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Jenn Jackson: Finally, ‘cross nationals are back and she’s going for the win

The MTB and cyclocross star is a favourite for the maple-leaf jersey

Jenn Jackson (Canyon MTB Racing) can speak for all of us when she talks about how excited she is that the national cyclocross nationals are back. “It’s a big ‘finally!’ for them to be on again this year!”

After two years of cancellations due to COVID-19, the CX nats are taking place in Saanich, just north of Victoria, B.C. Jackson, who was second to Maghalie Rochette way back in 2019, with Sandra Walter coming in third, is aiming for the win. Rochette, like Sidney McGill, have opted to skip the nationals this year and will be racing in Europe instead.

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The defending XC champ also had a strong ride at the MTB nationals this year, coming in third behind her teammates Laurie Arseneault and winner Emily Batty.

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This year, she definitely wants to get another maple leaf jersey, but she knows it won’t be easy.

“I want to be competitive and challenge for the win. It’s a shot in the dark though, I haven’t been to any big races this year to see where I’m actually at,” Jackson said. “It’ll be fun either way, I don’t have anything riding on a result but would be stoked to compete for one.”

Training-wise, she’s been mixing it up and doing some intensity for the race, gradually amping it up recently.

“I’ve been riding quite a bit, mostly enjoying mountain biking but then working in a few interval sessions and local races over the past month to get up to speed,” she explains. But as far as ‘cross goes, this will be her last race of the year. 2023 is looming, and she needs to focus on preparing for the MTB season.

“I won’t be doing any more ‘cross this year, cross has been my own undertaking without support so very local,” Jackson said. “I love a good bit of cyclocross, and wish I could invest more to do well at it, but my main ambitions are in mountain biking and that’s also where the opportunity and investment to be a professional cyclist are for me right now.”