Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Three days of Jingle Cross

This past weekend was my first time to Iowa City for one of the biggest cyclocross weekends in the Midwest. Brendan and I met in Cannon Falls on Friday morning and headed down to Iowa early so we could check out the course before the Friday night races. The Friday night course didn't seem too technical except Mt. Krumpit which is a 20% or more grass hill (run up) with three boards at the bottom that take most of your speed away. Mt. Krumpit was a little muddy so I thought I'd be running it during the race.

race start photo by cycling news
I got my call up  on the 6th of 8 rows and as the race started we sprinted down a long straight which is always a little nerve racking when every guy in the field wants to get to the front. First time up Mt. Krumpit I was actually able to ride it as the temp was about 16 deg., the mud had frozen making it firm. Everything was going pretty good, I got feeling back in my hands and was making my way through the field. With 2 laps to go I was riding with 15-19th and flatted my rear tire. I rode half a lap to the pit on the flat, grabbed my B bike and  held on to 19th for the finish. I was pretty happy with a top 20 for my first UCI race.

Foundry Harrow and Kit looking good under the lights Photo by TMB Images

Loving these shorter barriers Photo by TMB Images

Day 2 came pretty quick with a late night on Friday. Saturday was the big show, UCI C1 race with all the big guns coming out to get some points. I had a similar call up, pretty much second to last row. The course was more technical with us going up Mt Krumpit two different ways and an off camber downhill section that zigzagged across the hill. During the race it started snowing which made things more interesting. It was a super fun race, but probably the hardest cross race I've ever done.

Flyover and fresh snow Photo by Velonews
Pushing up Mt. Krumpit
On Sunday morning I rested up in the hotel and watched the Superprestige Gavere which got me pumped up for racing that day. The temps again dropped into the teens as it got colder during the day. It snowed another inch overnight making the course a little muddy as it melted. The 3rd day I had to dig deep to make myself go fast and not think about my fatigued muscles. I got into the groove and was really enjoying the fast curving and rutted downhill. On the last two laps I was chasing a racer who was in front of me by 5-10 seconds and I was slowly bringing him in and thinking it might go down to a sprint if I could get there.  In the last few turns he overcooked it and crashed on some icy grass. I made the pass and was happy to be home free with a top 25.  I had a couple tire issues but my Foundry Harrow rode perfectly through the weekend. Overall it was a great racing experience that I will be looking forward to doing again next year!

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