Gary Mandy and I made the nice short drive to Reno to represent CWC Racing at a fun local NORBA mountain bike race on Peavine Mountain. This race has a great, grassroots community feel since it’s hosted by the Reno Wheelmen, and feels like everyone knows everyone. Fortunately, the morning delivered beautiful clear blue skies, and a gentle cool breeze; the weather just doesn’t get any better than this.
Gary and I lined up in the singlespeed class with a grand total of 5 racers including us. Last year we started together with the Pro/Expert field, but this year they sent us off 2 minutes behind. The advantage of this was we were able to have clear riding for a while; the disadvantage was that passing the slower riders of that field slowed us down a bit, and awards were only given to the top 5 overall.
Last year I got second place, 3 minutes behind the winner (Jason Walker, Team Clover). I have better fitness this year, and went into the race planning to win. I took off hard from the start, opening up a small gap on the group. Jason was not far behind me, and Gary was riding strongly in third. We rode a new trail over to Keystone canyon, where Jason passed me on the fire-road, then slowed down right after we entered the singletrack. It was actually nice that he slowed down, since I had been riding hard and welcomed the chance to recover. I stayed on his wheel as we rode at a manageable tempo all the way around the first lap.
At the beginning of the second lap, I passed Jason and laid down the fastest pace I could manage for the 6 mile climb. I was psyched when I looked back and saw him getting further and further behind. Near the top I almost exploded, and didn’t know if I could even turn the pedals, much less keep up my pace. When I turned around and looked way down the canyon, I could see that nobody was in sight, and allowed myself to relax a bit on the descent and the through the rolling rocky section to the finish.
To win races like this you must have the right equipment: light bike, appropriate gear, and the right tires. The bike is obviously taken care of with the Scott Spark 15 with Rockshox Reba World Cup fork. I’ve raced steel and aluminum singlespeeds, and none are anywhere near as fast. I was able to break away at the beginning of the second lap partly because of my lightweight setup. As I always discuss, gear choice is absolutely crucial; I found that my standard 32:18 (front ring:rear cog) was perfect for the terrain. I swapped out my tubeless Michelin XCR Dry2 tires for the lighter, non-tubeless XC Dry versions and set them up with Stans sealant. I was a little nervous since each lap involved a very sharp/rocky technical section, but everything held up fine.
I finished first singlespeed (5th overall) and Gary finished third.
By Gary Mandy:
this was my first SS race EVER. I was excited but not excited that I had not ridden my SCOTT SCALE converted SS for some time. Riding my full suspension SCOTT SPARK15 has taken priority as it ROCKS! Nevertheless I was excited to be racing with team-mate and friend
SNOVEMAN a.k.a. CONNIE! I decided to take the first lap cautiously as I was not sure how my system was going to feel after having not riding SS much and also the first MTB race in a long time. I was working hard on the climbs and I could feel the difference between a geared bike
and the SS. SS is way harder and I can tell you that strength training helps. SS definitely makes you a better rider overall as you are acutely aware of carrying energy wherever you can……
CONNIE hit the race head on and pretty much controlled the lead from start to finish and his experience in this discipline stood out. I pretty much held my pace throughout and rode even splits for both laps and so I was happy with the overall result. It was good to have two of
our team-mates in the TOP3 and again our team is showing it’s continued presence in the local race scene…