An intrepid crew of 5 Team Group Health racers journeyed to Iowa City, IA to race in the 3 day Jingle Cross Pro Cyclocross Race Dec 4-6. Jingle Cross has a reputation for bringing cold, snowy conditions, but 2015 proved unique. In the week leading up to the event, the area saw some snow and 8 inches of rain, leaving the venue thick with mud. The course changed slightly each day, and thanks to “Mt. Krumpit”, is not the easy, flat course a newcomer to Iowa might expect. The weekend kicked off with Friday Night Under the Lights, followed by full days of racing on Saturday and Sunday with course conditions that were sometimes slick, sometimes heavy, and always ready to clog a bike’s moving parts with midwestern mud.
TGH racers showed off their PNW mud skills with strong results in 3 categories. Jadine Riley claimed a podium finish each day in the Master Women 35+ field, with 2 second places and a 3rd place. Sharon Gregg also earned 6th place finishes in this field each day.
The Women Category 3 field included Niki Weiss and Amanda McNabb, riding strong in a large field plagued by crashes and mechanicals.
Gina Estep, after a late-season upgrade to Category 2, used her shiny new UCI license to test herself in the UCI Elite field. She was able to line up with the likes of US National Champion Katie Compton and former Czech National Champion, Olympian, and 2014 World Cup Champion Katerina Nash and made us all proud with a strong finish each day. The heavy mud also gave TGH a chance to showcase what we do best – teamwork. Bike exchanges in the pits, rapid mud removal between laps, and addressing mechanicals between races required all hands on deck to keep everyone moving.
Special thanks to our fellow Washington racers who made the journey to Iowa for their support on-site, and to the TGH board for logistical support to make this adventure possible!