“Redemption,” Katerina Nash (Clif Pro Team) said with a smile after she crossed the line at Sunday’s Jingle Cross C1 race in Iowa City.
Nash was being a bit tongue-in-cheek, but after suffering a flat and having to work to finish in the top 10 at Saturday’s World Cup, getting a win on Sunday was a nice way to close the weekend at a venue Nash has always excelled at.
Early on in Sunday’s affair on an overcast afternoon, it looked like the race was going to be the RenoCross that never was after Nash’s early-race mistake in the Nevada desert. Early in the second lap, Nash and former teammate Maghalie Rochette (CX Fever p/b Specialized) went to the front with teammates Evie Richards (Trek Factory Racing CX) and Ellen Noble (Trek Factory Racing CX) chasing them.
The two rode together for the next two laps before Nash made her move in the fourth of six laps on Mt. Krumpit. She got a small gap on the run-up and after the descent off the steep hill, her advantage was starting to grow. By the end of the fourth lap, she had over 10 seconds on her former teammate.
For the last two trips around the abbreviated Sunday circuit, it was smooth sailing for Nash. Although it was not a World Cup win, she did go home with C1 points from a venue she very much likes racing at.
"I had a flat tire in the first lap yesterday and dropped way back and had to chase back, so I knew I had good legs," Nash said. "It’s nice to have a smooth race today."
Sunday’s race C1 race at Jingle Cross featured an impressive start list with many of the top North-America-based riders taking to the start line. Conditions at the Johnson County Fairgrounds were cool and overcast, with thick, tacky mud lurking throughout the course.
From the whistle, the Trek blue of Noble and Richards accelerated to the front into the large mud pit at the end of the start/finish straight. Early in the first lap, the surprise rider at the front was Australia’s Nat Redmond (Ozriders Cannondale SRAM), who sprinted through the Holly Jolly Hellhole off-camber and came out with over five seconds on the rest of the field.
Redmond’s lead lasted to the top of the Mt. Krumpit run-up, when Nash, Richards and Rochette took the lead position at the descent. At the end of the first lap, the trio had about seven seconds on Noble and Katie Compton (KFC Racing p/b Trek Knight).
Early in the second lap, Rochette and Nash continued to push the pace while Richards flagged a bit. The climb and descent of Mt. Krumpit helped set the state of affairs, with Rochette and Nash off the front, Richards chasing almost 10 seconds and Noble behind her.
"She’s not only a former teammate, but she’s also always going to be my friend," Nash said. "It’s been exciting to watch her take off this season and have all this success. It’s always fun to ride with Maghs."
Compton cracked on the run-up and left the race with another DNF during her Midwest swing.
At the beginning of the third lap, Richards hit her limit for U.S. trip, and Noble took over third while Saturday’s winner Kaitie Keough (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) chased behind her in fourth.
Nash Scores Her Jingle Redemption
Midway into Sunday’s race, the playing field was set. Nash and Rochette had nearly 30 seconds on Noble, who in turn was working to hold Keough at bay.
On the fourth lap, Nash made her move. She used the Mt. Krumpit run-up and descent to get a small gap on Rochette. Nash pressed her advantage on the back half of the course, and when the two women rolled through with two to go, Nash’s lead was 12 seconds.
"I felt good on the uphill, so after the run-up, I just kind of punched it and got a little gap and was able to extend it to the end," Nash said about her move. "Once you get a gap, you just kind of have to go full gas."
For the final two laps, Rochette did not have the extra gear to close Nash’s lead on the climby Jingle Cross course. Nash’s lead grew to 20 seconds at the bell, and she would not be challenged the rest of the way.
The win was Nash’s eighth win at Jingle Cross since 2013.
"As a mountain biker I always wish for shorter hills, as a cyclocrosser I always prefer longer hills, and then I discovered Jingle Cross and it’s just perfect," Nash said about the venue that has been good to her.
Rochette held on for second and her best result since her scorching start to the season in Rochester and Reno.
Behind the two leaders, Keough made contact with Noble after the Mt. Krumpit descent. The two stayed together for the next lap and hit the Mt. Krumpit climb together inside the bell lap.
Despite Keough’s running success on Saturday, Noble had more legs on Sunday and got a sizeable gap on the run up Mt. Krumpit and descent back down. She held on to take third for the afternoon.
After the race, Compton said she did not feel well the entire Midwest trip. She will be racing in Boulder at the U.S. Open of Cyclocross in two weeks and then heading to Europe on October 15.
Full results are below and photos are below.