Jingle Cross Rock 2013- Iowa City, Iowa
Jingle Cross came to a surprise to me this year with only a week notice. Located in Iowa City, which is a 16-hour drive from Durango, Caleb and I had our work cut out for us to make it in time for Friday night’s race.
We were cutting it close showing up to the race with two hours to spare from the long drive. We met up with Andre Michaud and photographer David Greedy, who was hosting us in their house. The weather was grey, cold, and moist–just what you would think of a Belgian cyclocross race. The Cat 2 race started under the lights at 5:30. The one thing with larger races is that call up is very important and being based on registration date it look like I would be starting last row all weekend. 47 was my unlucky number and last row call up. Once the race got under way it was pretty hectic from the start with everyone wanting to move to the front. Once we hit the first long run-up about five guys passed my short legs and I knew riding it the next time would be the trick. After the first lap I had moved up into top 20. The race was only 40 min, which I’m use to a 60min race so it was on the short side. The run-up had three rail road ties into a 25-30% grade hill. Riding this was key and it allowed me to move up into the top 10 passing people running it every time up the hill. By the end of the race I sprinted it out with a guy and ended up in 12th. It was not a bad result from where I started but it’s far from where I wanted to be.
Saturday I was determined to have a good start. There was hill in the back that was about a minute climb that did not suit me well. Also, the descent on the second day was much more technical with three switchbacks that were balls to the wall, foot unclipped each turn. Chaos began from the start. The guy in front of me didn’t go anywhere on the gun and I ran right into his wheel forcing me to unclip and go down. 50yds after the start the group had about 25yd gap on me. This discouraged me from the beginning. Once I had moved up on the hill I was back in the top 15. BAM!!! Chaos once again on the descent with guys hitting the deck on the off camber decent. This left me with nowhere to go except over the bars and off course. After panicking and hurrying to get back on the bike I crashed getting on the bike. At this point I saw at least 8 guys pass me. This did nothing for me the rest of the race and I can say it was one of the most disappointing races of the season. Crashes and the lack of power in the legs I was now feeling the amount of races I had done since September.
Sunday I woke up to rain and puddles of water everywhere. Pre-riding the course was a complete mess and I loved it! Finally some mud this season! All the races in Colorado and NM have been dry grass crits! It was the last race and the day to leave it on the course. I took the right side of my last row call up, and on the gun I went straight up the side and into the top ten. It had started to rain on the start line and the gust of wind were up to 25 mph. The run-up I had rode on Friday was un ride able covered in thick mud. The mud was thick and made the race a complete Euro course with running and technical descending. The power I was missing the two days before and lack of stoke for races was back I moved up the whole race and never looked back. Everything went perfect; I had David pitting for me telling me how far I had moved up. All in all it was a great day finishing 10th. Not the best but with how I felt it could not have gone better.
I have to recommend this CX race weekend to everyone. Jingle Cross did an amazing job on the courses and Sunday was by far the best one of the weekend.
Back on the road for 16 hours to Durango, and super pumped that my stoke and legs are back! Thanks to the Greedy family for housing us, Andre for getting us to Jingle cross, Café of Life and Lotus Oasis Massage for getting me fixed up, and Colavita SW for sponsoring me this cyclocross season.
—James Rowan, Durango, CO