Stories From The Saddle

Jingle Cross Rock – Chamois Butt’r

This past weekend was the 10th annual Jingle Cross Rock in Iowa City, Iowa. Jingle Cross Rock is a three day cyclocross (off road bicycling discipline) festival directed by John Meehan, a doctor

The Grinch!

The Grinch!

who specializes in robotic surgery. On top of being a surgeon and a race director, John is also the team physician at Bissell Pro Cycling, a team that we worked with in 2013. All proceeds from the event are donated to the Childrens Hospital of Iowa. Held on the Johnson County Fairgrounds with a Christmas theme Jingle Cross has lots of interesting features you don’t always see at a typical cross race. Some examples include yule tide logs for riders to run over, long sandpits through barns, tight turns through horse stables, the infamous Mt. Krumpit and of course The Grinch himself popping up in unexpected places.

I drove up to Iowa City early on Friday to get the lay of the land and have plenty of time to warm up before my race. This was my first Jingle Cross so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. As soon as I parked I was greeted by some familiar faces – Chamois Butt’r champion Justin Bowes and Chamois Butt’r sponsored Half Acre Cycling rider Andrea Devine. It didn’t take me long to find KC’s own Chamois Butt’r spornsored rider Bill Marshall either. Followed almost immediately by a Brook Watts (CX Vegas promoter) run in. I knew I’d be among friends! After chatting for a few minutes it was time to kit up and get a few laps in on the course. As previously mentioned this course had a lot of really fun (hard) features that required (most) riders to get on and off the bike countless times per lap. It was challenging even at warm up pace. Soon it was time to head to the line for the start of the Geoff’s Bike & Ski Cat 3 Men’s Race. Having registered late, my position in the starting grid was almost all the way at the back. I knew I was going to have my work cut out for me if I ever expected to see the front of the race – I didn’t, but it was still fun. Racing under the lights with a huge crowd is always a treat!  One of the unique things about cyclocross is that fans are more inclined to cheer you on regardless of whether you are first, last or anywhere in between. There is definitely a party atmosphere at a cross race – exemplified perfectly on top of Mt. Krumpit (the Dr. Suess themed hill in the center of the venue is utilized in a number of different ways. Each day was different, and seemingly harder than the day before). So after my race it was up Mt Krumpit I climbed to partake in the revelry with a huge crowd of screaming fans, a DJ and Deschuttes Brewery (many of whose products ended up in Chamois Butt’r Koozies)!

Saturday we woke up to cloudy skies and strong winds. Cold weather riding in store, on went the eurostyle® embrocation. I got to the course and immediately set up the trainer so I could warm up without having to fight the wind, on went the Chamois Butt’r®. Rain was clearly going to be a factor as well.

In addition to racing on Saturday I had some business to attend to. Our good friends at Optum Pro Cycling p/b KBS would be graciously hosting myself and photographer Wil Mathews for a post-race photo shoot to highlight our eurostlye® Sports Skin Wash. Riders Jeremy Durrin and Tristan Schouten along with staff members Mike Gavagan and Evan Mumford welcomed us graciously. The weather definitely played in our favor, conditions were perfect for mud and allowed us to highlight the cleaning benefits of the product. If you haven’t checked it out yet, click here.

Perhaps the highlight of the day was the Grinch’s Kids Race. These kids were super excited and easily as entertaining as the Pro’s. The race was free for the kids and each participant received a gift as photo(4)they exited the course back into Whoville.

Shortly after the kids race it was time to find a strategic spot to watch the elite men’s and women’s races. The most popular spot on course was again on Mt Krumpit. Instead of watching riders run up an incredibly steep and muddy pitch, we were watching the riders descend an equally steep side of the hill. There were three muddy switchbacks on the decent, which was more fun to watch than ride!

I cannot over state how much fun Jingle Cross was, and I have been to a LOT of cycling events. There was literally something for everyone – men, women, children, riders, fans…you name it. Dates for 2014 were just announced (November 14,15 and 16). I recommend making your plans now, I know I will.

Optum riders Jeremy Durrin and Tristan Schouten cool down after Saturday's race.

Optum riders Jeremy Durrin and Tristan Schouten cool down after Saturday’s race.

Jeremy Powers, Ben Berden & Jamie Driscoll. Friday night podium.

Jeremy Powers, Ben Berden & Jamie Driscoll. Friday night podium.

Crowds atop Mt. Krumpit Friday night.

Crowds atop Mt. Krumpit Friday night.

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