winner of the most national mountain bike races During her time back in the United States, Olympic champion Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing) is riding her cyclocross and mountain bikes. She spent the day traveling from her training base in western North Carolina to the neighboring city of Hendersonville, where she won a UCI C2 ‘cross event.
After a hard-fought six-lap battle with Caroline Mani at the North Carolina Grand Prix, she breezed through the post-ride medal ceremony and media interviews so that she could race in the Cranksgiving Enduro on Sunday.
After finishing her World Cup season in Val di Sole, Italy, in early September, where she earned a bronze medal in the cross-country race and a fourth-place finish in the short track, Neff went into a self-imposed cycling “hibernation” until this past weekend’s contests.
“I haven’t really pedaled my bike much recently,” she said following her cyclocross triumph in North Carolina. I’m a huge fan of cyclocross races. Since it’s always enjoyable, I wish I could do it more often. Inevitably, there will be conflicts due to the need to travel and the inability to find a mutually convenient time to meet.
Therefore, I am relieved that the event is being held so near to my current location. It’s great to have ‘cross in the area.
Pisgah National Forest, in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, is the neighborhood in question. North Carolina is home to some of the best bike trails in the country, and the state’s annual cyclocross series is just one of many local competitions that take place on them when the hardwood trees’ leaves fall.
On the other hand, not everyone in this part of the United States has nothing but good things to say about their time spent riding for the Swiss superstar. After Neff was injured in a high-speed collision during a training ride in 2019, he had to take a long break from cycling. Her spleen burst, and she also had a collapsed lung and other critical injuries that need surgery.
A worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus H1N1 caused the Tokyo Olympic Games to be postponed until 2021, despite the fact that the timing leading up to the Games was disastrous. There was a happy ending since Neff made a complete recovery and took home the gold medal.
With two fifth-place finishes in the season’s first World Cup cross-country competition in Snowshoe, West Virginia, she has gone on to have a streak of success in World Cups so far this season. She followed it with a pair of victories in the UCI World Cup at Canada’s Mont-Sainte-Anne and a pair of medals at the World Championships.
I couldn’t wait to get my pedaling workout. She gushed about her Saturday ‘cross race in Hendersonville, “The crowd are incredibly supportive, so I really liked it.”
During the 18th running of the North Carolina event as a UCI-sanctioned cyclocross weekend, the gold champion in mountain biking from the Tokyo Olympics competed against the hottest rider on the US cyclocross circuit this year, Mani (Alpha Bicycle Co-Groove Silverthorne). Two weeks ago, the French rider based in Colorado won the US Cyclocross Series championship for elite women after finishing on the podium eight times in eight events.
I simply wanted to ride hard and bring my body up from hibernation, Neff said, so that I could have a nice race for myself.
We had a small group of cyclists during the first laps. A curve presented a challenge, as did the subsequent ascent. I made a little gaffe. Mani had been leading, but I somehow managed to lose her. After that, I realized that it was time for me to go out in front and take charge. At that point, I realized that I needed to pick up the pace.
And she kept going faster, finishing the cyclocross race more than a minute ahead of Mani.