Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ego Check

Photo: Rob Skiba
Let's just chalk this one up as power training. I've been racing singlespeeds for almost 5 years now. I've made the mistake of choosing to high a gear twice. The first time was 3 years ago at Landahl, being unfamiliar with the course I asked Cam Chambers what he thought. He replied one gear higher than what I'd thought was appropriate and sure enough, I should have listened to myself. I struggled home with a decent result, but one that could have been better.

Which brings us to the 2011 edition of the Battle Royale at Platte River state park. Now let me preface this with the fact that I haven't ridden Platte in over a year, and have only ridden the MTB once in 8 months. I missed out on any pre-ride time and I didn't have past history to go off of as my last race report from 2009 has since been removed from the GF 29er Crew blog. My memory told me I last rode a 36x20. I figured I was lighter and stronger this year so a 36x19 should be okay, right? Wrong.

The funny thing about riding singlespeed, is on terrain like Platte that is constantly undulating, you really need to gear the bike for climbing as you're basically at terminal velocity on all the downhills and constantly freewheeling. All my bigger gear did was make every climb that much more miserable.

It worked great for the first lap. Got the holeshot, dabbed on the first climb and took Shim and Kent's wheel into the singletrack. I was content to follow and see how those two were riding. We had a good gap back to fourth, all was well. As we reached the green gate and the trail pointed down I took the lead back from Shim. I think it was about half way through Roller Coaster when I realized this gear wasn't going to work for 4 laps. I finished the first lap 5 seconds or so ahead of Shim and went about waving them through. All I could do from here on out was try to survive. That first smoking lap was fun though.

About half way through the second lap Cam came through, then Jarrett another half lap later, Clark and Nate (both on SS but one gear lower than mine) another half lap after that. Steve wasn't feeling too well and didn't think his back would hold out to full distance. So by my count if Steve did indeed pull out my seventh place would turn into sixth and I might be able to salvage the day. Sure enough, Steve would actually flat and my pace was just high enough to keep Ryan at a good distance. But man, the gear was agonizingly slow.

Kudos to Psycowpath though for making the last pay position actually worth something. I ended up winning $10 more than my entry fee. I've always felt that the last pay position should always get their entry fee back at a bare minimum. I don't know how some promoters get away with offering less. "Congratulations, you won half your entry fee back!" Huh? No thanks, keep it. So thank you Psycowpath. And thanks to Chris and the rest of the Cycle Works crew for another awesome race at Platte. It's a state championship caliber course but why it's not I'll never know. It always used to be. Now the state championship is just shy of a participation award. Yay!

But that's a whole other post. I'm super bummed Shim didn't pull off the "W", it's been a long time coming but congrats to Cam for putting together another solid, late charge ride. Not sure when I'll toe the line with these fellas again. I'll be gone for Ponca and the other races just don't do it for me. We'll have to see where I land.

Photo: Cycle Works
Photo: Cycle Works


MOD 2.0 said...

Oh yeah, and what's up with the LeMans start for an XC race?

brady said...

You and Kent have nice running form. Shim's a heel-striker.

Run Forrest, run!