How'd it go?
Better than expected.
Although I couldn't get near my HR max, my avg was only slightly below what is usual for a race. When actually racing I didn't feel phlegmy at all.
On Saturday afternoon only 6 riders had signed up for the Cat1 SS, whereas almost 30 signed up for the Cat1 40-49. Racing 30 guys sounded like more fun than 6 so I decided to act my age and race my peers (although the SS is sort of like a satellite 40+ group).
Fearless Leader had a front row spot and let me slide in next to him. This was sort of pointless because after the first corner it is a flat drag race for a quarter mile to the singletrack. "This is a situation where the choice of multiple gears might be good" I thought as the field swarmed around me.
I reached the singletrack near the back of the pack and suffered the accordion effect as someone way up front made the slightest bobble creating a ripple that by the time it reached me had brought the conga line to a stop.
There are pros and cons to racing against gears with a singlespeed.
Pro: you're gonna climb faster
Con: only if you have a rideable line
On lap two this scenario raised it's ugly head. The group I was riding with caught the back of the 30-39 field on the toughest climb of the course. It is a fireroad but there are points that have only one rideable line. Trying to maximize my climbing advantage and skirting around the caught riders I lost traction and found myself off the bike running. Not exactly the plan, but sitting and spinning really wasn't an option either.
For the first 3 laps I was yoyoing back and forth with Fearless Leader. I'd usually catch him on the biggest climb, he'd get ahead of me on the fireroad descent and I'd slowly pull him back in on the gradual climb to the next descent where he'd catch and pass me again. On lap three as he passed me I noticed he was in a pretty easy gear so I used some "colorful" language to try and motivate him to use those gears and build a gap over me and John from Bethel Cycles who we'd been racing with. This worked in that he built a gap I couldn't close, but unfortunately didn't get rid of John.
Not being able to close the gap on Craig and John, I found myself in no man's land for the forth lap. I was catching more 30-39 y/os and beginning to lap the women. When I got to the big climb I see Mike Kelly from Biker's Edge who's been away all day and Matt Bodziony from NBX who had passed me on the 2nd lap. As I was near the crest after passing a woman, I DROPPED MY F#CKING CHAIN!
The lady passed me going into the singletrack where I tried to not be a dick and wait for a safe place to pass her. I doubt she thought I was successful, but I did wait to the fireroad to get around her.
This gave Dominique Desmont from Danbury Audi the opportunity to get right on my tail. I felt a sense of doom. He was on a geared full suspension bike going into the section that Craig and John had consistently put time into me. But the frustration of the chain drop had lit a fire in me. On some of the hairier descents I'd hear his bike clanking behind me and I waited for the inevitable. On the gradual climb I caught Matt from NBX. There is one short road section before the last climb of the course. If I can get to the climb, I'm home free.
I take a peak behind me as I reach the road and I don't see Dominique, but I do see Mike Kelly ahead. If by some miracle I can get near him by the climb I might have a chance of pipping him at the line...
Anti climactic ending; I don't catch Mike and Dominique doesn't catch me, although he had a similar scheme in his head.
So how'd I do? 12 of 33. If you were to cross reference my time with the SS (of course I did!) I would have been third in that class (a distant third), which had swelled to 13 riders after I registered for the 40-49.
Gear choice was good, and the conditions couldn't be better.
Now about the chain. I hate to abandon the pretty cranks, but the problem started when they went on. Monte gave me some suggestion on EBB setup and chain tension to try, but I just might go back to tried and true.
Fearless Leader suggested I try racing gears...