Its true what you've read, there are few better things than riding your bike. For those of use who enjoy riding and racing bikes we learn to appreciate the finer details in a given race. So with that may I present the singularly best race I have had the privilege to line up at.
Jingle Cross is a three day cyclocross race in Iowa City, Iowa. What makes Jingle Cross unlike other local races is the size of the fields. The Cat 4 field held no fewer than 50 entrants per race. The other categories held similar sizes with no fewer than 30 entrants per field.
Racing against those numbers makes the race quite competitive. Every move, pedal, and dismount all the more critical. A small misstep and you've dropped five positions. I dropped my chain while attempting to shift my chain from my front little ring to front big ring on a straight gravel section. While I was forced to reapply the chain by hand a top-ten finish whizzed right by me in the form of three or four other riders.
(It takes a good power washer)
The race atmosphere is another defining quality of Jingle Cross. Anyone familiar with cross knows of the community of other racers hanging out post race for spectating other races and good-natured heckling. Cross racers are known to enjoy a good time and things can get pretty crazy as we try to stay warm in the Iowa late fall.
(The longer it takes to get up the longer we get to heckle)
Large crowds gather to finish their day off with spectating the Pro races. Jingle Cross attracts both top-level men and women. To watch the Pro's in their element is a study not only in technical mastery, physical conditioning, but the beauty of bikes slicing the mud, roots, gravel, grass, and weaving their wave through the course like birds.
(Weave your way through the barn)
(Weave your way through the mud)
(It is a bike race co-located with a dance party)