Three UCI cyclo-cross races were held in the United States this past weekend, all three part of the Holiday extravaganza that is JingleCross Rock in Iowa City, Iowa. The course is replete with references to Dr Seuss' The Grinch from the run-up-it to Mt. Krumpit where spectators can see over 90% of the race from atop the craggily peak to a green painted sand-filled scale house aptly named the Grinch's Lair and log barriers known as Yule Logs.
European Champion Helen Wyman (Kona) dominated the elite women's races, almost leading from start to finish each day while the Cannondale p/b cyclocrossworld.com team swept the elite men's races, with Tim Johnson taking two to Jamey Driscoll's one victory.
After years of a muddy slip and slide, conditions were dry and fast on the venue though the late racing on Friday night delivered some icy and slick spots. Wyman took control in the first lap and was off for the first win while the real battle was between Julie Krasniak (Rapha-Focus) and Jade Wilcoxson (Optum p/b KBS) for second place. Krasniak made her move on the final climb to take second.
After his teammate crashed out, Driscoll took control in the elite men's race with Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus) chasing in second also solo. Behind Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement) and the third member of Cannondale p/b cyclocrossworld.com member, Ryan Trebon were fighting it out for the last spot on the podium in which Berden prevailed. Leader early in the race, Johnson crashed hard on his knee and was forced to pull out to seek medical attention.
Wyman did it again in Saturday's race, pulling away on the climb early on with Optum p/b KBS teammate Amanda Miller and Carmen Small chasing together. The two crossed the line together with Miller taking second. Johnson came out swinging, proving that his knee was fine and that the legs seemed to be back. The veteran took the lead of the select group that separated itself from the field and then attacked mid-way through the race to claim the victory, his first this season. Trebon took second and Berden, third.
Wyman made it a clean sweep on Sunday's C1 race, taking the holeshot and then powering away from the field. In a somewhat familiar story now, Krasniak who had to get medical attention to her knee after crashing the previous day, took up the chase solo to claim second place. Miller was third. No one was able to take control in the lead group in the third and final elite men's race, though many tried to power away on the climb. Finally, an attack stuck and Johnson was away with three laps to go. Driscoll soloed to second place while Berden was third. Trebon pulled out of the race.