MN State CX Champs
State Champs brought the ladies of Koochella their first taste of true cold-weather cyclocross riding with temps hovering in the teens for the first race of the morning. The course featured a mostly-frozen “litter box” sand pit, a long stair run-up, and some downhill off-camber turns, playing into different riders’ strengths and weaknesses. Emily raced the Women’s Cat 4, Beth & Tiana raced the Women’s Cat 3, and both France and Sarah took on the challenging 45-minute singlespeed race.
While Beth may have not made it onto the podium, she took first place in the hearts of our fans.
Tiana rode/ran hard to a solid 6th place finish in her field – her best Cat 3 finish since upgrading earlier this fall! She reports learning that singlespeed bikes can sometimes completely outperform geared cx bikes when it comes to forcing you to mash up hills, and that sometimes your teammates play mental games with you during your race, but it’s always out of love.
Challenging course. Strong ass field. My Best Finish as a Cat 3. I hate stairs… HATE THEM. Probably wouldn’t have made it up them a 4th (I think) time if my lovely teammates were not screaming so damn much. I was dying out there until Renee started running behind me screaming ” Shes right behind you!!” I finally looked back once I made it to the top only to find that I was alone. So…that worked. -Tiana “T-Bitz” Johnson
NEW BIKE DAY!!!! Raced on my brand new All-City Koochella custom-painted 853! It was perfect. Pink on pink on pink. I thought it would be funny to wear colored checkered Vans during this event. This was a mistake only because of the temperature. Everyone tells me I’m crazy for rocking flats, but I guess I have yet to learn why. My feet feeling free to jet out when I need instant leverage around a sharp corner or stability through some sand or over ice? No mistake made. Wearing Vans when it’s 20 degrees instead of winter boots? Mistake made. When I came around the lap to my favorite part, the barriers, Mattio Montesano announced my name as Sarah “Speedway” Bonneville. This melted all the frost bite. Thanks, Mattio. – Sarah “Speedway” Bonneville
For many of the Koochella ladies, Jingle Cross was their first time racing outside of Minnesota! With cars full of snacks, bikes, and our new arm/leg warmers and jackets from Podiumwear, we made the trek to Iowa City. The course was everything we dreamed it would be and more. Complete with derailleur-destroying mud, insane downhill sections, and the notoriously grueling Mt. Krumpit. Our new Nature Boy 853’s, however, were totally up to the task.
During my two laps pre-riding the course, I came close to falling a few times because the deep ruts in the mud from the previous night’s racers was completely frozen, making “commit to the rut,” pretty much pointless. By the time the juniors were done racing and my field was up, however, the course had completely warmed up, making it soft again. The best was to describe the mud consistency was peanut butter-like. I definitely felt that I had an advantage as a single speed rider with disc brakes. Not only did I not have to worry about ripping my derailleur off my bike (many riders did!), but I also didn’t have a bunch of mud/grass clogging up canti brakes, thus preventing my wheel from moving (which was also super common). I got 11/22, which felt pretty good considering we had riders from all over the Mid West show up! –Renee “Dark Horse” Hoppe
JINGLE CROSS WAS SO MUCH FUN! It was incredible to see an event/race at that scale – and watching the pros race was super inspiring! The course was – insane. Bikes were getting ruined. It was epic. Super fun – going out to race the single speed race was an opportunity to get on the course early & leave the rest of the evening to cheer on the other fields. I was a bit jealous of the HUGE women’s field Friday night; that would have been great to race in too! – Beth “Treasure” Franklin
Mud up hill bad, Mud down hill… Awesome. -Tiana “T-Bitz” Johnson
Bike handling through MUD means you gotta stay loose or you’re gonna lose. – Sarah “Speedway” Bonneville
It was great watching the more experienced racers, it made me really nervous think about my race the next day. They were just sleekly gliding down the muddy slope. The course I rode was much shorter and less muddy than the day before, but still very muddy. I rode down that same hill the next day and had no control of my bike whatsoever, I glided my legs against the mud as I slid down. I was trying to take the advice to not use the breaks down the hill, but I had no slick way of controlling myself. – France “Fancy” Barbeau
Coming off the fly over on my second lap I hit the mud wrong and crashed pretty hard. I got up fast but only made it a couple feet before I had to straighten my handle bars. I didn’t notice it that moment but my break cable was disengaged in the crash so for the next 2 laps I only had a rear break which made going down hill off camber in mud very very difficult but very amusing to spectators *cough*Beth*cough*. I can also file this race under one of my better finishes for the season. 12th over all is pretty great in my book. On a single speed in a huge field too? I’ll take it. – Tiana “T-Bitz” Johnson
When we rolled up to the line on Friday afternoon I was super nervous. Though the mud and hills were intimidating, I was more anxious about being in a field entirely composed of men. Tiana saw my nerves and calmed me down enough for me to enjoy the sight of our bright kits along with Beth’s amidst a sea of dudes. The race was hard. But I was stoked I got to *walk* up Mt. Krumpit and impressed with my ability to go down the hills without breaking. Though I probably should have breaked down the last hill – a bad line sent me over my bars which was fun in its own way though I’m still a bit sore. – Emily “Eagle Screech” Wade
Unless Otherwise Noted Photos by: Blake Kelley, Renee Hoppe, Emily Wade, and Beth Franklin