Riding a single speed bike is fun, to a degree. Going up hill makes you feel like your towing a train in a strong man competition but there is something fun about pedaling a hard tail bike once again and doing so with only one gear. It’s a familiar practice in that it has similarities to running which many of us have experience with. You stand a lot, and coast a lot. This race was my 3rd ride total on a single speed so I set out with little expectation and a lot of unanswered questions about descending and maintaining momentum. Immediately I thought to jump on teammate Justin Thomas’ wheel but, as the pictures exemplifies, this man is like a freight train and leaves most riders in his small but wicked wake.
At the start my plan immediately changed and I jumped on local racer Jason Walker’s wheel. I paced with him for as long as I could and made sure that I could see him on the course to remain aware of my position which at this point would be the two spot.
Not bad, at the top of the next ascent I caught the rabbit. He flatted and said “go win”. I rode the remainder of the race picking off geared riders trying to get to the top 5. I could have ridden in happy with my place but I wanted to work for it, and since I knew I was out in front I focused on staying there, socializing with as many riders as I could catch, and enjoying this awesome XC day. The finish line was right at the crest of this little popper so I finished by airing it out. Nothing feels better than a little hang time at high speed. I cannot wait until Scott makes a single speed race bike, count me in. This single race also awarded me with a 3rd place finish for the Single Speed Class in the State of Nevada for 2008. Not all that bad for a Sunday close to home. Following the race I went out for a recovery ride up to the Lookout chairlift at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort with the lovely Miss Linnett. I took a short nap and woke up by following Miss Linnett down to the river. This section of single track is super fun. It rolls through sweeping forested turns all the way down to the Truckee River where Katie and I jumped in, cleaned-up, and hit the Bridge Tender for a pint and some food. Another epic day chalking up 45 miles of Single Speed riding/racing. It’s going to be a coin flip decision on which bike to ride in the Tahoe Sierra 100. The clock is ticking, and the Cyclepaths/Wildcherries Racing Team is holding their own in every discipline which is beginning to become a team mantra. Along with “Get A Life”…alright I’m punchin out. Wait, wait, rumor has it that a few cats are gunning for Conrad’s podium spot at the Tahoe Sierra 100. I hope they’re waking up at 5 a.m. for 50 milers on Truckee dopest trails or else their going to pay the piper…better have cash in hand cause we’re collecting. Unleash the plaidzilla.
Justin Thomas Writes:
Wow! What an exciting last week I had. I’m the proud papa of our new baby boy Charlie and he has exactly 3 months till he needs to be on his trike taking my Computrainer classes this winter.
But in all seriousness this has been an eye opening experience with a slight shift in priorities. We’ll just have to see how the rest of the racing shapes up these last few months.
I was able to utilize some of the fitness and random hard workouts I’ve coupled together to do the Mt. Rose hill climb race 3 weeks ago and the Sky Tavern Mtb. race two weeks ago.
As Paul mentioned (thanks for the props), we raced from Thomas Creek Road to the Mt Rose summit. Having never TT’d or ridden “hard” up Mt. Rose it was going to be interesting with the altitude and long length. I knew the bottom third was relatively fast and flat so I went out hard and was quickly making up time on the highway into the two lane road. I tired to keep a high, steady HR throughout but may have gone out too hard as my HR drifted slightly down during the last third of the race. The wind was a little stronger at the top and I didn’t feel as fast but I was happy to go under 1 hour. I had no idea how I would finish against the other as I didn’t wait around to check results. I met up with Paul on my cooldown and was happy to commit to doing another few hours around Incline and back over Rose. I ended up 4th in 59:06 (I think), 5 or so mins. behind 1st and ~30 seconds separating 2nd-4th. All in all a good hard training day.
The following weekend I met up with Chappy and Ben R. for the Sky Tavern mtb. race. As Matt and Ben will tell you, I think this race is the best mtb. race in our area with a looped course which has a good balance of hard climbs, technical descents, fireroads, rocks, roots, altitude, etc. I felt pretty good going into the race and knew the course really well as I usually incorporate this course into my long mtb. rides. I went to the front early on the opening climb and set a pace I felt was hard but appropriate knowing we would do 4x 6 mile laps. No one came with me so I was on my own for the rest of the day. My laps were consistently around :28 and I felt better as the race wore on. I had an idea of how much time I had on my opponents and knew to ride smooth and strong to the finish on the last lap. I spoiled my day by being over confident on the fire road section of the last descent and overcooked the turn by catching my handlebar on the sidelying bushes. Unfortunately, I was going REALLY fast and hit the ground HARD. Somehow I managed not to damage my bike but thank god I was wearing a helmet as I’ve got a few cracks to show off. My left elbow took most of the fall and now I’m nursing a good bone bruise and needing to do some serious PT on my range of motion. With the adrenaline going, I surprisingly got back on my bike for the remaining few minutes and won by 5 or so minutes. Looking back I would have preferred to win by 1 second and not have fallen on that last descent. I learned my lesson that anything can happen regardless of how good you’re feeling. Boy was I humbled. Matt kicked ass in the single speed division as he took home the crown and Ben held on for a solid top 5 result. I hope everyone else is doing well and congrats to the SSWC and Univ. RR racers. Last words: keep the rubber side down!