Quietly this past weekend at JingleCross, Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com) took his first win of the season on Friday evening on the first day of JingleCross.
“It feels freakin good.” a smiling Driscoll told podiuminsight a few minutes after the podium. It wasn’t just his teammate Tim Johnson that was – very publicly – without a win this season, Driscoll was also in the hunt.
It wasn’t for lack of trying and racing. The 25-year old from Vermont made his solo attack at CrossVegas once again, which didn’t work this year and he had to settle for ninth. Since then, he finished in the top 10 of all the UCI he raced in the US, racing weekend after weekend, but that win stayed elusive. Then finally a short break.
“I might have to attribute to this is my first race back from a weekend off.” Driscoll continued. “That may have had something to do with it, I did feel pretty good, pretty fresh out there. That might be a factor.”
Under the stars in Iowa, Driscoll and Johnson quickly found themselves off the front with a gap on the first lap when they were able to avoid a crash at the front of the race.
“It was actually mainly because we happened to pre-chosen a better line, we went high and that wasn’t because (Chris) Jones crashed.” Immediately the duo had a few seconds.
“That’s why we got an instant gap and every other person got all tangled up. It really couldn’t have been better.” laughed Driscoll. “If I was going to get off the front with another person, it might as well be my teammate.”
For the next few laps the pair stayed together, even though Driscoll was getting a small gap on his teammate when re-mounting faster on the tough climb up Mt Krumpit.
“My best guess, because I haven’t been doing that much running training, is probably just fresh legs. It didn’t feel good, I’m glad I made it seem fast.” laughed Driscoll when asked how he was able to re-mount faster every time. Until the gap stuck and Driscoll was off solo. He was able to hold off a strong chase by Jones for the win. Driscoll and Johnson sat out Saturday’s race in order to focus on Sunday’s C1 where Driscoll came in second behind his teammate.
Driscoll’s win was only the second victory for the Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com men this year, a far cry from last year’s domination.
“It’s a lot different this year.” Driscoll admitted. “(Jeremy) Powers isn’t winning stuff for us anymore, Tim had a different start from year’s past for this season. I honestly haven’t been racing like I’ve wanted to until this weekend. I’ve very glad to win but Ryan (Trebon) and Jeremy aren’t here so I don’t know if I’m the best in the country yet.”
He can’t pinpoint exactly the reasons why he’s not racing the way he wants to. “I thought I was more conscious of not being eager and gung-ho the second half of the road season because I think I paid for that last season, but just the cross specific really was never there. I was the stage racer this year. I did only a very few number of crits, I’m not sure if that has anything to do with it but that has more to do with cross effort than big stage races. I don’t know, I wish I did know because it would be fixed.”
Driscoll raced a full road season with the Jamis/Sutter Home squad where he could often be seen at the front of the field, controlling or chasing for his teammates. He also nabbed the Most Courageous Jersey at the stage 2 of Amgen Tour of California after spending most of the day in a break.
“I think just the racing 11 months out of the year is going to catch up with you. Maybe at my age,” Driscoll paused, “I don’t know if Tim is just a whole other beast or what, maybe with age and experience you’re able to do that more successfully. I felt that I needed to take a bigger break, a more significant break in between at least in one of the seasons, maybe not between cross and road and road and cross, but at least one time a year basically.”
Another thing that changed this year is that Driscoll graduated with an engineering degree last Spring. After years of juggling school and racing, often seen with schoolbooks at races, Driscoll has more free time on his hands. Time to leads to more time spent in his head.
“It’s a lot less stressful but unfortunately because I’m not doing as well there’s a lot more time to thing about things. If I was just a dumb bike racer it would be easy,” he laughed, “but …”
It it now time for him to sharpen it up with Nationals, a trip to Europe and the World Championships coming up.
“With the exception of last weekend, I was racing 9 weeks in a row there from the beginning of the season but now there’s going to be a lower frequency of races every weekend so there will be more time to go home and do some higher intensity, not that you don’t get intensity in races but more training instead of racing.”
He hopes that he is on the upswing. “I hope that just maybe the way that I raced and that the way the schedule is not racing week in and week out anymore, a couple of weekends off, might be better for me.”