Race day at Jingle Cross Rock

jingle-cross-rock-cyclocross-2008-001

Saturday was my second-ever cyclocross race. Compared to the first one, I did great. Compared to my competition, I sucked. Big time.

But that’s the beauty of cyclocross. Anyone can enter, and no matter how you do, there’s tons of support–from the crowd, from the officials, even your fellow racers.

The Jingle Cross Rock cyclocross race is set up so that there’s ample opportunity to see a lot of action from any given area, but especially on Mount Krumpit. (Here’s the map of my race; they changed it all around the next day.)

At the starting line, we waited about 10 minutes before taking off. In that time, I could hear a lot of hissing–people were letting air out of their tires to soften them for better traction. Me, I had pumped mine pretty full in hopes that they’d roll faster over what I thought was frozen ground. I thought I’d be fine, but as I heard more hissing, I decided to quickly let some air out of my front tire, as that was all I could reach. And I was very scared that the race would start while I was still releasing air.

Well, I hadn’t let out enough. I slid all around during the race course, which was already thawing and getting beaten up by the previous race, not to mention all the people who were practicing on the course.

As the race took off, I tried to stay with the group but saw many people getting by me, including one guy who gently but firmly nudged his way between me and someone next to me. I didn’t fall, but it was unnerving. I usually feel more comfortable riding my myself rather than as part of a big pack, and in this race that meant being in back. And it was still a pretty fast pace for me, if I was going to maintain it for 35-40 minutes.

But people still cheered me and everyone else, no matter what.

On the steep run-up to Mount Krumpit, the race official at the top cheered everyone who came up. He had plenty of time to encourage me, as I had to walk up, in the mud, carrying my bike. (That’s what everyone does; some get up there faster than others, and I’m pretty sure they all got up there faster than me.)

As I got lapped on the course, more than once whoever was passing me said “Keep going man!” as he sped my. “Thanks,” I panted back. And cycling etiquette still existed. “On your left,” I’d hear, and I’d veer to the right, to hear a “Thanks” as the guy sped by.

And in one area that required a short climb up a steep bank, I lost my momentum and had to put a foot down. The guy behind me, who I’m sure wouldn’t have had a problem riding through the area, had to wait. “Sorry,” I said. “That’s OK,” he said with a smile, as I took a wide turn on the bank to let him pass.

This happened in many spots, as I could hear or see someone coming up behind me on the many twists and turns. I took a wide turn so that the person could get by.

And it was great to have a little cheering section of my own, though they probably had a lot of down time between chances to see me. My wife Megan was there, along with my co-worker Michelle (who also raced) and Emily (who came out to watch).

Leading up to this race, I had done a decent amount of training at our local county fairgrounds. My own little “course” that I designed actually had a lot of similarities to the real race course: run-ups, areas where I had to hop off my bike, deep gravel/sand areas and lots of twists and turns.

The actual race, however, had all these things times about three or four, in terms of quantity, length of tough areas, difficulty and scariness!

And I raced on Saturday, which was before about 2 inches of snow fell, making the race course a complete mud bath.

Here’s some videos others already have posted comparing how the days looked:

Saturday: (thanks BJ Smith!)

Sunday: (thanks whoever made this one!)

And thanks Michelle for sending me the links!

Here are some pics I took of the day’s action:

 

Me before my race

Me before my race

Running over the hurdles

Running over the hurdles

Walking up the REALLY steep stuff...

Walking up the REALLY steep stuff...

Trust me when I say these guys are running up the hill and going WAY faster than I am!

Trust me when I say these guys are running up the hill FAST!

Here's the start of the elite men's race. Guy wearing the blue GT uniform (just right of center) is Todd Wells, a former U.S. champion. He lost to his brother Troy (who's at his left), and they both blew the field away.

The start of the elite men's race. They do go up that hill behind them!

I also plan to make a video of Saturday’s races at some point myself. Thanks for reading!

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~ by davidllee on December 2, 2008.

5 Responses to “Race day at Jingle Cross Rock”

  1. The race was definitely not easy but it sure was a great experience. It’s funny how you forget the pain shortly after you finish. Right? There’s always next year for some more ‘pure, sweet, hell’.

  2. Heck yeah! I think the most painful part was how much it costs to race. I’d be more inclined to race more than once during the event if it didn’t cost so much.

  3. […] did Jingle Cross for the first time last November. You can read all about how tough it was for me here. And here’s some video of the race from fellow cycling enthusiast […]

  4. […] suffering through last year’s JingleCross Rock, where I came in second-last (to a guy who ran while carrying his broken bike) I made it a point to […]

  5. […] suffering through last year’s JingleCross Rock, where I came in second-last (to a guy who ran while carrying his broken bike) I made it a point to […]

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