Jingle Cross 2008 is in the books and I've got to say I'm glad it's over. Don't get me wrong, it's a great race and I always have a great time. But I was super stressed about reinjuring my shoulder and my overall fitness. I also have a real love/hate relationship with the course. I usually finish well and overall the course layout is great, but there is a ton of running and that hurts. It's all good until you have to go up, and up, and up. As you can see in the first picture Saturday's run up goes all the way to the top where those tiny people are standing. Then you get on your bike and continue to the top. Saturday I got a great start and was leading until Chris Wallace ran by me half way up the hill with a 2 laps to go. It must of looked like I had stopped to tie my shoe when he went by because he was gone by the top. Darn kids anyway..... In any case I was happy with 2nd, no bobbles to hurt the shoulder, just really tired legs from 2 weeks off the bike.
So Sunday we woke up to this......BRRRRRRRRRRR. At least we had the tents up to hide from the snow and keep dry.
Now if you were in the first 2 races the snow packed in the bike but it was just snow. After that it became mud, sloppy wet mud.
By time the 2-3 race went off the course looked like this all over. Sort of like last years Nationals without the ice underneath the mud. Troy and I got great starts and he let me get into the main line before he did to go into the first turn 1-2. After that the kaos began. While leading I crashed on a off camber hillside and slid down the hill on my butt. Got up in 3rd place and moved up to 2nd by the mud slide(see picture above). I got to the top of the slide with one slight problem. Still couldn't get clipped in after running up the hill(I thought I sort of/kind of)had one foot in. I also found out that carbon wheels loaded with mud do not brake so well. (yesterday I found that the cable slipped and I really didn't have a rear brake at all) So I start down the hill and I 'm really gaining speed, brakes are not working, not wanting to chance falling on my bad shoulder I tried to slide out up the hill side. It worked but now I'm sliding down the hill on my back dragging my bike behind me. I swear I was picking up speed on the way down. So I get back on my bike but I can barely hang on to the bars because of the mud on my gloves. I tried to wipe them off om my skinsuit but I had so much mud on me that it only made it worse. By the 2nd lap I had cleaned off my gloves enough that I could shift and actually rode a clean lap without crashing. I made up some time on second and third place riders and nearly caught them. 3rd lap, here we go again, I got clipped in this time but with no brakes I went for a major slide down the hill, but again I hung onto the bike so I didn't have to go back for it. I was still in 4th by time we started the 4th and final lap. By then all I cared about was riding clean and not falling. My gloves were soaking wet and my hands were frozen so I could barley shift but I managed not to fall and finished 4th.
Nate from Lincoln was behind me for 5th and teammate Troy was right
there for 6th. Chris Wallace rode a great race again and finished 2nd. Overall I'm pretty pleased with the results. I didn't lose too much fitness with the shoulder injury and I managed to get through the weekend with out re injuring myself. Controlled crashing has it's benefits, but I can't get over the memory of sliding down 3/4 of the hill on my back dragging my bike behind me. There are quite a few utube videos out there but sadly none of me. I wish I could see what it looked like but you can imagine it after you see some of the videos.
Here's the beginning of the climb on Sunday. At the point where you see the red snow fencing you had to get off and run two switchbacks, then get back on and ride to the top, all while trying to get the grass and mud out of your shoes so you can clip back in by the downhill.
It was that cold Sunday, it snowed all day. Even out in the grassy field it got muddy and slick.
So now it's Tuesday, cleaned the bikes yesterday( it took hours), had to replace a BB in one bike and recable the other, but now I'm ready to go. Bummer the Lawrence race got cancelled. Debating about a day at the Bubba Cross/MO State Champs instead.
After my white knuckle, black ice drive home from Iowa City I'm not very excited to hit the road. But today is only Tuesday, maybe by the weekend.