Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jingle Cross Day 1

We loaded up the Planet Bike van and trailer on Saturday morning and made it down to Iowa City for a weekend of UCI racing with Jingle Cross. A full crew this weekend with a total of 6 people (Anna, Bob, Mark, and myself plus 2 support members) and 7 bikes. Plus we would be meeting up with several other PB riders who had made the trip on Friday. It was a quick drive and we got there with plenty of time to get ready for the race. Overcast skies and temps in the mid 40s - very nice for the end of November. We set up camp with mechanic David Kohli putting up the temp, rocking some tunes, and get the bikes dialed in for us. A good day already for PB riders with Gordy winning the 55+ race, new rider Jordan Cullen winning the junior race, and Diane taking a 2nd and 3rd place in the 35+ and womens 2/3 race respectively. Some new features added to the course including a really fun spiraling section in the middle of the field and then several zig zagging 180 turns in a barn. The hugely steep run (this year greasy with mud) up Mt. Krumpet with the continued uphill sections on top and the sandpit through the barn remained the same from last year. Also a tricky muddy uphill section near the bleachers with an off camber section. The good line was a narrow one and the first time through it would be tough.

About 20 women on the line for our race and I was the third rider called to the front row. As we waited to listen to the usual prerace announcements we suddenly heard go and off we went! I think it caught most of us off guard as at the UCI races they generally always give you a warning of 1 minute to go and then 30 seconds to start. Not a great start for me (surprise!) and I settled into maybe 10th as we came into the first set of barriers. I started moving up as we came to a muddy little hill. I wanted the same line as everyone else and a few riders were slipping and putting a foot down or crashing and I was forced to go wide . . . and I slid out onto my right side. I then had to run the off camber slightly muddy section. I was now in about 15th place and as we came to Mt. Krumpet I tried to get around some riders. I was in too big of a gear over the top of the hill and struggled to turn the pedals after I jumped back on the bike to ride up the rest of the hill.

I picked off a few more riders in the next lap and tried to really push the long open stretches to make up lost time. Somehow I ran right into the mattress covered post near the exit of the sand pit and had to get off the bike. I made it up the muddy hill no problem next time and soon saw Linda and Sydney not too far in front of me. A few more hard pushes through the flats and with three laps to go they were a few seconds ahead. The hill run up was taking its toll and I was pretty gassed at the top. I was finding it better to be in my smallest gear and jumping on my bike right over the top rather than running until it flattened out more. By two laps to go I had passed Linda and Sydney and Niki were in my sights. I passed them both near the zig zags in the barn and pushed hard to get a gap. I could see the top three riders not too far ahead - Devon, Lisa Strong, and Josie JM. At the base of Mt. Krumpet some fans told me it was only 8 seconds but I felt they were being slightly optimistic. I pushed hard the last lap but was unable to catch them and finished 4th - 18 seconds back from winner Devon Haskell.
A great ride by her and it was cool to see her take the win. Anna had a good ride and took 8th place.

We cooled down and then warmed up in the van and changed to watch the mens race. Mark had a fantastic race and despite getting caught behind the massive pileup on that muddy hill that plagued me on the first lap, he rode in the group of 3rd-5th place all race. The two Wells bros who were in front of the crash steadily rode away from the field and Mark, Andy JM, and B Matter were in the chase group. Bob was riding a strong race and was able to move into the top 25 by the end of the race. With a lap to go it was just Marko and AJM riding for 3rd place. I was at the entrance to the sand pit and the guys came through with Mark on Andy's wheel. And down Marko went sliding out in the corner. He had to readjust his handle bars and it gave Andy the gap he needed to finish off the last 1K of the course. Mark came across for a great 4th place finish.
Big thanks to all of our support crew and teammates helping out afterward. Kohli did a great job cleaning the bikes and even Gordy, Diane, and Jordan's dad Jim got in on the action. Also thanks to Julie Foertsch for all of the great action shots! Thanks everyone!

Today will be vastly different conditions. There is about 1.5" of snow on the ground right now and it continues to fall.
A high of 35 and continued slushy accumulation according to the weather channel. It's going to be a messy cold day out there but it will definitely be fun! I'm interested to see what they do with the course today - if we come flying down a muddy, slippery Mt. Krumpet there might be some crashing! I'll let you know how it goes - thanks for checking in!

No comments: