The 2016 Jingle Cross weekend offers three levels of UCI racing for Elite cyclocross racers, with Friday night's C2 event, the World Cup on Saturday (watch live here) and a C1 on Sunday. The question was, who would race on Friday, and risk using up energy, or crashing, before Saturday's World Cup?
Points, Practice and Promotion
Racers making the trip to Iowa City varied in their approach to the three days of racing. Some coveted a chance to bag C2 points, get in an "opener" for the World Cup, or just reward the promoter and fans for hosting three straight days of racing. Newly retired Ryan Trebon is a fan of this approach:
However, a quick glance at the start list or results reveals that most of America's top racers, including Jeremy Powers, Stephen Hyde, and Jamey Driscoll, opted to stay clean, dry and rested heading into the second U.S. World Cup. In the men's race, Curtis White (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld), teammates Danny Summerhill and Travis Livermon (Maxxis Shimano) and the ageless Jonathan Page (Fuji) all took to the start despite the heavy conditions.
The decision to rest or "open" the legs depended on whose legs were in question, and also perhaps a rider's desire to reacquaint himself with mud. Summerhill explained his rationale, "I don’t even think that my legs were fresh to begin with so I figured I may as well try open them up tonight and hold on for dear life tomorrow basically and see what Sunday brings. It could have gone two ways, use today as a rest day but...coming from [Tour of] Alberta, I’m on this fine line of just being real tired. I’m already fairly tired so once this weekend is over, I think next week is just going to be sleeping the whole time, trying to recover that way. I didn’t want to be here and be in my room wishing ‘hey why aren’t I racing tonight.’ So I’m glad that Travis and I obviously raced and just got a feel for mud again. I haven’t raced mud in a long time."
"I didn’t want to be here and be in my room wishing ‘hey why aren’t I racing tonight.’ So I’m glad that Travis and I obviously raced and just got a feel for mud again. I haven’t raced mud in a long time" -Summerhill on his decision to race Friday's UCI C2 event.
At 40 years old, some might think Page would value recovery time after racing CrossVegas and before Saturday's World Cup, but the upside of competing on Friday was a good chance of landing in the UCI points, as he did in 2015.
Some could argue the same about White, that being just 21 years old, he shouldn't be burned out with a ton of volume. White and his team had an opposite view. "I’m young, I’m developing as a rider and I want to race as much as possible," White explained. He also hinted at sharing former teammate Trebon's philosophy. "It was a fantastic race. Why not? The atmosphere under the lights...you don’t get to do that very often."
"I’m young, I’m developing as a rider and I want to race as much as possible." -White
Of course, a bit of prize money never hurt for motivation for any racer not expecting to contest for overall World Cup placings, but most European racers stayed indoors on Friday night, with just ninth-placed Antonin Marcecaille from France being the other European race to take the start. All but three of the 41-rider field were from North America.
Fighting for a Sloppy Second
All four Americans' decision and risk taking paid off, as all landed in the top five, but on Friday night, they were upstaged by a similarly-risk-taking German in Marcel Meisen (Steylaerts-Verona). Meisen is no stranger to top-level cyclocross, racing World Cups, winning the German National Championship, finishing ninth overall in the Superprestige series in 2013 and (perhaps his least-known claim to fame) was the most consistent racer of the entire men's field in Tabor at the 2015 Cyclocross World Championships.
Meisen, unlike the Americans giving chase, did not race CrossVegas, and made the trip from Germany just for the Jingle Cross event. The German wanted to get his money's worth, and it showed early on in the race. The German pressed forward up Mt. Krumpit and through the heavy, muddy course, putting 30 seconds into most of his competitors with only White, Summerhill and 2016 Junior National Champion Gage Hecht keeping him within sight. Just one lap down, Page and Livermon were a whopping 34 seconds in arrears.
On lap two, Meisen, warmed up from his first lap effort, put on an impressive display to distance the rest, and in the process set the fastest lap of the day and showed everyone his Iowa City trip was serious business. It quickly became a race for second.
Behind, White and Summerhill were locked into a battle for the silver medal, while Hecht would slowly fade. Summerhill put together some impressive lap times, passing White on the fourth of seven laps, looked to have second locked up until White found his second win with two to go and reconnect.
"Marcel was kind of another level today, above us," White recalled. "I know that I would kind of implode if I tried to stick with him too long so he went up the road. Danny came up to me and he ended up passing me with about four to go. I just tried to ride my own race, it’s one of those courses that you need to ride within yourself. He started getting away from me for a bit and I brought him back on the last lap, caught him just by the pits. He and I had a couple quick exchanges, and then I attacked going up Mt Krumpit and I think that was the gap all the way to the finish."
Summerhill did his best to hold his position, but he was taking on water and used any means necessary to stay above White. "I don’t think [Curtis] saw what I did to him coming into the pits because he lit me up, like a bat out of hell on the straights before the pit, and I knew that if he got much space on me, he was going to hold it to the finish," Summerhill admitted. "So I surged and totally chopped him going into the pit like a motocross race and that was fun for sure. Curtis is a good guy and I know that he knew that it was racing. At that point, we were having fun, we were both on the podium. Rubbin' is racing."
"So I surged and totally chopped him going into the pit like a motocross race and that was fun for sure...Rubbin' is racing." -Summerhill on his battle with White
A Race for Youth, and Mechanics
The race was also an opportunity for non-World Cup racers like Gage Hecht (Alpha Bicycle / Vista Subaru) to strut his stuff.
The first-year U23 racer showed his maturation, with a fast start and consistent race until the last lap, when the young racer would be passed by Yannick Eckmann (Boulder Cycle Sport/Yogaglo) and Livermon.
In the pits, the competition for power washers was fierce as well. Many racers were pitting every half lap, making for repeated sprint workouts for the pit crew.
Full photo gallery below the results.
2016 Jingle Cross Day 1 UCI C2 Results - Elite Men
|2||3||WHITE||Curtis||Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.||USA||22||1:03:04||15|
|5||5||LIVERMON||Travis||Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross||USA||29||1:05:27||2:38|
|6||11||ECKMANN||Yannick||Boulder Cycle Sport/ Yogaglo||USA||24||1:05:34||2:45|
|7||41||HECHT||Gage||Alpha Bicycle Company - Vista S||USA||19||1:06:22||3:33|
|8||8||LINDINE||Justin||Apex / NBX / Trek||USA||33||1:06:27||3:38|
|9||19||MARECAILLE||Antonin||AVC aix en provence||FRA||25||1:06:45||3:56|
|12||22||HILDEBRANDT||Casey||The Underground Project||USA||23||1:10:45||7:56|
|13||25||DRUMMOND||Chris||SPCX p/b RK Black||USA||35||1:11:26||8:37|
|14||18||FIX||Brannan||Alpha Bicycle Company - Vista S||USA||20||1:11:56||9:07|
|15||15||KAISER||Cody||LangeTwins / Specialized||USA||25||@2Laps|
|17||23||THOMPSON||Eric||HED p/b Molten Speed Wax||USA||28||@2Laps|
|18||20||LASLEY||Jacob||SPCX pb RK Black||USA||40||@3Laps|
|19||54||POSTIER||Dylan||Renewed Professional Cyclocross||USA||26||@3Laps|
|21||10||AITKEN||Christopher||Focus Attaquer CX Team||AUS||23||@3Laps|
|22||48||CLOUTIER||Tyler||Renewed Professional Cyclocross||USA||28||@3Laps|
|23||64||MCCONNELL||Kevin||Iowa City Cycling Club||USA||36||@3Laps|
|24||47||BAUMHOVER||Brian||University of Iowa Heart and Va||usa||32||@3Laps|
|25||49||DUTCZAK||Michael||The Pony Shop||USA||24||@3Laps|
|26||59||REYES||David||Ten Speed Hero||USA||33||@3Laps|
|28||16||BRADFORD-PARISH||Kevin||SET/coaching Giro ScratchLabs||USA||35||@4Laps|
|30||24||MACKEY||Skyler||KCCX Elite Cyclocross Team||USA||22||@4Laps|
|31||60||THOMPSON||Caleb||CRC-SCOTT-2ND AVE SPORTS||USA||34||@4Laps|
|32||57||SUNDQUIST||Christian||The Hub Cycling Team||USA||25||@4Laps|
|33||52||DILGER||Connor||Above and Beyond Cancer Cycling||USA||23||@4Laps|
|34||62||RUSS||Kyle||Brazen Dropouts Cycling Team||USA||31||@4Laps|
|35||44||REEVES||Matthew||Cyclesmart Grassroots Team||USA||31||@5Laps|
|36||55||GLASS||Elwood||ALL-CITY x BLACK HAND COFFEE CO||USA||32||@5Laps|
|37||51||BICKMORE||Cade||MARIAN UNIVERSITY CYCLING TEAM||USA||19||@5Laps|
|38||45||WALKER||Jason||Peet's Coffee Racing||USA||46||@5Laps|
|DNF||46||LOUDER||Stu||ALL-CITY x BLACK HAND COFFEE C||USA||32|
|DNF||17||CHAPMAN||Tom||Focus Attaquer CX||AUS||22|
|DNF||21||O'DONNELL||Trevor||Real Deal D'Ornellas p/b Garnea||CAN||21|
|DNS||4||VANDEKINDEREN||Jens||Kalas-H.Essers-Nnof cycling tea||BEL||24|
|DNS||12||MCCONNELL||Mark||Hot Sauce Cycling x Garneau||CAN||29|
|DNS||53||KLUCK||Jeff||Queen City Cycling||USA||37|