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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Jingle Cross - Day 1

What a weekend! Seeing the course all set up, with team buses, rv’s, and tents everywhere as we arrived at the fairgrounds on Friday was really cool, I was a little mesmerized. Aaron and I had spent a few 6+ hour workdays at the fairgrounds, helping to get things prepped for the race. While many others had spent far more time putting the course together than we did, we still felt a sense of pride as the huge weekend of racing was getting ready to unfold.

I had made sure to sign up for the race within minutes of registration opening and got a spot on the front row (Friday was staged in order of registration for non UCI races). Last year there had been about 25-30 racers in the women’s Cat 2/3 race, making starting position pretty important. This year there were around 40 ladies signed up for the race, making the front row starting position even bigger of an advantage!

Start Line - Friday Night - Photo By Brittany McConnell

At the gun, we took off and I was pretty astonished to find myself in the front 3-4 riders going down the start/finish straightaway. I’m going to go ahead and accept that I’ve gotten pretty darn good at starts! We turned the first corner and headed to the “Yule Logs” a series of several logs to run over. I remounted (without a stutter-step, I might add) and made my way down the south side of the course. There was a really nice flow to a particular section that headed east toward the road before jutting back to the west and to the muddy section. I found that I could make up time on riders in this section throughout the weekend. I think my mountain bike skills kicked in here with my love of all things fast and flowy!

After going over the flyover, we headed toward the big hill climb. During pre-ride, I had made it over the three railroad ties at the beginning of the hill and partially up it, so I decided to give riding it a try in the race. I really do try to avoid running as much as possible! I cleared the railroad ties and made it up, maybe a third of the way to the first plateau and my rear wheel slipped, forcing me to dismount and shoulder the bike the rest of the way. I had already lost a few positions before the run up, and my not so pretty dismount probably cost me more time than if I would have just ran the whole way up – but I had to give it a try! Last year I couldn’t even make it over all the railroad ties, let alone any distance up the hill.

Going of the Flyover - Photo by Mauro Heck

Once at the top, I was able to remount and was rewarded with a spectacularly fun and ripping fast downhill section, then on to the barriers, sandpit/barn and the remainder of the course.

On the third lap, I made it to the steep climb by the bleachers right behind a group of 5-6 girls. I was hoping to maybe pass a few, since I knew I could ride it, while many couldn’t quite make it to the top. I ended up getting stuck right behind a couple riders who had to dismount, forcing me to dismount as well. I didn’t end up making a big pass like I hoped for. I’m kicking myself for not picking a better line, since I had already anticipated at least a couple wouldn’t make it up.

On the fourth and final lap I decided to dismount before the railroad ties for the long run up and my fourth lap ended up being my fastest. Imagine that! As I was nearing the last section of course before the straighaway to the finish, I heard my parents cheering for me. I was excited they had made it, since I hadn’t seen them before the start. When I crossed the finish line I really had no idea how I did. There were so many ladies, plus a ton of guys on the course at the same time. Once results were posted, I saw my name 14th on the list! That is several places better than I did last year, and with more riders! Doing well made me eager for Saturday’s race!

Full Results

Video of Jeremy Powers & Ben Berden bunny hopping the barrier Friday night, which the chase group following behind, so cool to see in person!

Jean & I with Ben Berden & Nicole Duke at Thursday's Meet the Pro's Event

Jeremey Powers, Ben Jacques-Maynes, John Meehan (race promoter), Amanda Miller, Nicole Duke,  Ben Berden. These pro's were nice enough to partcipate in the Meet the Pro's event, signing autographs and posing for photos.


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