Raleigh-Clement Team Faces the Grinch and Mt. Krumpit
Even though Christmas is six weeks away, the Raleigh-Clement Cyclocross Team spent the weekend at a holiday party that included mud, bikes, and the Grinch. That’s right, it was the annual Jingle Cross weekend in Iowa City, Iowa. What started as a small grass roots race with a Christmas theme has now grown into one of largest race weekends of the year, with 3 days of events, plenty of riffs on the story of the Grinch, and all profits donated to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.
Held on the Johnson County Fairgrounds, the 3 courses over 3 days all climb the feared Mt. Krumpit, a steep and unforgiving hill packed with spectators and slippery mud. Each day takes a different route up and down the hill, but there’s no easy way to overcome the Grinch’s lair.
The Raleigh-Clement team is on the tail end of a month-long tour of the midwest, having tested themselves in 10 races over 4 weekends from St. Louis, to Cincy, to Kentucky and now Iowa. Almost like a cyclocross stage race, the 3 days of Jingle Cross are a major physical challenge for the team, luckily there’s an omni-present dude running around in a Grinch costume to keep riders smiling.
The racing was tight and there would be no christmas gifts for the peloton. Top-ranked Katerina Nash won all 3 women’s races, showing no mercy as she trounced the field every time up Mt. Krumpit. Caroline Mani was consistent, finishing 9th, 7th, 9th on the 3 days. Teammate Rebecca Gross finished 16-14-19.
Ben Berden led the men’s team with rock-solid consistency placing 2nd, 2nd, and 3rd. Teammate Jamey Driscoll was 3rd, 6th, and 5th. Allen Krughoff went 6th and 10th, resting his legs on day 2. Jeremy Powers won days 1 and 2, with Tim Johnson taking day 3. After the races, Ben said matter-of-factly, “Every day there was somebody better. And my back hurts so bad from that stupid Mt. Krumpit!” (Hey Ben, we think you did pretty great!)
Singlespeed specialist Craig Etheridge was back with the team this weekend, and took 2nd and 3rd in the single speed races. “I’ve been prepping for Jingle Cross all year by listening to “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch,” while doing my intervals.” (Hey Craig, it sort of worked!)
The team takes a much needed rest from Mt. Krumpit next weekend, and will pick up the racing again at the end of the month in Los Angeles before heading north to Bend, Oregon where hopefully they’ll find some snow!