After an exciting weekend in Louisville, the cross collective moves to Iowa City, Iowa for three days of action at Jingle Cross Rock. Like the Cincy 3-Day Festival, Jingle Cross Rock features a pair of C2 races and a C1 race on Sunday. As a result, itâ€™s a whoâ€™s who of American cross racers in Iowa.
The only noticeably absent rider is Jeremy Powers. Powers has maxed out on C1 and C2 points, therefore he can only improve his starting position by racing World Cup races. As a result, Powers will use the next few weeks to recover, train and prepare for another European campaign.
Another rider missing from the start list is Todd Wells. Wells still has an outside shot of making the worlds team and has had success in the past in Iowa. However, it appears that his mountain bike commitments will keep him from returning to cross full time for a few more weeks.
Before I get to my predictions, I would like to mention Supercross Cup. The two-day C2 event has been postponed because of the ongoing efforts to get portions of New York City up and running after hurricane Sandy. As a result, the promoters are using Saturday as a volunteer day to help out with the relief efforts. All the info is available on their Facebook page.
With that said, hereâ€™s how I think things will shake out:
Jingle Cross Rock – Rock 1 (C2)
Ryan Trebon – Trebon is riding very well right now and is one of Americaâ€™s top racers. He did well in Louisville last weekend and seems keen on keeping things rolling in Iowa. I expect him to be competitive all weekend, starting with a win on Friday.
Chris Jones – I will admit that Iâ€™m guilty of calling Jones a roadie with a cross problem. The fact is, Jones continues to improve and is a true cross rider. Heâ€™s capable of podium nearly every race he shows up to. I expect for him to land on the podium like he did last year.
Jamie Driscoll – Driscoll took Rock 1 last year with a solo victory over Jones and Tim Johnson. Driscoll seems to do well in Iowa, so I expect him to be a podium contender.
Jingle Cross Rock – Rock 2 (C2)
Ben Berden – every weekend, I stare down the list of riders and seem to skip over Berden, despite him being one of the top racers in the US this season. While I consider him a solid podium threat, Iâ€™m going to step out of my comfort zone and pick him to win Rock 2 on Saturday.
Ryan Trebon – while Iâ€™m sure Trebon would love to go three-for-three this weekend, I think he may dial it back a notch in preparation for Sundayâ€™s C1 race. However, a win’s a win, so if he can get away, he could easily sweep the first two races.
Tim Johnson – Johnson seems to be having and up and down season thus far. While he always has to be considered a podium threat, his podium appearances this season are a little less frequent then I would like. With that said, look for him to land on the podium on Saturday.
Jingle Cross Rock – Rock 3 (C1)
Ryan Trebon – Powers and Driscoll are the only two riders two win C1 races in the US this season. In the past, thatâ€™s not saying much, but considering there has been a C1 race nearly every weekend, the fact that only two riders have won them says a lot. Look for Trebon to join that list on Sunday.
Tim Johnson – a winner here last year, a repeat is not out of the question for the veteran cross rider. I expect him to podium on Sunday and it wouldnâ€™t make surprise me if he made a run at a victory.
Ben Berden – Driscoll, Jones, Schouten; the list of riders who could podium this weekend is nearly endless. Look for Berden to rise above the rest and pick up his second podium of the weekend.