Monday, December 1, 2008

Jingle Cross Day 2

Huge thanks to Amy D for the action photos!

Sunday's snow totally changed the course up for the second day of racing and it was a muddy, snowy mess. As was expected we now got to come flying down Mt. Krumpit which had turned into a giant mud slide. Anna and I watched racers ride/slide/ski/tumble down. It was quite amusing but we knew that soon enough we would find ourselves struggling with it. Here are a couple of short videos I shot of the fun. Second one is of PB teammate Diane.

After deciding to not preride the course in an attempt to stay warm and dry Anna and I got on the trainers under the tent. The snow continued to lightly fall around us and we watched muddy racers twist around the whirly course in front of our tent.

On the line I was determined to have a good start and I did manage to clip in right away and was near the front as we approached the barriers. After jumping back on the bike I struggled to get my shoes into my pedals. The snow and mud were already caked onto my cleats and I stomped my feet to try to clip in. Soon after the barriers came the steep muddy run up and the long off camber section. I struggled to dig my feet into the thick wet mud and hopped back on the bike hoping to ride the off camber. A few seconds later I was sliding through the mud after picking a bad line. I grabbed the bike which had slid further down the hill than I had, and ran. I hopped back on the bike and found my chain was off. I tried to stay on the bike and shift the chain onto the big ring but my lack of forward momentum made that impossible. I got off and put the chain back on relatively quickly but I was in almost dead last by this point. I also realized my seat was tweaked from my crash and was no longer pointing forward. I kept riding and took a bike change my first time through the pits. Now I was on bike #2 which had non mud tires. I tried to not worry about that and just get myself back into the race. The mud was really thick in some sections and I had lost whatever small amount of confidence I had about riding through it. I was hoping to make up some time on the long uphill but a few bad line choices forced me off the bike and running. It was tough to get back riding again on the climb and running felt slow and awkward. Back on over the top I struggled to get clipped in yet again and I knew the crazy muddy descent was right around the corner. It was steep! You picked up a lot of speed quickly and I was nervous about going over the bars. The brakes were hardly working and my muddy hands slipped on the levers. Still not clipped in I slipped out at the top and was off and running yet again. Back on the bike at the bottom and again my cleats and pedals would not connect. After beating my shoes on the pedals repeatedly I finally got clipped in. I switched bikes in the pit and the lap counter said two to go. Slow laps!!
Those next two laps were pretty much a repeat of the first one. I struggled on the short steep run up and ran the off camber section every time. I made it up the long uphill riding most of the way both times but my feet did not want to clip in. I did it once with only my right foot in the pedal. I ran down Mt. Krumpit once and finally on the last lap I managed to ride it.
You had to have no fear and just fly down and pick a good line. I had picked off a few riders but felt like I was pretty much at the back of the race. I was very muddy and my toes were going numb. It was a lot of fun riding in those conditions but I admit at the time I was pretty frustrated. I've got to figure out what to spray on my cleats and pedals to try to prevent the ice buildup. But the superfans on the hill were amazing. Always secretly hoping for a spectacular crash I'm sure, they were raucous and loud on every trip down. Congrats to Amanda Miller on a great race. She came away with the win and I heard she was riding the off camber and Mt. Krumpit as fast as anyone all day. It was fun to race against all of the great Midwest women that showed up for Jingle Cross I hadn't seen in awhile. I ended up 11th which I was surprised at. I felt like I was much further back and had I known I was closer to scoring some points I may have pushed a little harder that last lap. Anna also struggled in the mud and finished 14th.

After the bike race is over the race to get clean and warm begins. It's always a battle to try to contain the mud and prevent it from spreading throughout the van.
Anna and I cleaned up and watched most of the mens race from the van with the heat turned up. It took us awhile to stop shivering. Mark rode well and was able to finish in 5th. The drive home included some white out conditions in Iowa and snow covered roads. David was a great driver though and we made it home safe and sound. He did a great job in the pit and helping us out with our bikes all weekend. It was a huge help to have him around and his cleaning of the bikes and packing up after Sunday's race was soooo nice.

Here's a pretty cool video someone shot of Sunday's race

and a crash
I tweaked my back while shoveling snow on Monday and am considering skipping the Chicago race on Sunday. I have to say the several inches of snow and high of 22 degrees might also be playing into my decision! We'll see - the long range forecast for Nationals in KC is predicting a good chance of snow for my 30+ race on Friday with a high of 32. I may need the practice in Chicago! Thanks for reading!

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