The Races - Overview

This isn't a dirt road race nor a mountain bike race and maybe not a 'cross race either.

It is a course that makes you choose something that is likely to be really good at certain parts of trip through Michaux and is likely not so good in other places. Our choice? A disc equipped Foundry 'cross bike with NoTubes wheels of course! You don't need full on mtb tires for sure and climbing sure is nice on a light cross bike. You may feel more comfortable on a couple of the descents on flat bars, but we've been riding everything on this course with drops for a long time.  Discs - been waiting for these to catch on for 'cross for the last 11 years. Glad to see everyone else has caught on. And hell yea to NoTubes, they've saved our butts hundreds of times. Get some.  (And did you see the new carbon ones coming?!?

Bring your climbing legs. The course is mostly fire-roads with some trails interspersed - though a little less than in years past perhaps. The trails may contain sections where you will want to get off your 'cross bike and run, but for the most part will be 'cross bike-able. There are two run-ups. "Run-up" is a term used loosely and very open to interpretation.

There will be a cut-off time at the last checkpoint / aid station so we are sure everyone is off the course by dark. You should plan to be self-sufficient (carry tubes, water, tools, etc.) as we will have very light support at the checkpoints and they will not function as full-on service stations. 

New for 2013:  We are offering a wheels in/wheels out service for the bottom of Lippencote and perhaps one other location on course.  World Cup Ski and Cycle, our mech support from Mechanicsburg, PA. World Cup will be packing up wheels at the start/line. You bring some to them, put them in the truck, they drive them to Lippencote (the bottom) and watch you all roll past without handing out a one (yea, right). SRAM's neutral support will also be there.  World Cup will hang until the last rider rolls through. SRAM will stay closer to the front. World Cup may make it to one other location on course for you depending on the progress at Lippencote.

Checkpoints / aid stations will have some food and water and also some tools and tubes. Big thanks to our friends at Mountain Bikers of Michaux (MBM) for their long time support at the Wigwam aid station!

Just in case any last minute changes need to be made, we have to say this: we reserve the right to make changes to the advertised course (or anything else since that's how we roll).

Iron Cross Course Overview Map

A short prologue loop to spread things out in blue.

The long magenta loop begins with a high speed descent on Shippensburg Rd, a quick climb to dirt and rolling gravel to the infamous Lippencote descent. A quick jaunt down Rt 30 leaves SSers spinning furiously and roadies punishing all others. Gradual climbing into the Wigwam run up lets the strong guys break legs before those who can run make quick work of Wigwam's fall line ascent. MBM's Checkpoint at the top of the ridge gives a quick respite before more fast rolling and a run out the ridge brings you back into the start/finish are for checkpoint #2.

Out onto the course again with the high speed descent of Thompson Hollow and twisting paved roads along the base of the ridge - keep your head up and follow the markings! - leading into Hogshead where only the strong will survive in the lead. A new entrance into the second run-up of the day avoids some of the singletrack from previous years and is sure to keep the racing tighter than ever. Those who've been making the trip to IC since the beginning will remember the new ridge road and descent of Cold Springs Road which starts choppy before turning to pavement. A quick zig zag past the old starting point of Camp Thompson and out onto the hiker biker path are next before wrapping around Pine Grove Furnace SP and climbing Log Sled. Log Sled, formerly the first climb in IC now becomes one of the final spots to make a separation, but not the last. Rolling ridge line again before the final descent and a climb up dirt to the finish line.

Please watch the course/road crossings.  And, keep your heads up and follow the course markings! Do not follow other riders blindly - make sure YOU know where the course goes, it is YOUR responsibility to follow the course markings.


Drop bags will be available to you at Checkpoint #2. 

CP#2 is also the start/finish and parking lot.  This makes it very easy for you to support yourself, bring any special food or supplies you want along and pit from your your vehicle. 

You get to drop stuff at the CPs.  Here is how that works:

CP #1 and CP #3 will be available with our supply of supplies. This is mostly hydration based support with emergency stock if you really really need it.

CP#1 will be water and Hammer's Heed for everyone.  They will also have a very small selection of food for emergency use purposes.

CP#3 will have water and HEED available as well.  They will have a slightly deeper selection of emergency calories, but you should plan to support yourself primarily from your pit at CP#2 since this allows you exactly what YOU need and want for your day at Iron Cross.

Please say "Thanks!" to all the CP staff and course marshals you see on the course. They are giving up their day to help you have a great ride. Show 'em some love and no matter what kind of day you're having, be nice to them! 

World Cup Ski and Cycle is helping out with some emergency tubes at all the CPs with CP#2 also offering full mechanical support.  CP1 and 3 will have some basic mech support on site. Pack your own tubes (we recommend carrying 2) but know that you do have some backups at the checkpoints -- and then thank the World Cup boys for their help!

CP#3 is the cut off point.  

Of particular note for those of you who reach CP#3 at 2PM or later (5 hours into the race) realize that although you are most of the way through that those final miles will take pretty easily 2+ hours.  Be sure that you leave CP#3 with enough food and fluid to get you to the finish.  If you need to take a short break and eat or drink a bit more then do it!  Do not leave CP#3 without refueling and taking some grub with you.

CP#3 is also the Cut-Off!  Cut-off time is 3:00PM.  No matter how much begging and pleading and crying you do, if you arrive at CP#3 at 3:00PM or later you will be directed back the finish via Ridge Road.  If you return to the finish before reaching CP#3 please let the scoring crew at the finish line know!

Concerning GPS tracks of the Iron Cross Course

 On race day, course markings are king and all else is secondary.  Keep your head up! 

We may have GPS tracks available to you on the week leading into the race. If we do we recommend that those are the only tracks you use!  AND, even if we do make a GPS track available you still need to keep your head up and follow course markings!