Drew Coleman is a man of many talents. Two years ago, we took in his State of Cyclocross video shot on Super 8 film, and last year at Nationals, we enjoyed a photo gallery he put together after cleaning the Louisville mud from his equipment.
This past weekend, Coleman, who hails from Portland, took in his first Jingle Cross at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Iowa City. He reports back from the experience and has some images to show for all his running up and down the steep hill known affectionately as Mt. Krumpit.
by Drew Coleman
After a wild, storm-ridden, red-eye flight into Chicago and a long drive to Iowa City, I was filled with anticipation when I finally arrived at the Johnson County Fairgrounds. While I have ridden through Iowa City many times, I had never been to Jingle Cross itself. I only had what I had seen on TV and on Instagram and what I had heard from friends and clients who have raced over the years to go by, but I understood that it is a special race and a special course.
In fact, like the riders I was covering, I had been doing a lot of running in preparation for Mt. Krumpit which I understood to be an intimidating feature.
I had no idea.
Even with the prep work, Mt. Krumpit proved to be quite an effort to go up and down multiple times per race, over many races per day, over three consecutive days … but it was an effort well worth it. The racing was fantastic. Rarely do you get three consecutive races on three successive days that have UCI points on the line. Some riders raced all three days. Every day was a slugfest and the riders went deep.
The Friday Night race reminded me of those mid-week races we all have in our hometowns as it was a little more creative and fun. Even though points were on the line, the mood was light. Anytime you race through barns and stalls you have a unique event. Night starts have a way of keeping things fun and loose even when it is a UCI C2 event.
Saturday brought the first UCI World Cup race of the season and it was an event I won’t soon forget. A World Cup event is an exciting thing as it brings together most of the top riders from around the globe to face off. So many stars lined up on Saturday. Seeing that speed and power up close is breathtaking.
The Women’s race in particular was a special moment. Not only was the result in doubt until the final lap, but also one of the riders I was assigned to cover, American Clara Honsinger of Team S&M CX, found herself in the select group of three battling at the end.
She used one of the defining features of the World Cup course to her advantage by taking the right line through the sand when nearly every other rider went left. That tactical choice allowed her to move up through the field and overcome the chaos of the opening laps.
A late attack by Rochette on the run up Mt. Krumpit proved to be her undoing, but Clara joined a select group of Americans to find themselves on a podium of a World Cup race.
Saturday night brought a lightning and rain storm of Biblical proportions which ensured a dramatically different track than the day before even though it was the same course with one small change. All that rain meant mud and it meant that Midwest humidity on Sunday.
The final race of the weekend was a ride of attrition. The C1 was fast and complicated by new muddy sections for the riders to navigate. The humidity only compounded the difficulty and for those in their second or even third race the riders dig deep to survive. The finish line scene was very dramatic as riders collapsed again fencing or right there in the grass and dirt.
In the end, it was simply wonderful to be there and see the world-class riders up close. I left Iowa City exhausted but energized. Not much time to recover as round two begins this weekend in Waterloo.
For more photos from Coleman's weekend in Iowa City, see the gallery below.
Drew Coleman Photo Gallery: 2019 Jingle Cross Weekend