In my experience, Jingle Cross is either mud or frozen mud. This year was no different. Warmish temperatures made for a festival of mud. This, on top of three days of formidable courses and large field sizes, put GPCTCX racers to their toughest test yet.
|Race face. Awaiting go time. Photo: Jill Riese|
"Just finished the last race of the cyclocross season. Jingle Cross was an epic way to finish the season. Thanks to all of the good friends and teammates that made this season a total blast!"
Emmett made the most of his handling skills in the huge cat 4 fields and finished 34th on Friday night, then moving into the top 25 for Saturday and Sunday.
"Jingle Cross was muddy and nasty and hard and a hell of a lot of fun. Despite being frozen (my first race was scheduled right after sunset and I didn't expect the temperature to just drop like that) and a panicked few minutes in the pit clawing mud and grass from my general derailleur area, and some dropped chains all around... It was a really fun course (except for you Mt Krumpit I hate you) and I thought it was especially clever they routed us through the barns. But that much ankle deep sloppy mud?? Omg."
"Brought me a little Iowa mud home....ok, a lot!"
"Yowza! I was delusional when I registered for two races each day, and chose not to start the pro race on Friday and Saturday in order to conserve energy for the masters women 35+ overall win. The women's master races went off with the masters men, so that made it quite exciting to have over a 100 racers on the course at a time. It also made it challenging to keep track of where my competitors were, so I just rode and ran as hard as I could to get away from Robin Williams (Minnesota), Jadine Riley (Seattle), and Paula Burks and Shannon Greenhill from Georgia. It was so cool to have several strong riders in the masters race. Is is a sign of the growth of cyclocross? Might we someday have something similar to ferocious competition one sees in the men's masters fields? I hope so.
|Climbing Mt. Krumpet Friday afternoon. Photo: Jeff Corcoran|
After securing the overall win in the masters on Sunday, I went ahead and toed the line with the pro field that included the likes of Katerina Nash, Katie Compton, Kaitlin Antonneau, Amanda Miller, Elle Anderson, and basically who's who of US Women Pros. Of course, I never saw them on the course as they disappeared in seconds from those of us lined up on the last rows, but it was a fun race nonetheless. All 34 of us who started were committed competitors and no matter where you were in the field, you were racing - either trying to pass, defend a line, or keep your lead. It was pretty great.
The real heroes of the weekend were the folks in the pit, fighting their own races to grab bikes, get them cleaned off, and return to position before their rider came through. Without my fella, MFD, I would never have been able to get the wins I did. The mud was so heavy, that it necessitated bike changes every half a lap if possible. Jingle Cross took a team to do well and next year, GPCTCX will be doing pit training for everyone along with the rest of it!"
|Masters Nationals in Asheville, NC is up next - January 7! Photo: Paul Buchanan|