by Brian Morrissey
IOWA CITY, IA – Clouds and wind arrived as the Elite women staged in the starting grid, chasing away the spring-like sunshine enjoyed by the racers on Saturday. The final iteration of the Jingle Cross course was much dryer, however, and many riders even in the lower categories were riding up what previously was a muddy slog.
Both Todd Wells and Meredith Miller escaped early on in their respective races, each growing insurmountable gaps throughout the race to cross the line comfortably alone to complete hat tricks for the weekend. Planet Bike, however, was equally impressive on the teamwork front, posting a series-long podium presence in both fields.
High school senior Kaitlin Antonneau passed teammate Kristin Wentworth (both of Planet Bike) and got a gap of her own with two to go, taking it to the line for second place. Wentworth fended off yesterday’s podium finisher Linda Sone, also a Planet Bike teammate, for third while World’s road race silver medalist Rebecca Much of Chicago rounded out the top five.
The men’s field was blown apart before the first lap was in the books as the Wells brothers furiously attacked to get away early with Ryan Iddings clinging to their wheels like a pit bull. A very sick Troy Wells (CLIF) was unable to hold the pace, however, and was soon overtaken by the group of four behind. Soon huge gaps were growing between leader Todd Wells (Specialized), Iddings in pursuit and the hard-charging chase which included yesterday’s third place finisher Brian Matter.
While Todd Wells’ victory and Iddings’ second place were virtually assured with four to go, the battle for third riveted the crowd as Dave Towle’s iconic “onetogoonetogoonetogo!!!” call whipped them into a fervor. Matter led the chase group most of the way but was overtaken late by Mark Lalonde and Tristan Schouten.
Spectators lined the treacherous turns of Mt. Krumpit as racers clattered down as fast as they dared. One-two-three, out they came from the last barn, down the straightaway to the line, with Lalonde hanging on for third, Schouten in fourth and Matter for fifth.