UI Sports Medicine on Cyclo-cross World Cup Stage

Cyclo-cross competitor carrying bike over obstacle
Ryan Jacobsen clears a barrier during a cyclo-cross race.

The racers who compete during the Jingle Cross Cyclo-cross Festival the weekend of Sept. 28–30 at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Iowa City need to be ready to ride their bikes through mud and grass, around sharp corners, and up steep inclines. They need to be ready to jump off their bikes and carry them over obstacles.

With that wide variety of conditions, all cyclo-cross racers at Jingle Cross—from rank beginners to the best riders in the world—also expect to get hurt once in a while. That’s why UI Sports Medicine, the same team that provides care for the Iowa Hawkeyes, serves as the official medical provider for the event.

Medical coverage for every skill level

Jingle Cross co-medical directors Britt Marcussen, MD, UI clinical associate professor of Family Medicine, and Matt Doyle, athletic trainer and director of the UI’s athletic training residency program, lead a team of volunteers, including sports medicine fellows, residents, and medical and athletic training students. They staff an on-site medical tent to take care of anyone who is injured, whether they’re competing in an amateur race or in Saturday’s World Cup event.

Ryan Jacobsen, a cyclo-cross racer from Iowa City who has competed in Jingle Cross since its early years and is now also involved in organizing the event, is grateful to have that kind of medical coverage available.

“Last year I had a particularly bad crash where I slid out on a corner that had some loose gravel and ended up with some road rash on my elbow and knee,” Jacobsen says. “It was very helpful and convenient to be able to go straight to the UI Sports Medicine tent. Nobody wants to visit that tent, but the racers really appreciate having that level of expertise there if they need it.”

Contributing to an award-winning effort

Launched in 2004, Jingle Cross began as a small gathering of mostly local enthusiasts of a sport that had only recently become popular in the United States. Today it has grown into one of the most-anticipated events on the international cyclo-cross calendar. This is the third straight year that Jingle Cross will serve as a stop on the World Cup tour.

Earlier this year, the sport’s governing body, Union Cycliste Internationale, named Jingle Cross the best stop on the 2017-18 World Cup tour.

Marcussen, who also participates in Jingle Cross, says that award is a testament to all of the elements that make the event successful—from the quality of the course to the local support to the professionalism it takes to make the whole weekend enjoyable and safe.

“We take a lot of pride in the medical coverage we deliver out there,” Marcussen says. “It’s a multidisciplinary team, and we’ve got what it takes to treat amateurs and weekend warriors with the same expertise we deliver to the elite performers.”