Nick Weighall showed no fear on the descent. © Michael McColgan

Nick Weighall showed no fear on the descent. © Michael McColgan

by Jim Lentfer and Cyclocross Magazine

Early arrivals were greeted by cloudy skies and green grass.  A festive crowd of hardy hecklers lined the upper parts of the course, braving the cold temperatures as eastern Iowa experienced its first taste of winter weather, with temps slowly climbing back up into the mid 30’s by race time.  Course conditions on the flats were dry as the pre-Thanksgiving rains had been cleared out by Thursday’s and Friday’s blustery winds.

The Summit Plummet flyover is unveiled.

The Summit Plummet flyover is unveiled.

A full slate of races fired off starting at 4pm in the afternoon, with most races including the elite riders relying on full course lighting.  The starting grid lined racers up on the paved parking lot, with the winners of the holeshot gaining the advantage under the flyover before slicing between (and sometimes through) the agricultural barns of the Johnson County Fairgrounds.  After the gravel corners near the SRAM pit, the racers were challenged to a taste of the slick climbs and descents of Mt. Krumpit, well known by locals as the home of the Grinch.  After a testy off-camber switchback descent that had many upper category riders (and even some Elites) on foot, the course wound though the finish straight and into the grass swirly, the Whoville Whirly and over the Summit Plummet flyover.

Racers and spectators came out for the nighttime party, and those who could not, followed Cyclocross Magazine’s community-based Jingle Cross live coverage feed.

A Race for Climbers or Downhillers?

In the women’s race, the season’s revelation Nicole Duke (Hudz – Subaru) continued her fast starts and used her past background as a downhill racer to quickly gap the field, including last year’s one-two finishers of Meredith Miller (Cal Giant)  and Kaitlin Antonneau (Planet Bike). But Miller, an accomplished road racer and no slouch on hills, attacked the climbs to remain close to Duke, while staying cautious on the downhills. Duke would keep her lead until a disastrous pit exchange, or lack thereof. Duke entered the pit lane to grab a new bike after what she thought was a softening rear tire, only to find no bike waiting for her. It’s happened to the best riders this year, after Sven Nys (see video here) and Katie Compton had similar experiences earlier this month. The big difference is that Duke, after realizing no bike was ready, tried to continue through the pit without dismounting or putting a foot down. This forced UCI officials to hold the rider until Meredith Miller and Duke’s teammate Amanda Miller came past.

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The women descend Mt. Krumpit

Duke tried in vain to regain her lead, but the damage was done, and entering the last lap, Meredith Miller attacked the climb and let loose on the descent to take another UCI win in her impressive season. Duke finished in second, and promises to contend for the Masters 35+ national championship in hopes of stealing it from her friend and defending champion Kerry Barnholt.  Amanda Miller, after crashing hard late in the race finished in third, with Antonneau in fourth.

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The women on the first lap

Twin Towers Resurface, Driscoll Soars

Real stadium lighting brightens the course and the mood. © Kristie Hancock

Real stadium lighting brightens the course and the mood. © Kristie Hancock

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Kona twin towers of Ryan Trebon and Barry Wicks tower above everyone on the podium, and for a brief moment, it looked as if the two lanky riders would regain their dominance.  Trebon and Wicks took to the front early, forcing defending Day 1 winner Todd Wells (Specialized / Cal Giant) and lone Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld rider Jamey Driscoll to chase. With the numbers in Kona’s favor, it was perfect opportunity to put Driscoll on the ropes with a one-two punch and after Wicks flew up the opening climb up Mt. Krumpit and descended with a gap, it looked like a Kona plan was in place. But nobody had planned for Trebon to crash badly on the descent, and the rider would pull out of the race citing a painful wrist and hopes of a better showing for Saturday’s C2 event and Sunday’s C1 race.

Behind Wicks, Driscoll, Clif Bar’s Troy Wells, Cal-Giant teammates Todd Wells and Nick Weighall and the Rapha – Focus teammates of Chris Jones and Zach MacDonald gave chase, and Driscoll soon showed he was the strongest of the group and floated up the climb to bring back Wells. Meanwhile, the youngsters of Weighall, Troy Wells and MacDonald were impressive, and appeared to use their youth to their advantage to descend Mt. Krumpit with reckless abandon. MacDonald and Weighall have competed in Super D, and their skills were put to good use on the slippery, steep descent.

Ryan Trebon started strong but crashed and pulled out. © Michael McColgan

Ryan Trebon started strong but crashed and pulled out. © Michael McColgan

Driscoll would leave Wicks behind to take his first UCI win of the season and cement the top two podium positions, but a surprising Jones would catch and pass a fading Weighall in the final laps for the final podium spot.

Saturday and Sunday promise even more action as almost 1200 total registered racers gather for three days of Seuss-themed racing to benefit the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. Warmer temps Sunday will be a welcome relief for the Single Speed Speedos who will be sure to bring out the ornery Grinch from his restful lair for even more ‘cross mischief.

If you can’t attend the fun, stay tuned to our live community-based coverage of Jingle Cross Day 2 and 3.

Photo Gallery:

Full Results:

Elite Women:

Rank Name Nat. Age* Result
1 Meredith MILLER USA 38 44.11
2 Nicole DUKE USA 37 44.21
3 Amanda MILLER USA 25 45.21
4 Kaitlin ANTONNEAU USA 19 46.00
5 Amanda CAREY USA 33 46.00
6 Lisa CURRY USA 30 46.27
7 Kari STUDLEY USA 31 46.29
8 Ashley JAMES USA 21 46.36
9 Teal STETSON-LEE USA 25 46.36
10 Devon HASKELL USA 30 47.23
11 Samantha SCHNEIDER USA 21 47.34
12 Linda SONE USA 39 47.40
13 Robin WILLIAMS USA 32 48.59
14 Brittany MCCONNELL USA 29 49.00
15 Corey COOGAN USA 34 50.52
16 Catherine WALBERG USA 49 51.04
17 Darcy SANFORD USA 37 51.59
18 Emily THURSTON USA 34
19 Jeanne FLECK USA 46
20 Emma BAST USA 25

Elite Men:

Rank Name Nat. Age* Result
1 James DRISCOLL USA 25 58.07
2 Barry WICKS USA 30 58.25
3 Christopher JONES USA 32 58.38
4 Nicholas WEIGHALL USA 24 58.52
5 Troy WELLS USA 27 59.19
6 Todd WELLS USA 36 59.22
7 Zach MCDONALD USA 20 59.34
8 Mark LALONDE USA 29 59.36
9 Brian MATTER USA 33 59.48
10 Mitch HOKE USA 23 59.53
11 Jake WELLS USA 33 59.53
12 Jack HINKENS USA 20 01:00.1
13 Bryan FAWLEY USA 26 01:01.4
14 Cody KAISER USA 19 01:02.2
15 Chris HURST USA 21 01:02.6
16 Mike SHERER USA 25 01:03.3
17 Kevin MCCONNELL USA 30 01:03.3
18 Joseph SCHMALZ USA 21 01:03.3
19 John CURRY USA 30 01:04.1
20 Ryan IDDINGS USA 27 01:04.4
21 Michael HEMME USA 32 01:04.6
22 Kevin FISH USA 19 01:05.1
23 Andrew COE USA 30
24 Christian HELMIG GER 30
25 Tristan SCHOUTEN USA 29
26 William STOLTE USA 41
27 Peter HURST USA 26
28 Oliver VRAMBOUT USA 37
29 Adam MILLS USA 32
30 Mike KENNEDY USA 36