond to requests for interviews.

Linh Ta
Reporter Linh Ta comes to Iowa Capital Dispatch from the Des Moines Register, where she covered trending news, public safety and the suburbs. Most recently, she has covered retail business and followed both national and local trends to provide insight about the issues that matter the most to Iowans. Beyond traditional journalism, Ta has worked as a speech coach with the Des Moines Storytellers Project with the goal of sharing the diverse perspectives of Iowans from all walks of life. She is the 2019 winner of the Young Iowa Journalist Award and the winner of an Iowa Broadcast News Award. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @linhmaita.