JINGLE CROSS ROCK
A kick ass day…..
Heading to the start I had a plan for top 15… There were tons of fast regional guys looking for UCI points and I wasn’t 100% sure who was who. Tons of individuals decked out in different kits. I guess if you put a UCI race in IOWA….just like field of dreams….They will come.
Everyone looked fast… I wanted to PUKE.. I was Nervous as a virgin on prom night.
I hade a solid start. 2nd row behind WELLS, TILFORD, Jac MAYNES. And tons of other guys that are faster than me. I wasn’t quite as aggressive as I needed to be off the line. I don’t think I gave any spots up, but I didn’t really move up. I hesitated a bit… WE were going so fast into the first turn moving up just looked like a bad idea. I was in 12th or 15th??????? Not really sure. After the first few turns it got super strung out. We were flying down a long straight into a slight head wind. The path was smooth and the grass was SLOW. So trying to move up was pretty hard. Going into the barriers I had a pretty clean line and moved up 3-4 spots. After the barriers I was about 6 meters behind the leaders. We went uphill into this off camber section. Someone went down. DAMN…. Slammed on the brakes… jumped off the bike…. My mind was just screaming… I could barely see…..5 maybe 10… but it felt like 50 riders went by … I jumped on the bike only to jump back off and run a bit more then JUMP back on….. I felt pretty silly. There was a HUGE run-up coming so I knew I had to put down the hammer and try to get back in the game. I dismounted early so I could avoid and chaos at the first LOG… It worked… Several riders were grabbing there bikes and I already had mine on my shoulder. I moved to the right and had a clean line on the hill. I think I took back most of the spots I had lost, but the leaders were GONE…… completely gone…. Now……. I don’t think I could have HUNG with the WELLS brothers………. but I was amped to try my hand in the 2nd group… They had 10 seconds easy and I wasn’t strong enough to jump across a gap to riders that are stronger. I topped out the hill and was in a group of 5-6 riders. So there were 5 guys up ahead and were going to battle it out for the scraps. I felt great. I don’t know why but I felt calm and super relaxed today nothing felt that hard. It was an incredible feeling. After a few laps it was down to ME, TILFORD, and a CLIFF Bar U-23 rider… I tried a few times to get away but they were to strong to just let me ride away.. I felt faster on the flats and the runs… but the technical spots they would just close the gap…..
Long story short…. I wanted TOP 15…. I was dreaming of a top 10… I ended up 8th… If I hadn’t gotten shoved into the tape on the last corner ………..I would have had a great shot at 6th… a killer ride for me regardless. Normally, Tilford beats me by a few minutes, I felt strong the entire hour. It felt great… The course kicks ass for me. Lots of grass and a huge run.
I love cross…damn I really loved it today… I hurt a ton on the hill and smiled the whole way… It sucked… but damn I really love it………… Today was one of those days that you realize how lucky we are that a few weird EURO’s invented cyclocross.
EPIC… SNOW yeah… snow….. winter weather watch was in FULL force. It was 33 degrees so the snow made just the right type of SLOP…. The good thing was,,, it wasn’t sticking to the bike or tires……… so at least it didn’t jack up the bike.
Today I had a better start. I gave it just the right gas before going into the corner……. …………but DAMN I took myself down coming out of it……… Bummer ……… I went from 4th or so to 15th pretty quick…Definitely my fault. It was so slick I just needed to slow a bit more than I did. The corners were just awful all day…. It was snowing hard and the mud was a few inches deep. You couldn’t hook up because the ground was hard underneath. At least I couldn’t. The great thing today was the long “RIDE up” turned into a “RUN up”… I felt great running again today. The hill felt easy… The problem wasn’t the climb…. The decent was epic. It was so slick and fast………. I was gripped. I could survive it but couldn’t let it fly…..I moved up to 6th after the first big RUN….. I felt great. But the rest of the day was about survival for me….. the guys that were riding fast in the slop would kill me on the technical sections. I could close the gap on the RUN…. Then it would open up again… I only drifted back 3 spots so that was pretty good. I couldn’t even hang with the guys that came around me. I tried but they were INCREDIBLE…. I have incredible respect for the riders that can just hammer on that crap… The second I try to ride that fast I end up on my ass…… so survival was the key… by the time I got to the finish line I was so damn cold I couldn’t feel any parts on my body… I dropped the bike and ran to the shower… The hot water was more painful than the cold…. For the first 5 minutes it hurt worse than the race. It was like an extra lap of PAIN… I wasn’t even moving and I hurt more than I had the entire hour. I curled in the corner of the shower till my hands stopped throbbing…. I felt like hammers slamming into them….I invited another rider in as I sat shaking… he had to think I was freak…. Here is a guy in full kit… sitting in the corner covered in MUD curled into a ball…. It was all I could do to not stay conscience.
So the weekend pretty much kicked ass……. 8th and 9th are just great rides for me... I can imagine a few spots higher....but I also can see where I could have gone back a few spots had things not worked out also. So I am amped at 2 top 10 rides.... It is hard to put 2 good days together under totally different conditions. Just being consistent makes me realize I am fit and riding the bike well.
I had a blast…the course is incredible and the IOWA crowd is just rad. I can’t wait for 2009….. I will be back….
Thanks to the guy who lent me the pit wheel and thanks to the entire staff who made this race incredible. It is the highlight of my year…..
HERE IS some video I took while running the course and watching the first LAP of the womans UCI race. This gives you an idea how SLICK it was. First lap and people could barely stand up or ride. These girls are bad asses and most of them KILLED the downhill.... It was impressive. I only wish I could have ridden the downhill like the first girl in the video.